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bren79

Wonderland

62 posts in this topic

Hi All, Well i am very new to this site but i have spent the past three days reading almost every post relating to Wonderland Sydney and it's closure. Firstly, i applaude you all for the dedication you have shown to the park over the years and also to those who are still trying to save the park in some way. I attended Wonderland very regularly and was one of the first people through the gate the day it opened and one of the last through the gate, the day it closed. When i heard of it's closure, i had conversations with Stephen Galbraith and later with Mr Toussaint (i think that's the spelling) from ING. What became apparently clear is that neither of these organisations have any belief that Wonderland in any shape or form is a worthwhile business to operate in it's current form on that current site. I realise some members here wish to see it reopened as a "Mini Wonderland" with pressure put on political representatives for this to become a mandatory requirment under the SEPP59 rezoning. As someone who is abreast of the political arena, and as a very active member of the Liberal Party, I find it very hard to fathom that any government be it Liberal or Labor would seek to impose this requirment on such a large investor in our state, thus risking potential jobs all for the sake of a roller coaster and a beach in the middle of an industrial zone. Having said this, i must point out that i dont wish to detract from what your members are trying to do, as i have been a big fan of Wonderland Sydney for many, many years. I think the realisation is that it is gone and it will not be back in any way shape or form. What i would like to encourage your members to do is to lobby for a new NSW Super Theme Park. Governments and Opposition parties will offer support for this idea and I believe you would find many allies in this cause as it will bring new job and new development to you state. So let's get behind a lobby project to all the major theme park operators in Australia and around the world. Why not the likes of Disney for example? is there a plausable reason that they wouldnt build a Disney Oz? Providing they placed the park in a tourist destination type place, i cannot see why it wouldnt work. You need a park in a place that people already visit. Somewhere that people are going to go anyway, not in the middle of Western Sydney where there is nothing but suburbia. God if you could build a theme park in Bondi, it'd go off. Obviously this isnt realistic because of the high residential population but you get my point. Im happy to help lobby in the political arena and talk to some people, but i would like some support from members of your forum. I believe that this option has a higher chance of success than trying to save any part of Wonderland or trying to pressure multi national companies to keep a 20yr old roller coaster and a couple of water slides. Well thats all i have to say for my first post, shoot me down in flames if you think im wrong. I too am a die hard theme park fan. RIP Wonderland.

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Somewhere that people are going to go anyway, not in the middle of Western Sydney where there is nothing but suburbia.
I guess "suburbia" has nothing but thousands of young cashed up teenages with nothing do do except play playstation and smoke dope, because of course this is the "view" of the Eastern Sydney types right?, if this park was advertised and promoted correctly to the local youth of West and South West Sydney it could of been alot better off financially. PLUS that would be something to do in "nothingless suburbia" If you ever noticed any of the later years "uncool and totally crappy" ad's and print ad's Wonderland had, no wonder the damn youth stayed away. I think the management just didnt give a @#$!.. "its just too hard!" type excuse.. Instead of all the ""excuses"" Wonderland made for closure, like the Asian Flu Virus and 911 etc..did anyone care to think that just maybe the management was just too stale and out of touch with the youth and possibly needed the boot out the door? Of course, the management is never ever to blame right? Mr Galbraith seems to be really loved in the Wonderland forum by the ex-employee's, just do a search!.. :cool:
God if you could build a theme park in Bondi, it'd go off. Obviously this isnt realistic because of the high residential population but you get my point.
Yes, like Fox Studios backlot tour?...and can I ask where would find the 100 or so acre land for the "Wonderland Mk2 Super Park"?... Paddington, Double Bay, Mosman?.

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SeanM, I think your too harsh. It appears to me that Wonderland was gearing up for closure for a while. If the opposite was true, then there would have been a new attraction after 1997. Stephen Gailbraith; say what you want about the guy, but from experience I can tell you, he did know a fair bit about the amusement industry. He took from the Gold Coast, some of the best theme park minds around. Michael Croaker and Andrew Cole were both excellent, and knew there craft very well. It seems clear that it was the intention of Sunday all along to close, and let me tell you, when the parent company wants to sell, then that's it. No questions asked, its all over. It would be nieve to think that a major scale theme park is enviable in NSW. Fox studios can hardly count, since from all accounts it was substandard, and too expensive. It was doomed right from the word go, kind of like Disney Studios Paris. I can assure you, if anyone starts a crusade to get a big park built in NSW, I'll be behind it, though I doubt that'd really make a great deal of difference.

