Sign in to follow this  
Mickazee

Who originally owned wonderland?

57 posts in this topic

Okay guys, Here's a screenshot of what the site looks like so far. The design still needs a bit of cleanup but i'm building the database now which will contain all the content. ANYWAY, what I'm really in need of the most is information about the formation of the park... I'd say that most of us are all too young to know anything of interest but is there any park insiders *hint hint* *nudge nudge* that can give me a bit of a rundown? I've got the following questions if anyone knows the answers: Who owned the park before Sunway City Berhad? What year did Sunway take over? How much did they pay for the park? What rides were initially in the park? The bushbeast and beastie, were they there from the beginning? How long did the park take to construct, which themed areas were there first? Why did they choose the current site (so far west)? Proximity to the M4? Cheap land? More importantly, i'm led to believe that a lot of the rides initially came from Paramount parks in the U.S. Is this true? Which parks and which rides were brought over? And back in 1985, does anyone know how much admission to the park costed? (I'll adjust for inflation)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Who owned the park before Sunway City Berhad? There have been a few owners over the years. While i can't tell you specifically, the original backers for the project included the NSW State Government (tourism), Kings Entertainment company (prior to merger with paramount) and the commonwealth bank. Prime sponsors to the project also included smiths chips, coca cola and tooheys. What rides were initially in the park? The bushbeast and beastie, were they there from the beginning? its easier to tell you what WASNT there- zodiac, all of the beach, demon, probe, skyhawk, Sky Rider, fred flintstone's splashdown what was that you may not know about- Funnel Web Spider, Ned Kelly's Getaway, Bam Bam's Ball Bash, Judy's Jetliners, Scooby's Silly Stix, and the paddleboats (can't remember actual name), wizard's fury How long did the park take to construct, which themed areas were there first? most major construction works were completed within two years prior to the park opening, december 1, 1985. Originally, the park opened with three themed lands, International Village, Goldrush, and Hanna-Barbera Land. it was based on a model of Canada's Wonderland, although canada had a few more lands at that time. Why did they choose the current site (so far west)? Proximity to the M4? Cheap land? the M4 did not exist when the park opened, however the land was at the time government owned, and with the state government's support, it made the land purchase easier. it was very cheap, and was considered to be central to the forecasted urban sprawl predicted in the next 20 years (they were right). it was still considered minchinbury when it was opened, however it later reverted to eastern creek as the area developed (urban sprawl again). More importantly, i'm led to believe that a lot of the rides initially came from Paramount parks in the U.S. Is this true? Which parks and which rides were brought over? it is true that rides were brought over yes. whether they all specifically came from paramount parks is another matter as i stated before, Kings were involved in the construction prior to the merge with paramount. some of these rides were from a dutch park, and some are more than 30 years old today (Wizard's Fury is one i can state for a certainty - the house the train went through had a particularly dutch feel to it as well) And back in 1985, does anyone know how much admission to the park costed? (I'll adjust for inflation) i can tell you that in its early days, an adult ticket was around $20-25, and children were somewhere between $10-17. pensioners were same as children, and over 60 i think was free. don't quote me on this though as this is an old memory. id say it was ballpark at best. hope this helps ya micka. also i have a lot of old info about the park from my visit today, so let me know if you need any more info, or get me on MSN - you have my contact. Ciao!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
what was that you may not know about- Funnel Web Spider, Ned Kelly's Getaway, Bam Bam's Ball Bash, Judy's Jetliners, Scooby's Silly Stix, and the paddleboats (can't remember actual name), wizard's fury How long did the park take to construct, which themed areas were there first? most major construction works were completed within two years prior to the park opening, december 1, 1985. Originally, the park opened with three themed lands, International Village, Goldrush, and Hanna-Barbera Land. it was based on a model of Canada's Wonderland, although canada had a few more lands at that time.
I think that the paddle boats name had something to do with Snaggle Puss. Also I recall that International Village was originally called Medieval Fair. Chucky

