Not sure if this is widely known but there is currently available a new book which focuses on Australian and New Zealand roller coasters. It is available from Sydney's Abbey book shop and you can purchase online. I have included a link for those who are interested.[urlhttp://www.abbeys.com.au/book/story-of-australian-roller-coasters-127-years-of-madness-sadness-scintillatin.do][/url]
This book is fascinating. It is the first I have seen that has focused on Australian and New Zealand coasters as a major topic ( although it does feature several from overseas) and it features some very rare early photos of coasters long forgotten. There are great pics from The Switchback Railway at Tamarama Beach, The Scenic Railway at Sydney's White City and also Robson's figure 8 which stood on the site of present day LPM. The articles and photos accompanying features on both Luna Parks are also rare and fantastic!! An interesting claim from the book was that the Wildcat, which was present at LPS from 1970 and was Australia's first all steel coaster, was purchased by the owners of the Lansvale group who owned Lansvale Hollywood Pleasure Gardens.Apparently , the ride still exists to this day in storage and their is some hope of it being re-erected in the future. It would be great if this piece of Luna Park history could re-emerge at LPS at some stage.
There are also some fascinating articles on some early New Zealand coasters, of which I never knew existed. The book is well written and the author is obviously a coaster afficiondo- so much that he belongs to the Australian Coaster Club ( I did not know that this existed). All in all a great read, the content is well researched and I found very little innacuracies. Well worth the effort of seeking it out.
I also acquired at the same time, the official Luna Park Melbourne Centenary book. This is only available from the park itself but is available on mail order if you phone the park. This is also well worth the effort as it contains many great historical photos and a huge amount of information about the early days of the park. What I found most interesting is the information regarding the Scenic Railway's historic trains. This comes from Brian Atkins, who is the park's official chief restoration consultant on the Scenic Railway. In the book, he explains that the Scenic Railway originally had 5 trains. They have managed to fully restore 3 trains and there are definitely enough parts to restore a 4th. Each train costs over $100,000 each to fully restore. Most importantly, Brian's workshop has managed to acquire a set of cylinders that are known as the "Barrels of Fun" In Australia, there were 3 sets of these Barrels that were made. One each for LPS in Coney Island, LPM for the Giggle Palace and one operated for a travelling showman named Kahle. Coney Island's set, as we all know, are still in existance, but the Giggle Palace's barrels were lost in the fire that engulfed the funhouse in 1981. However, LPM has acquired the original barrels from the Kahle family and hope to return them to the park in some form in the future. The book also indicates that the park has strong plans to re-introduce the Rotor back to the ride line-up, and very strong , fervent wishes to re-imagine the Giggle Palace and the River Caves in some state. There was no mention of acquiring any new coasters and the book does mention that the park is under strict height restrictions in regards to rides from the council. If you are fascinated by the history of LPM like me, then this book will be a welcome addition to your library!!
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