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Personnaly, i dont think disney could work as well because thier parks have much higer visting rates that what could be sustained here, I think a Universal, Tussauds or pParamount park could work here, or maybe just a completley indipendent operator. If it was done right, and stuck close to the standard theme park formula (and not try to be anything too "out there") and was kept fresh with a new ride every year or so, then it could work, LPS seems to be doing well, even though its just mostly a collection of ex carnival rides, so imagine how well a proper park could perform.

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He took from the Gold Coast, some of the best theme park minds around. Michael Croaker and Andrew Cole were both excellent, and knew there craft very well. LOL ..Michael Croaker a great theme park mind...gimme a break. The man was an MC at Sea World , and anyone who knows him knows how much a a dead *#@* he was, how he had no idea and was pretty full of himself. Andrew Cole did not do an awful lot for Wonderland. however there was one consultant that Steve did bring down on a regular basis who was a very wise head and did plenty for the park. ...

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What i would like to encourage your members to do is to lobby for a new NSW Super Theme Park. Governments and Opposition parties will offer support for this idea and I believe you would find many allies in this cause as it will bring new job and new development to you state.   So let's get behind a lobby project to all the major theme park operators in Australia and around the world. Why not the likes of Disney for example? is there a plausable reason that they wouldnt build a Disney Oz? Providing they placed the park in a tourist destination type place, i cannot see why it wouldnt work. You need a park in a place that people already visit. Somewhere that people are going to go anyway, not in the middle of Western Sydney where there is nothing but suburbia. God if you could build a theme park in Bondi, it'd go off. Obviously this isnt realistic because of the high residential population but you get my point.
First of all, Walt Disney built his first theme park in a major "tourist destination type place" and he was sad at what became of the katella, Anaheim area because of Disneyland's placement, so as i recall, he bought a huge amount of land in florida, at the intersection of two major arterial roads, and built his magic kingdom. The magic kingdom BECAME a major tourist destination. bottom line is, if its worthwhile, and you build it, they will come. Wonderland, in the middle of western sydney, was a magnet to the locals for the first 7 odd years of its life. the biggest problem was it was too long between the introduction of new thrill rides to keep that magnet charged. So let me add this up - big liberal supporter, likes theme parks, thinks western sydney is a bad tourist destination, thinks one should be built in the eastern suburbs, and is willing to do a bit of lobbying to head honcho's in the political arena if we drop our wanting to save the wonderland site, and support his BUILD in BONDI idea..... sounds like a bunch of crap to me. as usual some political junkie out there to tell you he's there for you, while getting what he wants and screwing the opposition. dont get me wrong, i love the park too, but understand the lack of feasibility when it comes to reopening it now... i just found this guy's post to be a little off track to his own needs... back to the drawing board...

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What about that new Spy Land? Any news if that is going to happen? If so, this might be the theme park that you are after, as in terms of supporting it. I am there 100% of the way in the supporting process, and loved Wonderland, but it's gone now, and there is not much we can do about it. I mean if Dreamworld closed down, i wouldn't be so upset as i was about Wonderland. Wonderland grew on everyone. How about a toast to Wonderlands Afterlife? Let Wonderland Rest in piece. It has gone through enough already. Anyway, back on subject, what i want to know is, if your going to try to get a new park in the sydney area, how would you have the power to convince Disney or any park for that matter to take a dive into the deep end, and build a park in sydney?

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SPYLAND? SPYLAND! SPYLAND! What the hell is Spyland? I TOTALLY agree with the political dude! I'm of to make brochures cya!