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Why did they choose the current site (so far west)? Proximity to the M4? Cheap land? the M4 did not exist when the park opened
Very wrong, Im afraid. The section of the M4 Between Mulgoa Rd Penrith and the (now gone) slipway at Prospect (Mays Hill) that joined back onto the Grt Western Hwy (which included the section past Wallgrove Rd and Wonderland) was opened in 1974. The section between the slipway at Wentworthville, over the "skyway" to Silverwater and on to Strathfield, was opened in 1986, which for a long time left a gap between Wentworthville and Mays Hill. This gap was finally closed in 1992 when a private consortium built the extension, and placed the tollgates at Silverwater (on the still Gov't owned section of road). The whole road received an extra lane in both directions in 1997/98 between Homebush and Penrith. ZordMaker.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Paddle boats were themed to Huckle Berry Hound. (You know the Blue Dog).
That was the carousel. "Huckle Berry Hound's Merry-Go-Round" "The Bus is now leaving for Huckle Bore, Western Australia"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Park was part of a consortium headed by Paramount Studios (Kings Entertainments Group) and it was also backed by the NSW Govt Super Scheme and also James Hardie (I don't know of any other backers of the Park but I definately know these three did) I have a feeling that Kings got out in the late 80's and that the rest got out when they sold to Sunway in 1997 I know that 7 day trading co-incided with the sale to Sunway as they both happened around the same time. Also, James Hardie wanted to get out of Australia (if you have been watching the news recently you would understand why)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No Bus. I have seen pictures of the Paddle Boats which were Steam Boats, with a Huckle Berry Hound Character on the top of it. And i have Proof too. One picture is of the Models ontop of the boats, and the second is some photographic evidence that they were themed to Huckle Berry Hound in some sort of way. But yes bus, you were half right, Huckle Berry Hound had a Carousel, and in the sections early life, the paddleboats were themed to Huckle Berry Hound.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all the great info guys! Alex I'll talk to you on MSN later ;-) (and bussy add me kthx!) I've found a good site with info and pictures of all the rides at Kings Island (including the beastie): http://www.coastergallery.com/2000T/pki.html Was beastie relocated or a new one built at wonderland? And out of all the other rides, any others that were at wonderland? If you click on 'Racer' there's a picture from the 80's of when Zodiac was at the park...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes Paul. I tell you with absolute certainty that Merry-Go-Round was named after Huckle Berry Hound. It was one of the first rides I operated and I have said "Welcome to Huckle Berry Hound’s Merry-Go-Round" hundreds, if not thousands of times and I nearly always stuffed up when saying it. "The Bus is now leaving for Hell Hound Hill, NSW"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know the Merry - go - round was named after Huckle Berry Hound. What i was trying to say, is that the paddle boats were themed to Huckle Berry Hound. And now i have proved that, i can sit back and relax.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

paul i hate to break it to you, but bussy is right. it was magilla gorilla's flotilla. huck was the carousel. you have a photo of huck on TWO of the paddle boats. in fact, there were numerous paddle boats, and they all had various heads. wilma, fred, barney, betty, huck, yogi, snaggle, jabberjaw, george and judy jetson, there were HEAPS of them. they all fell under "magilla gorilla's flotilla"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ner Ner told ya so. I never figured out why Merry was called that none of the characters were him. They were Fred, Dino, Jabba Jaw and Yogi. The Huckle was on the sign only. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw that Alex agreed with me. "The Bus is now leaving for Nerrin Nerrin Swamp, Victoria"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

bus, i dont make a point of disagreeing with you. if i feel you are wrong i say so. if i feel you are right i say so. so what does that tell you? lol. bussy - back in its day, merry had a lot more characters. over time the fibreglass on some of them, (including huck) broke, or became irrepairable, so they took it off. If you dont believe me, there were three or four characters from merry sitting down outside the warehouse, to the right of the canteen, visible from post. one is jabberjaw, one is yogi, and one is huck. standard character position, squatting (kinda) with a step in between his legs, and a footrest below that. but Huck was part of the carousel... that, and im sure they either ran out of HB characters to them the rides with, or vice versa, they wanted to put huck on something and that was all they had...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah I remember now. There were two Yogi's and two Huckle's squatting. Damm I hated that ride, the music drove me to the brink of insanity. I had a kid get his head stuck in Jabba Jaw's mouth once. Luckily we got him out with out too much damage to his head, the sharks head that is, not the kids. "The Bus is now leaving for Sanity, South Australia"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest galbraith

You shouldn't have pushed it in so far mate. I believe you may have gone a little over the top perhaps. Funny nevertheless. Moral: Don't piss off a ride operator. :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been tempted several times to shove various ride parts, lap bars, height sticks etc, etc, where the sun don't shine. "The Bus is now leaving for Shovel Well, Western Australia"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I meant to add that that was about the guests. Unlike you Galbraith I don't have a habit of putting large things where they shouldn't go, that was why you walk funny isn't it? "The Bus is now leaving for Penguin Walk, Tasmania"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the current text I've got for park history

