Wonderland Sydney

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Wonderland Sydney
Wonderland Sydney Logo
Slogan

"Greatest Fun You'll Ever Have" (1985-1986)

"Too Much Fun To Have In One Day" (1987-1988)

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if the world was Wonderland" (1988-1995)

"No Wonder They Call It Wonderland" (1995-1998)

"Get Out Of Everydayland" (1998-2001)

"You'll always remember Wonderland Sydney" (until closing)
LocationEastern Creek, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates33°48′04″S 150°50′51″E / 33.80119°S 150.84754°E / -33.80119; 150.84754Coordinates: 33°48′04″S 150°50′51″E / 33.80119°S 150.84754°E / -33.80119; 150.84754
OwnerSunway Group (1997-2004)
Opened7 December 1985
Closed26 April 2004
Operating seasonAll year round
Rides
TotalApprox. 24 at peak
Roller coasters3
 
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Wonderland Sydney
Wonderland Sydney Logo
Slogan

"Greatest Fun You'll Ever Have" (1985-1986)

"Too Much Fun To Have In One Day" (1987-1988)

"Wouldn't it be wonderful if the world was Wonderland" (1988-1995)

"No Wonder They Call It Wonderland" (1995-1998)

"Get Out Of Everydayland" (1998-2001)

"You'll always remember Wonderland Sydney" (until closing)
LocationEastern Creek, New South Wales, Australia
Coordinates33°48′04″S 150°50′51″E / 33.80119°S 150.84754°E / -33.80119; 150.84754Coordinates: 33°48′04″S 150°50′51″E / 33.80119°S 150.84754°E / -33.80119; 150.84754
OwnerSunway Group (1997-2004)
Opened7 December 1985
Closed26 April 2004
Operating seasonAll year round
Rides
TotalApprox. 24 at peak
Roller coasters3

Wonderland Sydney was a theme park in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. The park was the largest one in the southern hemisphere. It remained open for almost 19 years and was the premier theme park in New South Wales for much of its life, it closed in 2004. Its final day of trading was the 26th April 2004.

Contents

History

Originally known as Australia's Wonderland, it opened on 7 December 1985 with financial backing from the New South Wales State Superannuation Board, James Hardies Industries, Leighton Holdings and Taft Broadcasting (through Kings Entertainment Company) at Eastern Creek NSW, on the junction of Wallgrove Road and the M4 Motorway. The developers sought to provide an alternative to the troubled Luna Park, which had opened and closed multiple times in its recent history. The area would also see the opening of Eastern Creek Raceway in 1990 as the Sydney metropolitan area expanded to the west.

Wonderland opened with three separate themed areas within the park: Goldrush, Medieval Faire (later renamed Old Botany Bay), and Hanna-Barbera Land (later renamed 'Little Wonders Land' in 2001-2002) which featured rides and attractions based on characters from Hanna-Barbera shows such as Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones. The park was modeled heavily around Canada's Wonderland located north of Toronto, not surprising since both parks were constructed by Taft Broadcasting, a company which also owned Hanna-Barbera.

For many years, Wonderland's flagship ride was The Bush Beast which was the largest wooden roller coaster in Australia. Australia's Wonderland also claimed that it was the largest wooden rollercoaster in the Southern Hemisphere. The Beastie, a smaller version of The Bush Beast which catered to younger riders, was also one of the original rides. The park would later add rides such as the Demon (1992) and Space Probe 7 (1995; sponsored by the Seven Network, who bought naming rights to the ride. After this contract expired, the ride dropped the '7' from its name).

Wonderland also had a water park known as The Beach, which first opened in 1988. Unlike the rest of the park, which remained open year-round, The Beach was a seasonal attraction which closed during the "cold" months (April–September). In 1990 Wonderland opened the Australian Wildlife Park. The Outback Woolshed was added in 1995, along with an a-la-carte restaurant.

Logo when the park was known as Australia's Wonderland, used from its foundation until 1997.

Eventually, in 1992, all of the Taft Broadcasting Parks were sold to Viacom and re-branded as Paramount Parks.However, Taft only had a minority stake in Australia's Wonderland and sold their stake to other Australian investors.[1] Today, the five Paramount Parks continue successful operation, purchased in 2006 by amusement park operator Cedar Fair.

Interestingly, many of Australia's Wonderland's rides correlate to the rides at the former Paramount Parks still in operation today. The Bush Beast was identical to wooden roller coasters at Canada's Wonderland, and Kings Dominion.

The park was sold in 1997 to the Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-based Sunway Group. Only one ride, Skyrider which was the former cable car at the Sydney Showgrounds, was added between the 1997 takeover and the park's closure.

Closure

Sunway Group stated the September 11 attacks, the 2002 Bali bombings, the collapse of HIH Insurance, the SARS virus, the bird flu virus, "consistent losses" on the Asian financial crisis, the collapse of Ansett Australia, the Iraq War and the 2003 bushfires all contributed to the park's closure.[2] The Sydney Morning Herald stated: "[Sunway Group] blames Wonderland's demise on everything except poor management".[2]

The gates shut for the last time on 26 April 2004,[3] the day after the Anzac Day public holiday, and a complete demolition of the park was undertaken in September 2005. Most of the rides were sold to other amusement parks, while "The Bush Beast", "The Beastie" and "The Snowy River Rampage" were demolished. Visit Wonderland History to see demolition pictures. A former employee made a list of what happened to some of the rides.[1] Two of the park's camels were adopted by a family in Goulburn, New South Wales.[4]

Rides

Roller coasters

Amusement rides

There was a miniature golf course called Top Cat's Putt Putt Park; prior to the installation of Fred Flintstone's Splashdown there was a putting course known as Old McScrappy's Golfing Farm.

The closure of several rides in 2002 was due to the reduction in operational area of the park. Visitors were told that the rides were being relocated to the remaining section, so that they would be closer (as the rides were spaced apart). Some of the rides were moved, whereas others were scrapped.

See also

References

  1. ^ http://timelines.home.insightbb.com/taft.htm
  2. ^ a b Smith, Alexandra (17 February 2004). "The lights go out at Wonderland, where millions got their thrills". The Sydney Morning Herald. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/02/16/1076779908366.html. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  3. ^ "Wonderland Sydney Closure". Parliament of New South Wales. 17 February 2004. http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/PARLMENT/hansArt.nsf/V3Key/LA20040217006. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  4. ^ Saurine, Angela (20 January 2009). "Australia's loneliest camel gets a new home". The Daily Telegraph. http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/travel/news/australias-loneliest-camel-gets-a-new-home/story-e6frezi0-1111118612703. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  5. ^ http://www.parkz.com.au/photo/general/2004/05/0506-1_Titan_001.jpg
  6. ^ "Zoomerang". Roller Coaster DataBase. http://www.rcdb.com/2953.htm. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "Zoomerang". Coastergallery.com. http://www.coastergallery.com/2005/AA08.html. Retrieved 14 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Tomberlin, Michael (5 December 2004). "New steel roller coaster rocketing to Visionland". Birmingham News: p. 21A. "Southland Entertainment Group purchased the 1,000-foot-long (300 m) coaster from a park in Australia" 

External links