Luna madness….

St Kilda's Luna Park opened on Friday 13th December 1912, and to celebrate its centenary Port Phillip Council's monthly promotional magazine (the one with the too-cute name of 'Divercity') has a two page not-very-good article in the current issue about Luna Park.

What the article totally ignores is the fact that Luna Park was only saved by citizen action.  If it weren't for The Friends of Luna Park' back in the early 1990s there might not be anything to celebrate now. They managed to get the Park's heritage officially recognized and protected so the place wasn't just run into the ground, which is where it was heading at the time.  Thanks to The Friends working with the previous lessee, the carousel was beautifully restored, a brilliant fairground colour scheme was created for the entrance face and towers and the Ghost Train and the Spider rides both got great makeovers.

Transport magnate and developer Lindsay Fox bought the lease in 2005, and announced on ABC radio at the time that he intended to restore significant early structures such as The Giggle Palace, the River Caves and the Rotor, but nothing much has happened since.

Fox bought the Luna Park lease at the same time that Expressions of Interest for the Triangle site were being sought and it is under-stood that he lodged an unsuccessful proposal for the Triangle.

 The terms of the lease for Luna Park apparently require the preparation of a Development Plan and then its implementation, but none of this has happened so something has clearly gone very wrong in recent years.  It's only been the prompt actions of local citizen Julia Murray and her colleagues inTheFriends of Luna Parkthat Luna Park has been saved and partly restored, and now there is a stalemate. Fortunately The Friends are still actively representing out interests.

 I wasn't living in St Kilda then but there is absolutely no mention of any of this important and ongoing history in the Diversity article.  Jolly good luck to The Friends of Luna Park, the battle is ongoing and the full story needs be told in detail as an inspiration to those coming after us.  I understand they are about to post a history 'timeline' of significant lease transfers, heritage listings, and their involvement on their Facebook page so we can all appreciate the history of this ongoing struggle; I'm looking forward to reading it! Plus ca change……

Don Gazzard
December 2012