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Well obviously some of the members on here have trouble understanding what is written and choose to read between the lines and interprate and opinion that just doesnt exist. The following points need to be made: I am not from Eastern Sydney, i am from the South Coast. Yes I am a Liberal Supporter but that does not mean I hate Western Sydney, nor did i say i did. I simply said that I didnt think it was a good place for a theme park. I commented that if you COULD build one at Bondi, it would work. I then went onto say that it wasnt feasable because of the high density residential buildings that are already there. Now, lets face facts..... People visit Bondi, who visits Western Sydney??? Ask an asian tourist if they know Bondi? Ask and Asian tourist if they know Western Sydney? The fact is that whilst we have to cater to domestic, we also have to cater to international. Domestic alone will not sustain a theme park. Some of you people on here need to pull your head out of the preverbial and start living in the real world. Have any of you ever heard of a business? Do you understand what is needed to make it viable? If you think wonderland is such a great idea, then where are the fully costed business proposals? Of cause not because at the end of the day, half of you want a dream and are not willing to face reality. I came on here to post to offer some support for what i thought was the most realistic approach. Just because someone offers something to which is different to your opinion, it does not mean they are attacking you. You guys seriously need to grow up.

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Well obviously some of the members on here have trouble understanding what is written and choose to read between the lines and interprate and opinion that just doesnt exist. The following points need to be made: I am not from Eastern Sydney, i am from the South Coast. oh good - a liberal and a hick. Besides i never said you were from eastern sydney... just that you wanted to built there. Yes I am a Liberal Supporter but that does not mean I hate Western Sydney, nor did i say i did. I simply said that I didnt think it was a good place for a theme park. I never said you hated western sydney, but as you've said there, you think its a bad tourist destination I commented that if you COULD build one at Bondi, it would work. I then went onto say that it wasnt feasable because of the high density residential buildings that are already there. Now, lets face facts..... People visit Bondi, who visits Western Sydney??? People visit Kings Cross too, but i don't think its a suitable place for a thriving tourism metropolis. Ask an asian tourist if they know Bondi? Ask and Asian tourist if they know Western Sydney? yes, you're right. they'd probably think western sydney was olympic park. Wait a minute... ask an asian tourist if they know the Blue Mountains, Three Sisters, Jenolan Caves The fact is that whilst we have to cater to domestic, we also have to cater to international. Domestic alone will not sustain a theme park. I never said this wasn't so. Wonderland thrived on the asian tourist market, most of which would stop off at "western sydney" on their way to the mountains. Some of you people on here need to pull your head out of the preverbial and start living in the real world. When Mr. J Howard does, I will. Have any of you ever heard of a business? Do you understand what is needed to make it viable? Yes. I run one. If you think wonderland is such a great idea, then where are the fully costed business proposals? Of cause not because at the end of the day, half of you want a dream and are not willing to face reality. Fully costed business proposals were done in 1982 - 1983 the park was viable then and would still be viable now. It is simply that the corporation that owned it got greedy, didnt want to own a theme park when it could sell the land and make many more millions than they paid for it. I came on here to post to offer some support for what i thought was the most realistic approach. Just because someone offers something to which is different to your opinion, it does not mean they are attacking you. I never said you were attacking me, or us. But i seriously feel that your idea was a little biased towards a common misconception. that misconception is that nobody who travels to australia wants to go anywhere west of Darling Harbour. I've worked in tourism, hospitality and retail since I left school, from the beaches to the mountains and beyond. and what you're saying is a crock. You guys seriously need to grow up. Ok and while im on this point, allow me to repeat something: Well obviously some of the members on here have trouble understanding what is written and choose to read between the lines and interprate and opinion that just doesnt exist. funny thing is, as i have just pointed out above, YOU didnt read what was written, and YOU chose to read between the lines. Hate to break it to you buster, but we're not all 15 year old theme park addicts stuck in front of a computer for entertainment. :P

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Wait a minute... ask an asian tourist if they know the Blue Mountains, Three Sisters, Jenolan Caves
Of course, and thousands of Asian tourists each year somehow seem to find the small and tiny Featherdale Wildlife Park without any great issues..right in the middle of total suburbia? Busloads of camera snapping tourists?...mmm

