Big Dipper (Luna Park Sydney)

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For the steel roller coaster operating at Luna Park from 1995 to 2001, see Cyclone (Dreamworld).
Big Dipper
Big Dipper Hollywood Hotel.jpg
Performers from the Hollywood Hotel revue riding the Big Dipper in 1935
Luna Park Sydney
Coordinates 33°50′53.60″S 151°12′35.90″E / 33.8482222°S 151.2099722°E / -33.8482222; 151.2099722Coordinates: 33°50′53.60″S 151°12′35.90″E / 33.8482222°S 151.2099722°E / -33.8482222; 151.2099722
Status Demolished in 1981
Opening date 1930 (Luna Park Glenelg)
1935 (Luna Park Sydney)
General statistics
Type Wood
Track layout Wood
Lift/launch system Chain
Height 52 ft (16 m)
Length 2,623 ft (799 m)
Speed 58 mph (93 km/h)
Inversions None
Duration 3 min (approx)
Max vertical angle 45°
Big Dipper at RCDB
Pictures of Big Dipper at RCDB

The Big Dipper was a wooden roller coaster operating at Luna Park Sydney from 1935 until 1979. It was demolished in 1981. First constructed in 1930 to an American design, the wooden Big Dipper roller coaster was a mainstay of Luna Park Glenelg during its four years of operation. The ride was dismantled and shipped to Sydney when the Glenelg park went into voluntary liquidation in 1934, and became the biggest attraction of the newly opened Luna Park Milsons Point (which was later renamed Luna Park Sydney).

The ride was 800 metres (2,600 ft) long, lasted three minutes, could reach speeds of 84 kilometres per hour (52 mph), and when all three roller coaster trains were operating, could carry 72 people.

The Big Dipper remained popular throughout its operating life. The coaster became inactive when Luna Park was closed following the 1979 Sydney Ghost Train fire, and was demolished and burned, along with most of the 'old' Luna Park, when Australian Amusements Associates took over the site on 3 June 1981. Two of the nine roller coaster cars were purchased at the auction before the demolition; one is on display within Luna Park today, while the other is part of the Powerhouse Museum collection.[1]


On 26 April 1946, a 33-year-old man from New Caledonia was killed on the ride.[2] He disobeyed safety instructions by sitting on the edge of a train car, and was thrown from the ride on one of the corners and into a support pole.[2]

On 16 April 1979, 13 people were injured on the Big Dipper.[3] A steel runner had come loose, halting one of the three rollercoaster trains.[3] The following train rammed the stationary one, causing the injuries.[3]


Main article: Cyclone (Dreamworld)

In 1994, a steel roller coaster was installed at Luna Park, and was given the Big Dipper name. Legal action against the new roller coaster led to significant restrictions in its operational availability, contributed to the 1996 closure of Luna Park, and was sold to Dreamworld in 2001, where it currently operates as Cyclone.


  • Marshall, Sam (2005). Luna Park - Just for fun (2nd ed.). Sydney, Australia: Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd. ISBN 0-646-44807-2. 
  • Historical information boards located at Luna Park Sydney
  1. ^ "99/3/1 Carriage, roller coaster, Big Dipper...". Powerhouse Museum Collection Search. Powerhouse Museum. Archived from the original on 15 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  2. ^ a b Marshall, Luna Park, p. 82
  3. ^ a b c Marshall, Luna Park, pp. 108-9

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