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Dreamworld 40th Birthday


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1 hour ago, Vidgamer said:

Is anyone going next Wednesday for the birthday 'day'? What is an appropriate time to line up for these things? 

Well it also the official opening of steel taipan as well so it likely to be biggest crowd dreamworld has had in a long time so I planned arrived for myself at 9am especially with traffic parking your car.

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Local radio station did their morning show from DW.

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I CUT & PASTE this from the GCB

JOHN Longhurst stood amid a 85ha cattle property in Coomera in 1974 and told an incredulous media pack that he wanted to build a theme park.

The businessman had invested his savings and would use a borrowed bulldozer and the cheap labour of his family to make the dream a reality.

Seven years later, on a wet Tuesday morning, Dreamworld opened its gates. About 500 people an hour flooded the park.

John Longhurst in 1981 when Dreamworld was being built.

John Longhurst in 1981 when Dreamworld was being built.

Wednesday marks the 40-year anniversary of the Coomera theme park and the start of an evolution that helped turn the Gold Coast into Australia’s fun capital.

Mr Longhurst is today age 88 and still lives on the Gold Coast. However, he is too ill to talk.

However, his son, Tony – the project’s construction manager at just age 17 – this week told the Bulletin: “There was a real sense of achievement in it and now, looking back, it really hits home, seeing how it evolved.

“The opening day was so exciting after all the years of work. People thought we were going to go bankrupt, people didn’t think it was going to happen, but it did happen.”

John Longhurst in 1981 Picture: Bob Barnes.

John Longhurst in 1981 Picture: Bob Barnes.

The genesis of Dreamworld came from a trip John Longhurst took to the US in 1969, during which he stayed with relatives in Anaheim, California and visited Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm.

He later admitted the idea came to him in a dream while on a flight between Hawaii and Japan.

 
The team of more than 100 men who worked on Dreamworld in 1981 to complete it ahead of its opening. Pictured in the centre is construction manager Tony Longhurst, then aged-24. Picture: Gold Coast Bulletin archives.

The team of more than 100 men who worked on Dreamworld in 1981 to complete it ahead of its opening. Pictured in the centre is construction manager Tony Longhurst, then aged-24. Picture: Gold Coast Bulletin archives.

The idea percolated for five years until John Longhurst bought the Coomera land and submitted a development application to the Albert Shire Council.

“The approval process was amazing,” Tony Longhurst said. ”Instead of the bureaucrats you have to deal with today, the entire application was just one-and-a-quarter pages long.

“Instead of having to waste tens of millions of dollars on consultants, it was approved in just 60 days.

Dreamworld through the years
APRIL, 1999 : Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, 04/99. Queensland / Amusement Centre Travel
Cooee the Gumnut Fairy drives Kenny and Belinda Koala in the old Model T cars at Dreamworld. was the theme park celebrates its 40th anniversary Picture Glenn Hampson

Cooee the Gumnut Fairy drives Kenny and Belinda Koala in the old Model T cars at Dreamworld. was the theme park celebrates its 40th anniversary Picture Glenn Hampson

“It could never happen today. If you wanted to do it, there would just be too much red and green tape.”

Rather than assemble a giant team of builders, Mr Longhurst and his son were among a team of seven people which toiled away for three years between 1974 and 1977.

After being taught how to operate his bulldozer, Mr Longhurst worked 12 hours a day gouging out an 800m waterway that was 30m wide and 3m deep. It took two years to complete.

Kenny & Belinda Koala in the 1980s.

Kenny & Belinda Koala in the 1980s.

Once filled with water, it was named “the mighty Murrasippi”.

“There were just seven of us who worked for those three years when my dad began digging the lakes and doing the earthworks,” Tony Longhurst said this week.

 
Trapeze artist Joanne De Gold with Thunderbolt ride in background at Dreamworld. 16/12/92, Pic: David Caird. Queensland (Qld) / Amusement Centre Travel

“We did the railroad station, laid the tracks and built the paddleboat (the Captain Sturt) which were all done onsite.

“It was a real family affair. All our savings went into building the park and I remember working seven days a week on it, even Christmas Day.”

The Thunderbolt was a popular ride for more than 20 years.

The Thunderbolt was a popular ride for more than 20 years.

An unnamed worker putting the finishing touches on the log ride at Dreamworld in 1981. Picture: Gold Coast Bulletin archives.

An unnamed worker putting the finishing touches on the log ride at Dreamworld in 1981. Picture: Gold Coast Bulletin archives.

Parts and attractions for the park were obtained from Australia.

The original steam train that ran through the park was bought in Goulburn, NSW, taken to Sydney and rebuilt for the park.

The Model-T Ford replicas, which today are Dreamworld’s last operating original attraction, were built in-house by John Longhurst’s brothers. The designs were based on plans of the real vintage vehicles.

In the final year of construction, a team of more than 150 people, led by the younger Mr Longhurst put the finishing touches on the park before its December 1981 opening.

Dreamworld in the mid-1990s.

Dreamworld in the mid-1990s.

 
 
 
The original attractions included the Log Ride, the Captain Sturt, a shooting galleryand the famous Thunderbolt double-loop rollercoaster.”

The younger Mr Longhurst said he had fond memories of the log ride and steam train and lamented their eventual closures.

“It was absolutely unique back then and if you were a purist, you would probably say it was great through until the 1990s when it got carved up to become more about the thrill rides,” he said.

“There was nothing else like it.”

Edited by New display name
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I spent the afternoon at the park to take in all the nostalgia. It is so fantastic seeing all this return. It brings back so many memories and makes you start to feel like you are in the old DW. Goldie the Clown is as fantastic as ever and which he would visit the park on weekends/every holidays. There are also some other random Street characters like prisoners and miners who are entertaining people on Main Street. 
 

There are a few more pieces of merch available too

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The river is clean

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They have opened up the food market area even though there isn’t anything available in here other than extra seating. If I was the park I wouldn’t bother opening this up unless the park super crazy and they are running out of room for places to eat.

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They have also repainted this shelter opposite the shaded seating area 

 

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