Luna Park panels, clown faces, painted plywood; [Barton, Arthur]; [1950-1970]; 2...

From

North Sydney Heritage Centre, Stanton Library

Name/Title

Luna Park panels, clown faces, painted plywood

About this object

Panel, painted plywood, rectangular, with names of rides and fares for adults and children, with face of a clown in a blue conical hat with red pom-pom appearing from bottom left corner, and painted plywood panel cut out in shape of clown's face wearing orange bowler hat with blue spotted hatband.

Luna Park has been an iconic feature of North Sydney since opening in 1935. It was built on the site of the former Dorman Long workshops, used for the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Arthur Barton was the Park’s artist-in-residence from 1935 to 1970. Barton was responsible for the Coney Island murals, as well as many other artworks throughout the Park. His work is widely credited with giving the Park a uniquely Australian character. In the 1950s, he designed an entry 'face' to replace the earlier dour visages. Barton’s happy ‘Old King Cole’ face became the model for future entrances. His work drew upon Australian cartoonists such as Syd Nicholls and Stan Cross, as well as British artists Bruce Bairnsfather and Heath Robinson. Barton worked with a team of fairground artisans and technicians from 1935 to 1970 to maintain the original attractions and install new ones, such as Davy Jones Locker and the Rotor. Barton retired in 1970. In 1979, the Ghost Train ride caught fire, killing seven people. The Park was closed for two years while tenders were sought. In 1981 Luna Park (Holdings) vacated the site and auctioned the extant rides and fittings. Artists Martin Sharp and Peter Kingston, together with other supporters, formed the Friends of Luna Park to lobby the State Government and remind Sydneysiders of the significance of the Park. The Park was reopened in 1982 by Harbourside Amusements, but in 1988 was again closed for 'refurbishment'. Subsequent plans for a large scale commercial redevelopment prompted renewed opposition from the Friends of Luna Park and North Sydney Municipal Council. The State Government then passed the Luna Park Site Act in 1990 which aimed 'to return the site to the people of NSW'. Refurbishment began in 1992 with the restoration of Coney Island and the Crystal Palace and the introduction of new rides. The Park re-opened in 1995, but poor profitability forced it to close in 1996. In 1999, the State Government awarded the new tender to Metro Edgley, who submitted a development application in 2001 for use of the Park as a circus venue and convention centre. Luna Park reopened to the public on 4 April 2004, with a new 3000 capacity venue (the Big Top), onsite car park, restaurant and refurbished rides and facilities.

Maker

[Barton, Arthur]

Maker Role

Artist

Date Made

[1950-1970]

Place Made

Sydney, NSW, Australia

Medium and Materials

plywood

Subject and Association Description

Artworks

Collection

Luna Park collection

Object Type

Artworks

Object number

2014.42.4

Copyright Licence  

Attribution - Non-commercial (cc) Attribution - Non-commercial (cc)

Tags

Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.

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