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Luna Park 85th Anniversary

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Luna Park is an amusement park that has been a site of recreation and leisure on Sydney's north harbourside since 1935. With its spectacular location and views, it 's a key element of Sydney's identity.

The Museum's collection includes photographs by David Mist, tickets and advertising material and displays from Luna Park created by Leigh Hobbs including the figures of Larrie and Lizzie Luna made in the 1970s for the parks reopening.

Sydney's Luna Park had its origins at Glenelg in Adelaide, where a park of the same name was established in 1930 but was forced to close due to problems with residents and the local council. Its contents were shipped to Sydney where, under the supervision of Ted Hopkins, it re-opened in 1935 on a site that had been recently vacated by the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction project.

Luna Park's festive atmosphere has always been augmented by fine examples of fairground artwork. Arthur Barton, the park's resident artist until 1970, designed murals and panels full of humour and whimsy. The park was revamped in the 1970s with the help of artists Martin Sharp, Peter Kingston and Richard Liney. After a fatal ghost train fire in 1979, Luna Park was closed. A new leaseholder, Harbourside Amusements, took over in 1981, adding new attractions but doing away with many of the older rides and artwork.

The park closed again in 1988. Public protests and lobbying by Friends of Luna Park, a community organisation, persuaded the state government to prevent a proposed high rise development, ensuring that the site would be reserved for public recreation, amusement and entertainment. A reinvigorated Luna Park re-opened in 1995 but was forced to close due to complaints by residents about noise from the new Big Dipper. It re-opened in 2004 with a new Big Top and a refurbished Crystal Palace, alongside traditional attractions like the Rotor, the Wild Mouse and Coney Island.

Peter Cox and Anni Turnbull, curators, 2020