It was announced as Sydney's own Coney Island and was named the largest open-air amusement park in the southern hemisphere.
Wonderland City was built over a pristine beach and bushland more than a century ago and covered eight hectares of water in Tamarama in the eastern suburbs of the city.
It is hard to imagine that the & # 39; Glamarama & # 39; today is dominated by a theme park with an airship, an ice rink and an elephant named Alice, but the reasons why it closed are all too well known.
Within just five years, this spectacular attraction by the sea had disappeared – a victim of protests by affluent residents, continuing security issues and claims of animal abuse.
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Wonderland City was built over pristine beach and bushland over a century ago and covered eight hectares of water in Tamarama in the eastern suburbs of the city. It is depicted in 1907
Alice the Elephant (photo) was one of the exotic animals that brought Sydneysiders to Wonderland. Complaints about alleged animal abuse hastened the final closure of the park
In just five years, Wonderland City had disappeared – a victim of protests by well-to-do residents, continuing security issues and claims of animal abuse. Tamarama is depicted as it is today
While Sculpture by the Sea – & # 39; the world's largest public exhibition – returns to the coastal walk from Bondi to Tamarama, we look back on what once brought the public to these shores.
Until 10 November this stretch of coast will be transformed into a 2 km long art installation with 100 sculptures by artists from all over the world.
Few who come to admire the show will realize that thousands of Sydneysiders have come together here to enjoy the simple pleasures of Katzenjammer Castle, Box Ball Alley and the Hall of Laughter.
Wonderland City has been cited as the first example of a curse that seems to hang over Sydney amusement parks, which are often better remembered because of their closures than openings.
His nominal successor, Australia & # 39; s Wonderland, opened in Eastern Creek in 1985 – again the largest theme park in the southern hemisphere – but closed in 2004.
Other once famous local attractions, including African Lion Safari in Warragamba (1968-1991), Old Sydney Town in Somersby (1975-2003) and El Caballo Blanco in Catherine Field (1972-2003) have not stood the test of time.
The original Wonderland was preceded at the same location by the Royal Aquarium and Pleasure Grounds, known as the Bondi Aquarium (photo), although it was actually not in that suburb
Bondi Aquarium opened in October 1897 and contained an ice rink, merry-go-rounds, shooting gallery, a Punch and Judy show and other attractions. It is depicted around 1891
A high-speed railway, a roller coaster that stretches from one end of the beach to the other, ran over the water at high tide. It was one of the most popular features of Wonderland City
The original Wonderland was preceded at the same location by the Royal Aquarium and Pleasure Grounds, known as the Bondi Aquarium, although it was actually not in that suburb.
Bondi Aquarium was opened in October 1897 and had an ice rink, merry-go-rounds, shooting gallery, a Punch and Judy show, a military band and dance in the great hall.
The way back, a roller coaster that stretches from one end of the beach to the other, ran over the water at high tide.
The aquarium showed stingrays, turtles, lobsters, catfish, bream, whiting, mullet, a wobbongong shark and a tiger shark. Seals shared a pond with a lonely penguin.
Fire destroyed the aquarium and the Grand Hall in July 1891, but both were rebuilt in September of the same year.
Daring performances, including established sword competitions, continued to attract interest and headliners from the Tivoli Theater also appeared regularly.
It is hard to imagine that the & # 39; Glamarama & # 39; today is dominated by a theme park with an airship (photo), an ice rink and an elephant named Alice, but the reasons why it closed are known
The original Bondi Aquarium showed stingrays, turtles, lobsters, catfish, bream, whiting, mullet, a wobbegong shark and a tiger shark. Seals shared a pond with a lonely penguin
Alexander the wire walker crossed from cliff to cliff and a captain George Drevar floated on a raft in the surf below.
Pain & # 39; s Grand Fireworks display exploded on Wednesday and concerts of sacred and classical music were organized every Sunday.
The public interest, however, decreased with the competition from the nearby Coogee Aquarium and the swimming pools on the site of what is now the Coogee pavilion.
Theatrical entrepreneur William Anderson saw an opportunity and bought the aquarium site and obtained a lease on most of the beach itself.
Anderson also insured a land lease in Tamarama Gully, then known as Tamarama Glen, for his ambitious project.
A 3.6 m stretch of sand measured from the high watermark was reserved for public use, but access caused problems between swimmers and the owner of the park.
Wonderland was promoted as equivalent to & # 39; those amusement sites … of the famous Coney Island, New York or White City, Chicago. & # 39; It opened in 1906 and was closed in 1911
Over the next three weeks, the stretch of coast from Bondi to Tamarama (photo) will be transformed into an art installation of 2 km long with 100 sculptures by artists from all over the world
Utilizing existing structures, Anderson modeled his new Wonderland City park on Coney Island in New York and opened it in December 1906.
