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petestrash

Who built the Steel "Wild Cat" type coaster that operated in the 70's

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Its a shame that both Big Dipper's have disappeared from our landscape.The Big Dipper's from both LPM and LPS were both from the stable of legendary coaster creator John A Miller's Philadelphia Tobbagan Company and both their station and layout were identical. With the demolition in 1981 of LPS Big Dipper, there should have been a concerted effort to save LPM's surviving example. It was a travesty that such an important heritage item such as this was aloowed to be removed without so much as a fight. I would have loved to ride these coaster's and I would love to chat with anyone who has any experience in doing so. Anyone?? I have ridden the Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in England ,which is around the same vintage as our Dippers. Whilst not of the same layout, it sure packed quite a punch and amongst the coaster scenery at Blackpool, was my favorite riding experience. I would also love to see and collect pictures of either LP from any era so if anyone has any they are willing to share that would be fantastic!! Cheers, Jobe

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Well, with the demolition of LPM's Big Dipper came the birth of 'Friends of Luna Park' due to the uproar it created. To my knowledge, the green light for its demolition had not been given, but to the surprise of all concerned, the bulldozers were called in one morning, and before anyone blinked an eyelid, much of the integral supports had been demolished. Too much to go back. Jobe, how certain are you that the layout of both LPM and LPS was identical? For some reason, there seem to be more photo's available of LPS's than LPM's Big Dipper, probably due to the fact that the majority of Melb's was largely obstructed from proper viewing - sandwhiched between the Scenic Railway, and Dodgem building.

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LPFanatic, I assuume that was a joke? Some slight similarities to any laymen (both have a sort of 180 degree turn-around) but I think you're... can anyone confirm?

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Wow this will be a major oversight of mine if you are correct. Here i have a scale model of LPS's original Big Dipper, and now that you mention it, wow. Who else can confirm this? I cannot believe all you Wonerland ex staff have not already known this, or made mention of it???

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If this coaster in the model was the actual Big Dipper at LPS, then the one at LPM was significantly higher and larger, both LP BD's were custom designed for their unique landscape, I don't think they were made off identical blueprints.

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My comment, it is not the same ride. With all due respect, get over yourselves. Sure it looks like it, but rest assured it is not. The ride was severly damaged by the River Cave fire, and was just pulled down.

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The 2 coasters have nothing at all to do with each other from what I know. The Big Dipper at LPS was quite badly damaged by the Ghost Train fire. There was no River Caves fire as someone else mentioned... although a section of the River Caves was damaged by the Ghost Train fire. Although it could have been repaired, the owners of the park in the 80's completely demolished the Big Dipper and trashed it

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Well then my dad's lieing? :confused:
Yes your Dad is lying... or he's one of those people who like to sound like they know the facts when they are not really sure either way

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lol. Tell him to "put his photo's where his mouth is" Nah, I'm not critising his knowledge, clearly he had some special involvement in a unique time at the park. I think there may be a sliver of truth to it - but the materials were certainly entirely new.

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lunaparkfanatic.... sorry but your dad is completely wrong. The Big Dipper from LPS was torn down and DEMOLISHED on the 3rd June 1981. it was never relocated anywhere. The notion that the Beastie from Wonderland Sydney is actually LPS Big Dipper is..well absurd!! The Beastie is a exact copy of a coaster from Paramount's Canada Wonderland and is considered an ACE coaster classic. As Paul suggested, maybe your Dad was thinking about the Steel Big Dipper re-located to Dreamworld?? Zamperla the info I got about both Dippers being the same layout is from Sam Marshall's great history book "Luna Park- Just for Fun" In it ,he states (referring to Luna Park Glenelg) "Much of the mechanics were made in Luna park St Kilda.The Big Dipper and station were identical to St Kilda's" Page 50. The Big Dipper at St Kilda was introduced in August of 1923. The Big Dipper at Glenelg was opened on the 8th October 1930. We all know of course that Luna Park Glenelg was later dismantled and removed lock ,stock to its present site at Milsons Point. Therefore the Dippers were exactly the same both in layout and in the station,with its great Moorish architectual influences. Cheers Jobe

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A lot of the general public (the ones who aren't overly interested in theme parks) tend to think that just about every roller coaster or ride is called 'the Big Dipper'. I also find that particularly the older ones are under the impression that every ride has something to do with Luna Park. It's quite funny really

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Yes you're right, there is a huge misconception by Australia's general public to assume all rollercoasters are named 'Big Dipper' - it is a catchy title really. In that model photo I posted, the Big Dipper looks quite small, and quite similar from memory to the Beasie at Wonderland.

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Thats correct Jobe, the Big Dipper was bulldozed and later burnt by order of the Department of Labour and Industry. Both the Big Dipper and Wildcat were purchased at a public auction held at Luna Park and purchased by the Haas Family who owned the Hollywood Pleasure and Picnic Grounds at Lansvale in New Soth Wales. The family purchased the Big Dipper and Wildcat for a total of $300,000.00 and were given six (6) weeks to remove the two massive rides. The family were successful in removing the Wildcat but were unable to remove the Big Dipper in the specified time. The Wildcat was later erected at at Lansvale where the Haas amily decided to pull their travelling carnival off the raod and base it permanently in the Hollywood Pleasure Grounds. The WildCat sat derelict for many years into the early nineties and was dismantled and sold to someone in Tasmania, I was involved in inspecting the ride as part of my role with the local Council and was on site when it was dismantled and trucked to Tasmania. I have not heard of or seen the Wildcat ever again. For those of you that are interested in Luna Park, I did a thesis on the site as part of my Town Planning studies back in the early nineties and have many newspaper clippings relating to the fire, sale of the rides dating up to present day. I do not have a scanner but an happy to photocopy the articles and post to anyone interested. Send me a private message with your details.

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Hey Zamperla!!! Where did you get that pic of the model of LPS from ?? What year was it made and was it done for public display?? It looks like it could have been made by the same people that made this model of the '95 incarnation. Would love your info!! Cheers Jobe :cool:

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I have seen a model similar to the one Zamperla posted sitting in the North Sydney library. I am not sure how accurate it is. I think you will find there is quite a large difference between the Beastie and LPS's original Big Dipper. The Big Dipper certainly seemed a lot longer and stretched a decent length of the park

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