back to top

Chris Watts / BuzzFeed

Here Are 21 Photos of Wonderland After The Theme Park Closed Its Doors To The Public

Childhood shattered.

Posted on

Western Sydney resident Chris Watts spent 19 years living a short drive from amusement park Wonderland. When it shut its doors to the public in April 2004, he wasn't quite ready to let go of his childhood.

On several occasions in the period between the park's closure and its demolition, he jumped its fence and roamed the abandoned acreage. During that time he shot photos showing the remains of what was once a special part of many people's childhoods.

Watts' obsession with the derelict site shows the impact Wonderland had on his formative years when it was alive and functioning. He was a regular visitor.

Watts, 42, and friends have built an online community to celebrate Wonderland, with the Wonderland History website and a Facebook group.

"I think most people in Western Sydney formed an attachment with the place," Watts told BuzzFeed. "If nothing else, travelling down the M4 and seeing The Bush Beast, Demon and Space Probe every time they drove by, it was part of the landscape."

After Wonderland shut Watts roamed the abandoned lot and took the liberty of entering sections of the park that were off-limits to visitors when it was open, including climbing to the top of The Beastie roller coaster structure.

"There is always something fascinating about abandoned places," Watts said. "It was a strange feeling to see a place I had loved so much reduced to such a decrepit level of decay and destruction."

"There was a kind of strange air of serenity ... after years and years of screams and shouts and the noise of all the rides and the music, the place was tranquil and relatively peaceful in the fading afternoon light."

Watts also chanced upon piles of documentation that explained how some rides operated. He found these particularly fascinating, and has even applied some of the technological principles to his own tech business.

Of all the rides on the 540 acre site, he has always been most fond of Wonderland's two wooden roller coasters, The Beastie and The Bush Beast. He was there to witness his childhood favourites being torn to the ground.

"I climbed up to the top of the lift hill [an upward sloping section of track] of The Beastie to take some photos and get a better idea of the devastation of the park," Watts said. "I guess it felt like I had a certain amount of closure by being able to climb The Beastie this one final time, it being the first roller-coaster I ever went on as a child."

It’s Rewind Week at BuzzFeed Oz! Go here for more ’90s and ’00s nostalgia.


Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss