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John Longhurst's Dreamworld Stories

47 posts in this topic

Thank you so much Roachie.

That is without a doubt the best post I've ever read in this forum, and I can't wait to see more of it!

Sounds like your passionate interest in the history of Dreamworld is similar to mine in Butlin's holiday resorts (UK). I can certainly relate to the thrill of talking with someone very close to that history. While I have never met Sir Billy Butlin himself (he died when I was only 6) I have chatted with several of his family and I also have links with several current and former senior Butlin's managers.

Whilst I don't get paid for this (other than in occasional free holidays), I have been fortunate enough to become an informal, and largely unacknowledged contributor to Butlin's. It is immensely rewarding just to know these people, and to play a small part in the current development of a company which played a huge part in making me who I am today!

Great work!

Edited by pushbutton

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17 minutes ago, pushbutton said:

Thank you so much Roachie.

That is without a doubt the best post I've ever read in this forum, and I can't wait to see more of it!

Sounds like your passionate interest in the history of Dreamworld is similar to mine in Butlin's holiday resorts (UK). I can certainly relate to the thrill of talking with someone very close to that history. While I have never met Sir Billy Butlin himself (he died when I was only 6) I have chatted with several of his family and I also have links with several current and former senior Butlin's managers.

Whilst I don't get paid for this (other than in occasional free holidays), I have been fortunate enough to become an informal, and largely unacknowledged contributor to Butlin's. It is immensely rewarding just to know these people, and to play a small part in the current development of a company which played a huge part in making me who I am today!

Great work!

Interesting you mention that - I did a fair chunk of research with @Richard (and by research I mean we were both going through Pinterest & RCDB) trying to figure out where the first Mine Ride came from as the original designer in America (B A Schiff) sold the plans to make it to none other than Butlins. (See here - https://rcdb.com/7452.htm) I just found out recently however that the one we originally got at Dreamworld was indeed from America (apparently the Oregon Pine only comes from one place).

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1 minute ago, Roachie said:

Interesting you mention that - I did a fair chunk of research with @Richard (and by research I mean we were both going through Pinterest & RCDB) trying to figure out where the first Mine Ride came from as the original designer in America (B A Schiff) sold the plans to make it to none other than Butlins. (See here - https://rcdb.com/7452.htm) I just found out recently however that the one we originally got at Dreamworld was indeed from America (apparently the Oregon Pine only comes from one place).

and there I was thinking maybe we had a piece of a Butlin funfair here until recently! Oh well!

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Haven't yet read part 2, but wanted to add my encouragement for well-written and in-depth coverage/journalism.  Upon reflection on part 1 I wonder in my head whether perhaps you'd written yourself into the story a little more than may have been necessary, but at the same time I acknowledge it was on your own blog (rather than OurWorlds where that would have been a bit more out of place), and it set up some context to how you'd gotten there.

As a fellow professional I trust you won't read that as criticism for the sake of it, or even negatively (I wouldn't bother providing a critique if it wasn't worthy of it!).  Just some uninformed feedback.

...and now having read part two consider my comments about writing yourself into it completely balanced out.  Well done.  Read it from start to end and very much enjoyed it.

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1 hour ago, webslave said:

Haven't yet read part 2, but wanted to add my encouragement for well-written and in-depth coverage/journalism.  Upon reflection on part 1 I wonder in my head whether perhaps you'd written yourself into the story a little more than may have been necessary, but at the same time I acknowledge it was on your own blog (rather than OurWorlds where that would have been a bit more out of place), and it set up some context to how you'd gotten there.

As a fellow professional I trust you won't read that as criticism for the sake of it, or even negatively (I wouldn't bother providing a critique if it wasn't worthy of it!).  Just some uninformed feedback.

...and now having read part two consider my comments about writing yourself into it completely balanced out.  Well done.  Read it from start to end and very much enjoyed it.

Not at all, really great feedback, it's re-assuring to know you reached the same ultimate conclusion I did in regards to the narrative - had I approached it as a fact-finding mission for Parkz/OurWorlds I would've made it far more impartial and clear-cut, but I think putting it on my personal blog and it being in many ways something quite close for me I figured i'd tell it the way I wanted to, which I think was important for initially setting up why I did it in the first place. So yeah, great to hear you enjoyed it, i'm honestly really glad folks are getting something out of it - from what i've seen I think  it's really hitting home for a lot of people who grew up with place.

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@Roachie another great read and it is really interesting reading about how much of an inspiration Disneyland was and how its ideas were implemented into DW. And the story behind the Thunderbolt, wow what a story that is. Can't wait for the rest of his story. And also, they have both been really well written.

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42 minutes ago, themagician said:

@Roachie another great read and it is really interesting reading about how much of an inspiration Disneyland was and how its ideas were implemented into DW. And the story behind the Thunderbolt, wow what a story that is. Can't wait for the rest of his story. And also, they have both been really well written.

Cheers for the kind words! It's not in the stories yet, but fun fact - contrary to popular belief, Disney had no involvement in development of the park.

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Absolutely awesome read, I enjoyed it a lot. It's so obvious how much work and passion you've put into this. Just a quick question, if there are any interesting stories that don't quite make the cut for a blog post, would you be able to post them here on Parkz? 

Edited by Wil_i_am_not

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19 minutes ago, Wil_i_am_not said:

Absolutely awesome read, I enjoyed it a lot. It's so obvious how much work and passion you've put into this. Just a quick question, if there are any interesting stories that don't quite make the cut for a blog post, would you be able to post them here on Parkz? 

For sure - at this stage i'm going to let these two circulate for the next several days and then go to work on the next part. Given how many ex opening day employees have been in touch with me after I put these out, i've come up with some new ideas on how to add to this series that go beyond John's original stories.

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1 hour ago, iwerks said:

Great stories - he sounds quite the character. Did he talk about getting the Baldwin and how the Australian Koala Show came about? Those animatronics reminded me so much of the Country Bear Jamboree.

We had chatted about both but it wasn't recorded. He still absolutely loves those steam trains.

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On 30/03/2018 at 3:19 PM, themagician said:

If you are going to discuss this in a future article you don’t have to answer this, but was the Koala Show inspired by Disney attractions and it’s use of animatronics and story telling?

I'm not sure of that, i'll ask him next time I see him. Disney did come out to see the animatronic show.

On 30/03/2018 at 5:44 PM, Redboost said:

Fantastically written, its clear to see you have a genuine passion for Dreamworld and its history. To think, Dreamworld could have been a Sydney fixture if we actually had the land available to him to buy at the time...... 

If only there was land ten miles out. :P

On 30/03/2018 at 6:44 PM, Glubbo said:

Also, we have Hollywood House put to bed. Thanks for that.

You're welcome. Chatting to a couple of other fitters and engineers of that period, apparently some of the wood that wasn't completely ruined wound up in what is/was the Big Brother Cafe.

So, based off part one and two, what else would everyone like to ask John and any of the original engineering team? Feel free to add your thoughts below and i'll ask the best ones on your behalf. :) 

Edited by Roachie
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  • Would he ever consider buying it back and restoring it to it's former glory?
  • Given his motorsport connections, how does he feel about Brock's Garage?

I get the feeling that discussions regarding TRRR are to be avoided to ensure nothing is taken up by media considering it's currency?

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