With a capital injection of $65 million, Wonderland began life in December 1985 with the financial backing of the NSW State Superannuation Board (33.75%), James Hardie Industries (23.75%), Leighton Holdings (18.75%) and Taft Broadcasting (23.75%). The initial goal was to capture the family entertainment market in Sydney with the trial of an American-style theme park for Australia.       Construction of the park was performed by Taft Broadcasting which also owned the Kings Entertaiment Company. Much of the park was a replica of a themepark in the United States known as 'Kings Island' and another park known as 'Canada's Wonderland'.   Many rides such as the Bush Beast, Beastie and Zodiac were directly sourced from these parks or were replicas of rides currently standing. The theming of Wonderland (especially Hanna Barbera land) was also based off of these parks. With backing from the State Government, Wonderlands' site at Eastern Creek (then still considered Minchinbury) was easy to obtain and its location chosen to be central to urban sprawl predicted to spring up within the next 20 years (which proved to be correct). Its location next to the M4 motorway was also a drawcard being the major arterial freeway into Western Sydney. Construction of the park begun in 1983 and was completed within 2 years for the parks opening on December 1st of 1985. Originally, the park opened with three themed lands: International Village, Goldrush, and Hanna-Barbera Land.  
All the information above is from a ****load of googling and info off people from these forums. Let me know if there's a glaring mistake I've made or if you have any informaiton to add. What I really need now is pictures!!! Yes! Lots of pictures from the very early early days of the park (any pictures from its actual construction would earn you many brownie points) Can anyone help me here? :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Micka, "please refer to the community guidelines on the use of obscenities." lol. ok now i have that out of the way, please allow me to correct a few items, some of which were my own original mistakes.