Wonderland was promoted as equivalent to & # 39; those amusement sites … of the famous Coney Island, New York or White City, Chicago. & # 39;
Anderson claimed there were not enough trams in Sydney to transport the crowd … for the opening. & # 39;
The main entrance was a white wooden sign on Wonderland Avenue near Fletcher Street. Access was sixpence for adults and three for children, with all journeys costing an extra fee.
Sydney entertainment entrepreneur William Anderson was the brain behind Wonderland
Reportedly about 20,000 thrill seekers marveled at the natural beauty of Tamarama, illuminated by strings of electric light around a & # 39; fairy tale city & # 39; to create.
The most popular trek of Wonderland was the change route, moved from the original location above the beach to the back of Tamarama Park.
Other sights were an artificial lake, the merry-go-round of the double-decker, Haunted House and Helter Skelter.
There was a maze, a three-kilometer steam-powered miniature railway, wax figures, the Katzenjammer Castle fun house, the Hall of Laughter, the Box Ball Alley arcade game and the Swiss Chalet's alpine slide.
The Airem Scarem airship followed an electrical wire from cliff to cliff and a balloon would rise hundreds of meters into the air.
Other flavors were provided by a box tent set up on the ice rink, a circus ring, movie house, penny salon and exotic animals such as Alice the Elephant.
Japanese tea salons provided refreshments and the Kings Theater music room accommodated 1,000 visitors.
Wonderland & # 39; s attractions include an artificial lake, the double decker merry-go-round, Haunted House and Helter Skelter. There was a maze and a miniature railroad of three kilometers
This postcard from Wonderland City shows some of its attractions, including a wax-working, fun house Katzenjammer Castle, the Hall of Laughter and Box Ball Alley arcade game
At its peak, Wonderland had more than 160 employees and according to Waverley Library & # 39; a new standard for amusement parks in Australia. & # 39;
"Large crowds, estimated at 2,000 people, came each summer weekend, with 70 turnstiles at the entrance doing a hefty trade," the library explains.
Anderson was a perfect showman who loved shocking actions and novelty stunts, some of which may now seem tame.
He organized that a couple would marry in Wonderland and paraded them through the grounds on the back of Alice the Elephant.
He also hired a daredevil named Jack Lewis to skate down a slope through a ring of fire to land in a tank filled with sharks.
Anderson went too far when he installed a 2.4 meter high barbed wire fence along the beach.
This fence stretched along the cliff on the south side of the beach and over rocks and sand to the north.
At its peak, Wonderland City employed more than 160 people and, according to Waverley Library & # 39; a new standard for amusement parks in Australia & # 39 ;.
Anderson claimed that the gate was necessary to prevent tariff evasion, but it prevented local swimmers from accessing the water. Some of these local swimmers were influential business people.
Annoyed swimmers cut off the fence to gain access to the beach. Anderson would then repair the damage and call the police in a process that is repeated every weekend.
The swimmers finally brought their grievances to the New South Wales parliament and in 1907 the Lands minister gave an order to resume the disputed land to give free access to the beach of Tamarama Bay & # 39; forever.
This resolution put an end to the swimmers' complaints, but Anderson's reputation was damaged.
Further poor publicity followed with claims that animals in Wonderland were poorly housed and abused.
Large crowds estimated at 2,000 people came to Wonderland City each summer weekend, with 70 turnstiles at the entrance doing a lively trade, according to Waverley Library
Wonderland owner William Anderson tried to counter decreasing numbers of visitors by introducing famous entertainers and setting up more and more daring acts but the park lost money
Airem Scarem & # 39; s incidental disruptions in the air above the dangerous surf led to accusations that the ride was unsafe and the local population grew as opposed to the number of visitors entering their suburbs.
Anderson tried to counter decreasing numbers of visitors by introducing famous entertainers and setting up more and more daring acts, but the park never recovered.
Wonderland stumbled on until 1911 when Anderson finally gave up and closed the park. He would have lost around £ 15,000, the equivalent of several million dollars.
Some of the dissatisfied swimmers who had fought against Anderson's fence were among the first members to form the Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club.
Tamarama Beach, which is only about 100 meters long, was used to recreate Anzac Cove for the silent film from 1915 The Hero of the Dardanelles, which was released just three months after landing at Gallipoli.
Wonderland City is today commemorated by Wonderland Ave near Tamarama Park.
Some of the dissatisfied swimmers who had fought hard against William Anderson's beach fence were among the first members to form the Tamarama Surf Life Saving Club
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