Luna Park, Melbourne

Brief History

Luna Park, Melbourne is located in St Kilda and is the areas most treasured landmark. The park was built on the site of another Amusement Park called "Dreamland" which was demolished in 1909. In 1911, Greater J.D.(James Dixon) Williams Amusement Company leased the land for the purpose of building a new amusement park. T.H. Eslick was employed as the chief designer/ builder and he, along with 20 amusement park builders from America, set about creating Melbourne's Luna Park. Many of the builders had worked on the first Luna Park (1903), on Coney Island in New York. Eslick had many years of experience working in amusement parks around the world and that experience was reflected in the new park's design.

The Great Scenic Railway was believed to be a replica of a rollercoaster Eslick built in India for the Great Burbar Exhibition of Old Bombay. In 1912 over 22,000 people attended Luna Park's official opening.In 1917 Luna Park was closed due to World War I, however the Scenic Railway continued to operate. The park wasn't to re-open until 1923. The Carousel was to become the parks new feature. During World War II the park remained open but had to comply with blackout curfews. In 2001, the park received a 10 million dollar face-lift. The Mr Moon entrance was originally built as part of the railway but became the park's entrance and St Kilda's most recognised icon. Mr Moon has been slightly altered over the years but remains one of the park's original features.

The only other surviving Luna Park in Australia is located at Milsons Point in North Sydney. This park was opened to the public on the 4th of October, 1935.

Trivia

J.D. Williams would later return to America where he set up a film company known as the First National Films. First National films would later become Warner Brothers.

There were many Luna parks built around the world, Australia built seven.

In 1926 Luna Park installed Australia's first Dodgem car ride (still operates).

Luna Park was classified by the National Trust in 1981.