With a capital injection of $65 million, Wonderland began life in December 1985 with the financial backing of the NSW State Superannuation Board (33.75%), James Hardie Industries (23.75%), Leighton Holdings (18.75%) and Taft Broadcasting (23.75%). The initial goal was to capture the family entertainment market in Sydney with the trial of an American-style theme park for Australia.   Construction of the park was performed by Taft Broadcasting which also owned the Kings Entertaiment Company. Much of the park was a replica of a themepark in the United States known as 'Kings Island' and another park known as 'Canada's Wonderland'.   Many rides such as the Bush Beast, Beastie and Zodiac were directly sourced from these parks or were replicas of rides currently standing. The theming of Wonderland (especially Hanna Barbera land) was also based off of these parks. With backing from the State Government, Wonderlands' site at Eastern Creek (then still considered Minchinbury) was easy to obtain and its location chosen to be central to urban sprawl predicted to spring up within the next 20 years (which proved to be correct). Its location next to the M4 motorway was also a drawcard being the major arterial freeway into Western Sydney. Construction of the park begun in 1983 and was completed within 2 years for the parks opening on December 1st of 1985. Originally, the park opened with three themed lands: International Village, Goldrush, and Hanna-Barbera Land.  
The Original Park design was based SOLELY on Canada's Wonderland. King's Island was a source for some rides, however the layout, entertainment, theming etc was sourced entirely from Canada's Wonderland. The three themed lands WERE originally Medieval Faire, GoldRush and Hanna-Barbera Land. Medieval faire was later renamed International Village when ride movements, and the additions of other attractions and shows in the park did not fit with the original Medieval theme. By removing Medieval Faire, and Replacing it with International village, it meant they could use pretty much any historical theme on anything, and it still fit with the theme of "international". With the introduction of Transylvania, International Village lost some of the reasons it was "International" and the now-much-smaller area was re-themed Old Botany Bay. Old Botany Bay was kind of lacking, as it then only had the Jousting Ring (dodgems) and Bounty's Revenge (pirate ship), and then only one of them fit that theme! To be contradictory as well, when the body of water in the middle of OLD BOTANY BAY was then called a lake, with the eating area called "lakeside" (theres sunway for ya!) now to add other factoids - HMAS Endeavour used to be in Medieval Faire. It was positioned directly behind the "wrecked ship" seating area, opposite Bounty's Revenge as you walk towards dodgems. of course the "wrecked ship" wasnt there then. Endeavour was pushed out of Medieval Faire by the Australian Wildlife Park, and it moved to the spot left by the Funnel Web Spider, when it moved out of goldrush (any idea where it went anyone?) The Outback Restaurant was first called "Captain Cook's Restaurant" Originally, the lake next to bounty's revenge held the REAL "pirate ship". Sponsored by Toohey's brewery, the pirate ship was based on an identical stunt show in Canada's Wonderland, where pirates warred with regimental soldiers. spectacular action from this show included pirates fallingdivingjumping off the main mast, some 15-20 metres above ground level, and into the lake. (which is approximately 10 metres deep in that area). The tooheys pirate ship was actually built off premises, at a genuine ship-yard, before being loaded onto a semi trailer, and driven down the great western highway at about 4am, before being craned into position on top of its pillars. The pontoon in the middle of the lake used by the waterski stunt shows H2Overload and War On Water, among others, was actually the base for the pirate ship. the pillars (4) actually held the ship from its middle, shooting up through the ship's belly, to hold it just below its cannons. this void underneath allowed the stunt performers to fall into the water, and then swim up underneath and hence not be seen. Calls for casting and auditions were made every year for the park season. the park originally traded from around july-august, through until may, operating on weekends, public holidays and school holiday seasons only. cast were hired on a seasonal basis, and would generally be hired either for a full season, or just for the holiday periods. Entertainment wise, they hired many people, sparing no expense. separate cast members were hired to be dancing characters, while others would be the "walk around" characters. When entering the park, a swarm of photographers stood outside the gates, taking your photo, usually with a character or two on the way in. a card or pass was given to you with a number on it, and you returned towards the end of the day to pick up your very own photo, inside a looking glass (small viewfinder shot, held up to one eye against the light). HMAS Endeavour originally loaded from one side, and unloaded from the other. Bush Beast's control used to be located at the front of the platform, next to the despatch runway. the painting of the claws never used to exist, and you had a free view straight out while at the platform. one master operator controlled the main operations of the ride, while a brakeman at the opposite end of the platform (the return runway) controlled a series of brakes from the arrival corridor all the way back to the station. this operator had the duty of holding the second train until the first had cleared. this allowed the operator to use their own judgement, meaning the operator could bring the train in faster than that which was computer controlled in later years. Bush Beast was also manned by 3 other staff for personal belongings, lapbar checking and height checking. Entry gates to most main rides on opening (including Bush Beast, Beastie, Zodiac, and Bounty's Revenge were low metal poles (similar to that of the queue lines in dragon's flight, endeavour and tassie devil) bent into a 'P' shape that swung open, similar to the way the large rebarred grilles did more recently. they were a lightweight metal, and you could lean past them to watch the ride in action. Billabong Grove used to be Yogi Bear's Picnic Park, and guests could take a picnic lunch into the area to have a peaceful family lunch. Action Arena used to be a basketball court. before that it was just land and a service road. the walkway between dragons flight and the goldrush entrance never used to exist, until skyhawk was built. i have more but my brain is swimming wonderland at the moment, so ill post more later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
one master operator controlled the main operations of the ride, while a brakeman at the opposite end of the platform (the return runway) controlled a series of brakes from the arrival corridor all the way back to the station. this operator had the duty of holding the second train until the first had cleared. this allowed the operator to use their own judgement, meaning the operator could bring the train in faster than that which was computer controlled in later years. Bush Beast was also manned by 3 other staff for personal belongings, lapbar checking and height checking.
I think you will find that the operator that was at the lift end of the platform was in control of the lift. The control panel (which is still there) had three buttons on it, Start, Stop and E-Stop, it also had a microphone. The primary function of this person was to watch the lift, if anyone was misbehaving they could use the microphone to talk to them or if need be to stop the lift. If there was an emergency on the lift obviously they would hit the e-stop. They had nothing to do with the brakes in the section before the station. "The Bus is now leaving for Micro Gardens Park, Western Australia"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When endevour was in its old location it was actualy called "Sea Deamon." It used to be the first ride I ever went on, then you would walk up under the large pavillion/vine covering the road and through the rainbow (also in it's old location) and into HBB land. I still remember the first time I went to WL with my dad after they moved Endevour. We asked someone where it had gone and they just told us that it wasn't at the park anymore. I was very sad but we were then delighted to find a very very similar ride called HMAS Endevour in Goldrush! Hey does anyone know of another ride of this model in existence anywhere? I still used to find it cool that WL had this, Tassie Devil and Wizards Fury all of which (although not one offs) were pretty unique.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Actually Bus, I have a photo around here somewhere of that end of the platform, and it shows quite clearly, two "lever style" controls, similar to that on snowy. these levers were used to control the slipway brakes. yes, there were also controls for the lift, that i forgot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Parkz Crew

    Support Parkz... join the Crew for:

    • Ad-banner free viewing
    • Parkz Crew profile badge
    • Extended editing
    • See who's liked your posts
    • Purchase discounts

    Join Now from $20/yr

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.