Life Travel A look back at Australia’s forgotten theme parks
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A look back at Australia’s forgotten theme parks

Australia's forgotten theme parks hold unforgettable memories for visitors. Photo: The New Daily
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While few can forget the thrill of their first roller-coaster ride or twirling on a merry-go-round, the theme parks where these memories were forged are being increasingly forgotten.

Some amusement parks have managed to persist for decades, but most have sadly shut their doors,

The New Daily takes a look back at Australia’s most loved and forgotten theme parks.

Sydney

Wonderland Sydney

Wonderland Sydney, which was in Eastern Creek, opened in December 1985 with the aim of providing an alternative to Luna Park.

The park had three separate themed areas, including Hanna-Barbera Land, which featured rides and attractions based on characters such as Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and The Flintstones.

Wonderland Sydney had all the thrills. Photo: Facebook

The park’s flagship ride was The Bush Beast which was the largest wooden roller coaster in Australia at the time.

The park shut its doors in 2005 citing financial woes.

Paradise Gardens

Before Jurassic Park, Paradise Gardens operated during the 1970s alongside the Hawkesbury River at Cattai.

Paradise Gardens, Cattai. Photo: Flickr 

Its headline feature was a jungle boat cruise which allowed visitors to pass large concrete dinosaurs, with speakers set into the grass.

The site is now mostly occupied by Riverside Oaks golf.

Sega World

Sega World, which was on Sydney’s Darling Harbour, was a nod to the Sega gaming franchise, primarily Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sega World, Sydney. Photo: My Geek Culture

The park opened in 1997 and operated for four years.

Due to a lower-than-expected attendance and repeated financial losses, the park closed in November 2000.

Fox Studios Backlot 

The Fox Studios Backlot in Moore Park was also a much-loved treasure among film buffs.

The park opened in 1999 and featured a $26 million Titanic walk-through attraction based on James Cameron’s film.

Titanic: The Experience, Fox Studios, Sydney. Photo: Theme Park University

The park only operated for two years, with the reason given for its closure the loss in international tourism caused by 9/11.

Victoria

Wobbies World 

Wobbies World in Melbourne’s east opened in 1970 and closed in 1999.

It is now the site of the Forest Hill police station. 

The park, aimed primarily at younger children, featured a static Bell helicopter  plus a chopper-themed Whirliebird monorail, golf course, trampolines and several food and drink kiosks.

Leisureland Fair

Leisureland Fair was in Langwarrin, in Melbourne’s south-east, and operated from 1984 to 1992.

The park included a steel roller-coaster, waterslides and log flume. 

It is now a housing estate, with the only reference to it being a street called Leisureland Drive.

Whistle Stop Amusement Park

This amusement park in Frankston, opened its doors in 1966 and operated for almost 10 years. 

Whistle Stop Amusement Park, Frankston. Photo: Only Melbourne

The park featured a large lake with an island, steam train, go-karts and merry-go-round. 

Ashton’s Bacchus Marsh 

Before Werribee Zoo, visitors to Ashton’s Bacchus Marsh drove through a safari park where lions would latch their paws onto their cars.

The park opened in 1970 and closed by 1980, it was run by the Ashton family, of Ashton’s Circus fame.

Ashton’s Bacchus Marsh. Photo: Werribee Memories/Facebook

Bullen’s African Lion Safari in Rockbank also operated during this time and, much like Ashton’s, it had had lions, tigers, bears, elephants and giraffes.

Well-known circus family, the Bullens, also had other lion parks in NSW, Queensland and South Australia.

Both parks had at least two deaths as well as injuries which contributed to their eventual closure.

Casper’s World In Miniature 

Caspers World In Miniature in Stawell, in regional Victoria, was a large tourist fun park which opened in 1976.

It was famed for its pyramid which displayed sculptures made of human teeth.

A sculpture made from human teeth at Casper’s. Photo: Brad McNaughton/Medium

The creator of the park was reportedly a former dentist who had used the by-products from his old practice to make little dinosaurs and creatures out of molars and canines.

The park appears to have been abandoned since 2015.

South Australia

Dazzleland 

Dazzeland was a two-storey, indoor amusement park occupying the top floor of the Myer Centre in Rundle Mall, Adelaide.

The park opened in 1991 and closed in 1998. 

Its main attraction was a figure-eight roller-coaster called Jazz Junction, with its track running overhead along the fifth level.

Luna Park, Glenelg  

Luna Park, Glenelg, operated from 1930 until 1935. 

The park included the Big Dipper roller-coaster, mini golf, ice cream kiosk and a miniature railway. 

Luna Park, Glenelg. Photo: Reddit 

It was put into voluntary liquidation in 1934, with its rides dismantled and sent to Luna Park in Sydney.

Magic Mountain 

Water park Magic Mountain in Glenelg opened opened in 1982 and closed its doors in 2004.

The main attraction was its four water slides, particularly during the hot Adelaide summers.

At the time, the park had the largest water-slide setup in the southern hemisphere.

Queensland

Grundy’s

Grundy’s, on the Surfers Paradise beachfront, opened in 1981 and closed in 1993. 

Grundy’s, Surfers Paradise. Photo: Flickr 

It had famous waterslides that twisted across each other, and other rides such as dodgem cars, mini golf, a carousel, an alligator-themed roller- coaster and a video game arcade. 

Magic Mountain

Magic Mountain at Gold Coast’s Nobby’s Beach was built in 1962 and closed in 1991. 

After a tourism boom, the park changed owners, and a Magic Castle was built in 1976 which saw attendance dramatically increase.

Attractions included a waterslide, chairlift, double-decker carousel, plane ride and giant cargo nets.

Western Australia

Atlantis Marine Park

Atlantis Marine Park is an abandoned theme park in Two Rocks, Perth.

It was built in 1980 and closed after a decade of operating.

Atlantis Marine Park, Two Rocks. Photo: YouTube

The park featured dolphin shows, similar to Sea World at the time, and closed due to financial issues.

Luna Park, Scarborough Beach

Luna Park, Scarborough Beach opened in 1939 and closed after 33 years of operation. 

Luna Park, Scarborough. Photo: Luna Park Scarborough West Australia/Facebook

It had several attractions including the popular Gee-Wizz ride, flying boats, merry-go-rounds, shooting and archery galleries.

The park was demolished to make way for what is now the Luna Shopping Centre.

Tasmania

Serendipity Fun Park 

Serendipity Fun Park in Devonport opened in 1988, but closed only 16 months later, after facing financial problems.

The park had dodgem cars, a roller-coaster, an arcade, mini-golf, bumper boats and gravity-defying ride called The Scat. 

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