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There are a few things you have to do with a theme park to survive. Firstly is offer enough entertainment to justify a day trip for locals. If you have enough entertainment for an entire day (let's say a Dreamworld sized park), then realistically your catchment zone for day-trippers is a 1-2 hour radius around the park. The problem with Wonderland that it didn't provide enough to get Sydneysiders in. If you want to attract interstate and international, it must be near other things that justify the trip. People don't make a trip to what is to them the middle of no where while they're on holidays. There are a few ways around this. You can build near other things (our Gold Coast parks have the beach which attracts people), or you can build your own destination (see Walt Disney World, truly in the middle of nowhere yet attracts somewhere around 20 million people each year). In Wonderland's position this would have meant using the empty land to build a quality resort, maybe a separate-entry water park, a bigger wildlife park and even a second theme park. Wonderland had neither the location, nor did it create a destination. You also need to provide fresh attractions. Locals won't come if there's nothing new. Interstate visitors won't come back if you don't provide something new.

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For once in my life of a Wonderland Topic, i'm keeping my mouth shut. The only thing wonderland had going for it, was the fact that it grew on people, like me, and visited, and loved the park. If it was DW, i would say, cool, a theme park, lets not go there this year, lets goto sea world instead, because of new attractions.

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Alex, I take exception to you thinking people from the South Coast are hicks. The South Coast of NSW is the second fastest growing region in Australia after the Gold Coast. We have the same growth here in a week that Sydney has in 6 months. thats a FACT!! We also have a higher socio-economic population base then Sydney and yes that is including the Eastern Suburbs. The fact that im a liberal supporter has no bearing and the only reason i mentioned it was because i do know some people and thought i may be able to lobby to try and bring some entertainment back to the people of NSW. Regardless of you views and regardless of whether my opinions are a crock, the fact is that Central and Eastern Sydney experience higher visitation rates than Western Sydney. IN fact it is arounf ten fold more than Western Sydney. (Figures from Tourism NSW) so my point again is that if something new was to be built, surely better to build somewhere that you have higher visitation to begin with. Wonderland is gone, for what reason is irrelevant now. I dont hold it against the owners, it was their land and they have a commercial right do with it as they wish, the same as you do with your business. If you want to close your business and redevelop it, it is your right. The fact that it was a theme park makes it slightly more sensitive but no less commercially responsible. I do think you a little to quick to judge people though Alex and it suprises me that your attitude is as derelict as what you have demonstrated here today.

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some very good points Rich, as always, and it picks a few good points from both sides of the conversation. on a side note, i have a lot more respect for you now that i have seen your photos (thanks to rod). although i knew you were at uni, i somehow pictured you a lot older.... in the original plans for wonderland, the extra land was for a resort, golf course, separate water park, separate wildlife park etc, however, a few local businesses including rooty hill RSL for one screamed it would kill their local business.... about the same way that nepean square screamed about penrith plaza when lend lease moved in, and hoyts screamed when panthers wanted to put in a multiplex cinema. so blacktown CC vetoed wonderland's original plans, which is why the beach was squeezed in behind the beast next to the road, and the wildlife park was jointed onto the park, which required the relocation of some attractions to accomodate it. Original planning for wonderland would have seen it become a somewhat less impressive version of the magic kingdom, in the sense that it would have been an attraction and accomodation facility in its own right. but the locals didnt want this to happen... so it didnt... and now the park is closed. oh well.

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Hi All, As someone who is abreast of the political arena, and as a very active member of the Liberal Party, I find it very hard to fathom that any government be it Liberal or Labor would seek to impose this requirment on such a large investor in our state, thus risking potential jobs all for the sake of a roller coaster and a beach in the middle of an industrial zone. roller coaster and a couple of water slides. RIP Wonderland.
It might surprise you to find out that not everyone who lives out here wants more jobs. In fact most of us are damned fed up with having too many. The employment rate (except for those genuine, unemployable bludgers) is effectively negative already with the area sucking workers out of other neighbouring areas causing peak hour traffic gridlock every day. The local Govt is unlikely to be swayed by the promise of a hundered new jobs in another warehouse distribution centre which replaced three hundred jobs lost in a theme park. (that is, unless the owners can promise to establish a new tourist attraction elsewhere in Blacktown to compensate). However with NSW Planning very much on the nose already (try the Orange grove fiasco, etc etc) the owners better do their thing quickly and pass some big bucks under the Labour Party table if they want it rezoned, because if the State Govt changes in 06/07, it is unlikely to happen. Votes are more important then Jobs, especially now. ZordMaker

