Opening on 4 October 1935, Sydney's Luna Park is a rare surviving amusement park featuring fantasy architecture in the Art Deco style of the 1930s.
The concept is based on the success of the first Luna Park which opened on Coney Island, New York in 1903. American entrepreneur Herman Phillips and others brought the idea to Australia and opened Luna Park in Melbourne in 1912 and Luna Park Glenelg, Adelaide in 1930.
The Sydney park opens to immediate success using rides relocated from Glenelg and continues to be popular during World War II. It is run smoothly under the management of showman David Atkins until 1957 and engineer Ted Hopkins until 1969. Following overseas excursions in the 1950s and 1960s, a series of new rides and attractions are installed.
The remaining 6 years of the lease and equipment of Luna Park are sold to the World Trade Centre who unsuccessfully apply to redevelop the site as a multi -storey Trade Centre. The principal shareholder is removed and the fun park continues to operate.
A group of artists including Martin Sharp and Peter Kingston are commissioned to redecorate the park. The lease expires in 1975 with the park continuing on a weekly basis as the managers are unable to negotiate a long-term lease.
This results in limited investment in park infrastructure and some older rides are replaced with portable rides.
Following a fatal fire in the Ghost Train on 9 June 1979 the park is closed.
The Friends of Luna Park headed by artists who had worked at Luna Park in the 1970’s stage public rallies and meetings to save the park.
A new leaseholder is appointed and the park re-opens in May 1982 with a mix of new and reconditioned rides. The park however closes again in 1988 for renovation after an unsuccessful attempt to redevelop the site as an adult entertainment centre with high rise towers is made public.
On 5 June 1990 the lease is terminated through the Luna Park Site Act 1990, after the leaseholder fails to meet a deadline to re-open the amusement park. The government through The Luna Park Reserve Trust takes control and a heritage study is commissioned.
Major restoration of the historic buildings begins, a new public foreshore boardwalk is created and a new roller coaster and other rides installed.
Luna Park opens on 20 January jointly managed by the Luna Park Reserve Trust and a private carnival operator. Local residents initiate a legal challenge against noise from the Big Dipper resulting in a reduction of its operating hours. In May an administrator is appointed and the park closes in Feb 1996.
NSW Parliament passes the Luna Park Site Amendment Act 1997 which provides for a wider range of uses for rooms and theatres etc). The precinct of Luna Park and its associated heritage items are classified and placed on the register of the National Estate.
NSW Government accepts Metro Edgley Pty Ltd’s redevelopment proposal after a rigorous 15 months public tender process and a 40 year operating lease is granted.
2000 and beyond
The Big Dipper rollercoaster is sold and moved to Dreamworld, Queensland.
A new company called Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd assumes the 40 year lease.
Construction and total refurbishment of buildings and rides begin after final building approvals are completed.
2004, 4 April
Luna Park re-opens. The redevelopment is based on keeping the site’s unique identity and heritage features while providing a new 2,000 seat Big Top auditorium,onsite carpark, restaurant and refurbished function facilities.
Luna Park and its use is listed on the NSW Heritage Register.
Luna Park Sydney’s prominent position and unique architecture give it a special place in the hearts of Australians and visitors alike.
Luna Park Sydney also has a rich history. Step back in time and relive the charm of Sydney's oldest Amusement Park by taking a Historical Tour.
Group Sales Manager
Tel: +612 9033 7540
Fax: +612 9929 7580
NOTE: your booking is not confirmed until you receive a confirmation letter from a Luna Park Representative.