Old Sydney Town - Somersby, NSW, Australia
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Throsbyonchurch
S 33° 25.171 E 151° 16.794
56H E 340070 N 6300882
Quick Description: A small open-air museum and theme park which operated from 1975 until 2003
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Date Posted: 11/20/2015 4:16:48 AM
Waymark Code: WMQ00R
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Marine Biologist
Views: 6

Long Description:
Old Sydney Town was a small open-air museum and theme park which operated from 1975 until 2003. Once a living tribute to the early years of Sydney's colonial settlement in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the town is now used as a location for film and television production.

Old Sydney Town was officially opened on Australia Day 1975, by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. It was developed by architect Frank Fox with the help of the Federal Government and the Bank of NSW.

Noted historian and distinguished heritage architect Robert Irving was the Research Director at Old Sydney Town for several years from the establishment of the project, when Frank Fox was the owner and entrepreneur and before anything new was erected. At Fox’s request, gathered a research staff of four people to prepare the documentation for the buildings to be erected. The project was focused on the pre-Macquarie period. Its overall control was initially in the hands of Fox and the Bank of NSW.

When Robert Irving was Year Master of the first year of the architecture course, it was arranged that the first year students should erect the very first buildings at Old Sydney Town as a major component of their first year studies. All 130 students, divided into 13 groups, carried out historical research for each one of their chosen buildings, made scale models, calculated the required materials and prepared ordering lists, in the process learning the simple trades as necessary for each building at the Randwick workshop of the UNSW. Then afterwards they spent two weeks camping on the site and building each structure. A dozen members of staff lived there with Robert Irving for this time too as supervisors. Frank Fox arranged accommodation and catering as well as obtaining and delivering the materials. In that fortnight we built and mostly finished the thirteen buildings, learning to lay bricks, wattle-and-daub, shingles, tiles, thatch and other primitive materials just as the convicts were known to have used. Perhaps the most interesting to be erected was Bennelong’s Hut, the original having been the first privately occupied brick building erected in Sydney. Workmen at the site afterwards finished off what the students had been unable to complete. The whole exercise was a very successful and memorable learning exercise for the first year students (and for the staff).

The research team were tasked to produce building not only documentation for the continuing building program, but also documentation of landscaping, decoration, furnishing, costume, food, activities and such like for the attraction. A building campaign began, under the direction of Frank Fox and his sons and the other staff. The Projects completed included what was called Heritage Hall (The entrance and reception complex) and an increasingly large set of buildings including the first pub and restaurant. Some, such as the gaol and the church, were never finished. The windmill, which Robert Irving personally researched, was eventually almost completed but was never opened.

The Wran state government took over the federal investment shortly after the Fraser government took power at the end of 1975. The Park was leased to a private company, Warwick Amusements, who under the terms of the lease eventually purchased it from the State Government and later took a decision to close down this important reconstruction of colonial Sydney Town

In 1994/95 the park was used in the second season of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers for the three-part episode Return Of The Green Ranger as colonial Angel Grove. ABC also filmed an important documentary resource for schools on the site.

When the park was closed in 2003, the commercial operators blamed the closure partly on what they called the "instant gratification" generation that demands computer games and thrill-rides, rather than a leisurely stroll through history.

Since the park closed to the public it has been let for movie shoots.

In February 2012 residents of the Central Coast banded together and formed a committee to re-open the park and several Facebook pages were started.

In February 2013 the Daily Telegraph reported that the family of Frank Fox (Michael and Peter Fox) were in negotiations with the current lease holders about reviving the town. However, on 20 February 2014, fire claimed Heritage Hall (the entrance and reception complex), on site and a significant part of the artifacts and documentation stored therein were lost.

Attractions
The Red Coats in action
The Town was set out according to James Meehan's map of Sydney in 1803 and consisted of over 30 authentically reconstructed buildings. This reconstruction of 1803's Sydney closed exactly 200 years later.

"Sydney Cove" - a recreation of Sydney Harbour
Soldiers on parade.
Thundering cannons.
Pistol and saber duels
Convict rebellion.
Magistrate's Court.
Convict punishment
Bullock Rides, Horse-drawn wagons
Craft stores
Kiosk, Tea Shop, Barbecue Facilities

During its lifetime, the park had 6 million visitors.

--Source (visit link)
Date Park Opened: 1/26/1975

Date Park Closed: 1/3/2003

Address:
Pacific Highway
Somersby, NSW Australia
0000


Current Use or Function:
Old Sydney Town is no longer operating as a theme park. Although closed to the general public, we are still lending our experience and offering our professional services for movie shoots. Our location, surroundings and buildings offer great opportunities and the perfect movie set. Also available are limited props, period pieces and furniture.


Is the park still there?: No

If not, what is in its place now?:
Old Sydney Town is no longer operating as a theme park. Although closed to the general public, we are still lending our experience and offering our professional services for movie shoots. Our location, surroundings and buildings offer great opportunities and the perfect movie set. Also available are limited props, period pieces and furniture.


Visit Instructions:
You must post at least one original picture at the posted coords to post a visit log for this waymark. Extra points if you are in the spirit of the park (i.e., in costume, etc.).
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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bella at waggy visited Old Sydney Town - Somersby, NSW, Australia 10/3/2017 bella at waggy visited it
Grahame Cookie visited Old Sydney Town - Somersby, NSW, Australia 1/2/2017 Grahame Cookie visited it
Throsbyonchurch visited Old Sydney Town - Somersby, NSW, Australia 4/1/2016 Throsbyonchurch visited it

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