Melbourne's Luna Park is a historic amusement park located on the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay in St Kilda, Victoria, an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia. It opened on 13 December 1912 and has been operating almost continuously ever since. This was the first of the four Luna Parks that were built in Australia, of which only Melbourne and Luna Park Sydney are still operating. The other two, now defunct, Luna Parks were at Glenelg in South Australia (1930–1934) and at Redcliffe in Queensland (1944–1966).
The St Kilda park was developed by American showman J D Williams, in company with the three Phillips brothers (reputedly from Seattle), who had all had experience in the amusement and cinema industry in the US. Their Chief Engineer and main designer was Englishman T H Eslick, who, according to the opening day brochure, had worked on numerous parks around the world. Williams returned to the US in 1913 to help found First National Films which subsequently became Warner Brothers. The Phillips brothers stayed on and ran the park until their deaths in the 1950s.
A fire in 1981 destroyed the Giggle Palace, and in the same year the River Caves were declared unsafe, and demolished. In 1989 the Big Dipper was demolished in anticipation of a new large roller coaster which never eventuated. The main historic features of the park to remain include the iconic "Mr Moon" face entry and flanking towers (1912, restored 1999), the Scenic Railway (1912) which is the oldest continuously-operating roller coaster in the world, and the carousel (1913 restored 2000). Other historic attractions include the Ghost Train (1934), and the fairytale castle-style Dodgem's Building constructed to house the newly patented ride in 1927 (the ride itself was relocated from the first floor of this building to the ground level in the late 1990s). The park also includes many modern attractions such as the Metropolis roller-coaster, the Spider, a Ferris wheel, and other mechanical thrill-rides. The park remains popular with children and their parents who have fond memories of the park from their youth. Extensive parks and beachfront attractions surround the Luna Park and contribute to its status as a tourist magnet.
This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme.