EVO­LU­TION OF A TROU­BLED ICONIC AMUSE­MENT PARK

Sydney Arena - - SYDNEY NEWS -

It’s in­stantly rec­og­nized as Syd­ney’s iconic much-loved fun at­trac­tion.

But the smil­ing face of Lu­nar Park has had to weather the storms on sev­eral fronts – the lat­est be­ing from lo­cal res­i­dents who com­plained about the po­ten­tial noise of the rides.

De­spite noise con­cerns the own­ers of amuse­ment park — which at­tracts more than a mil­lion thrillseek­ers a year — an­nounced they would pump $20 mil­lion into im­prove­ments.

The im­prove­ments promised six new hi-tech rides and up­dates to clas­sic Luna Park favourites such as Coney Is­land, The Ro­tor, The Fer­ris Wheel and The Wild Mouse roller­coaster.

The new rides were de­signed for thrillseek­ers us­ing vir­tual re­al­ity and 5G tech­nolo­gies.

The first of the new rides, the Fly­ing Carousel, is the cen­tre­piece of a “fam­ily zone” de­signed to ap­peal to small chil­dren.

Luna Park Syd­ney Pty Ltd then took NSW Plan­ning Min­is­ter An­thony Roberts to court af­ter he re­jected the amuse­ment park’s as­ser­tion that the first of three phases of plan­ning reg­u­la­tions gov­ern­ing Luna Park meant new rides could be in­stalled with­out seek­ing de­vel­op­ment ap­proval.

Con­tro­versy has been part of Luna Park Syd­ney’s evo­lu­tion that was built with the Art Deco ar­chi­tec­ture of the 1930s.

Amer­i­can en­tre­pre­neur Her­man Phillips brought the idea to Aus­tralia for New York and opened Luna Park in Mel­bourne in 1912 and Luna Park Glenelg, Ade­laide, in 1930.

De­spite ini­tial suc­cess, the Syd­ney at­trac­tion was ear­marked to be turned into a mul­ti­storey trade cen­tre in the 1960s. How­ever, the bid was un­suc­cess­ful.

A tragic ghost train fire, forced the clo­sure of the at­trac­tion un­til 1982 and re­opened un­der a new name and new own­ers.

How­ever, the fun park closed again in 1988 for ren­o­va­tion af­ter an un­suc­cess­ful at­tempt to re­de­velop the site as an adult en­ter­tain­ment cen­tre.

In 2002 Luna Park Syd­ney Pty Ltd won a 40-year lease for the at­trac­tion and it re­opened in 2004 af­ter a lengthy re­fur- bish­ment.

In Fe­bru­ary, 2010, the fun park was put on the NSW Her­itage Reg­is­ter.

Luna Park re­ceived the 2018 world­wide IAAPA Brass Ring Award ‘Most Cre­ative Prop­erty-wide Event in recog­ni­tion of the fun park’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in Syd­ney’s 2018 Vivid Fes­ti­val.

The en­tire amuse­ment park came alive with bril­liant shapes, pat­terns and colours that lit the Mid­way prom­e­nade and en­hanced high-oc­tane rides such the aptly named Hair Raiser.

2018 also marked the first time Luna Park’s iconic Fer­ris wheel was lit for the fes­ti­val fol­low­ing a re­fit, which in­cluded a mas­sive boost in the num­ber of lights adorn­ing the wheel.

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