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gee... now i see why Bussy loves riling people up so much... hehehe. Bren - i agree the visitation is higher in the central and eastern areas of sydney. So what do we do.... take an area already choking on its capacity for tourism (look at bondi on a hot day and find me a bit of sand to spread a towel on), and increase the draw card for it by adding another park, or pick an area that has a lower visitation rate, and increase its visitation by adding a commercially viable ATTRACTION... now thats not just "add a theme park" but an attraction - park, accomodation, water park, animal attraction, something unique to be a big draw card in itself... now this will - a) decrease the jobless rate in an area with a higher rate than the eastern suburbs B) promote tourism for cities and towns in the west who are starving for tourism c) lift the entire area, cosmetically d) release pressure on the other tourism hotspots around sydney e) promote industry in the area to support the attraction, thereby further decreasing the jobless rate f) promote residential construction in the area for the workers of the attraction, and the industrial area g) promote further business, in the guise of builders and labourers to build the residential properties h) promote commercial development - shopping centres, movie theatres and other smaller drawcards to the area, for the residents who live in the area, who work at the factories and the "attraction" and build the houses and work and live and play... i mean seriously... why choke an already overpopulated tourist destination when with a little brains and a few hours on Sim City, you can realise that building in an area that doesnt have the competition of other tourist hotspots, will mean YOU are why they come, YOU are why they stay, and nobody else is there to compete with you...

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and is willing to do a bit of lobbying to head honcho's in the political arena if we drop our wanting to save the wonderland site, and support his BUILD in BONDI idea..... back to the drawing board...
There is one thing that a major theme park needs - LAND. CHEAP LAND and Sydney aint got any going (unless the land is Government owned and handed to the developer on a plate in order to secure the theme park's future). So if youre looking for big theme parks in NSW then you're going to have to go regional, but stay within cooee of Sydney. Thats what Wonderland itself did in 1984.. however Sydney has moved 20km West since then. The best place for a new WL style park is going to be in the Southern Highlands somewhere, possibly Goulburn~ish, where 500 acres can still be had for less than $10m, and there are still good transport links to major centres. Zordmaker

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Zordy, I agree with you but i think goulburn is a bit tooooooo far. Possible Theme Park sites within the Sydney basin could include: DuralCastle Hill Areas - lord knows they need a better public transport system out there the Hawkesbury - Clarendon show grounds, the potential RAAF base closure (a rumor, but possible) would leave a gaping hole in the hawkesbury's economy, as well as its land. The Cumberland Plains - ADI site - yes, there are huge protests about it, but would the resident's action group prefer a residential metropolis, or a theme park where huge areas of bushland could be preserved? Mulgoa, Campbelltown, Holsworthy, Blacktown, the new proposed housing development in bringelly... these are just some of the areas WITHIN the sydney basin that have the room, and the need for a large enterprise such as a theme park, without needing to build RIGHT on the beach, or 2 hours drive from the southern suburbs.... OR the northern ones for that matter...

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Are we forgetting about Homebush Bay? It's the perfect location for a major theme park, very close to Sydney and is accessible by public transport in almost every way imaginable. I remember hearing about the government tried to push the development of a major theme park at Homebush but wasn't successful, does anyone have any more information on this?

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How about we all pester Jamberoo to expand? I know you all think im on drugs for suggesting it but the guy has heaps of space and its not that far from Sydney and is in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Any thoughts?

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i dont believe Jamberoo has the local population to substantiate any expansion of that scale. Having said that, running along the theme of if you build it they will come, i'd be interested to see jamberoo throw in a mega coaster that runs down the same mountain the toboggans run on... they do have the land, its just a matter of whether the area could sustain a park any larger than it is now...

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