Land of Wonder #2

Part One

Wonderland - Ephemera #16
Murray Van’s concept park map that hung on the walls of the Greenroom of ‘Character House’ – 1985.
Wonderland - Ephemera #19
Front of the first produced Wonderland park map – 1985/86.
Wonderland - Ephemera #17
Back information of the first produced Wonderland park map – 1985/86.
Wonderland - Ephemera #18
Back information of the first produced Wonderland park map – 1985/86.

Wonderland - Ephemera #3
Flyer for function at ‘The Silos’ in Berry (South Coast), to raise funds for Miss Australia Quest – 1987.
Wonderland - Ephemera #2
South Coast Newspaper clipping of my Mum with ‘Yogi Bear’ – 1986 (printed in ’87).
Wonderland - Ephemera #1
South Coast Newspaper clipping of my Dad ‘Merlin’ & ‘Yogi’ with Rowena Knight & Rebecca McEwan at The Silos – 1987.

Wonderland - HB Characters #4
Scott Moon as ‘Scooby Doo’ in Hanna-Barbera Land – 1986.
Wonderland - HB Characters #5
Heike Klimaschka with ‘Snaggle-Puss’ infront of Character House with guests (Hanna-Barbera Land) – 1986.
Wonderland - HB Characters #6
Kid in Yellow pulling on costume tail! A common occurrence (along with stamping on feet).

Wonderland - Attractions #1
Balloon Seller in Medieval Faire – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #2
Snowy River Rampage in action! – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #3
Ampol Antique Autos – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #4
Ampol Antique Autos – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #5
Stockman’s Barbeque – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #6
The Buccaneer, home of Don Quixote & The Great Pirate Attack – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #7
‘Bounty’s Revenge’ notoriously up-side-down – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #8
In the foreground, a sign advertising ‘Nights of Fire’, Wonderland’s Laser & Fireworks show.
Wonderland - Attractions #9
Guests reaching the peak of Smith’s Crisp’s ‘Bush Beast’ – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #10
The old Mill Wheel in Medieval Faire – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #11
Yogi’s Puppet Story at Woolworths ‘Gum Tree Theatre’ – Hanna-Barbera Land, 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #12
‘Huckleberry Hound’s Merry-Go-Round’ – Hanna-Barbera Land, 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #13
My Mum at the enterance of the ‘Beastie’ – Hanna-Barbera Land, 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #14
‘Memory Market & Rainbow Gifts’ at Character House – Hanna-Barbera Land, 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #15
View of Hanna-Barbera Land from atop the ‘Beastie’ – 1986.
Wonderland - Attractions #16
The Rainbow enterance to Hanna-Barbera Land – 1986.

Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #1
Trent Travers as Juggler No.2 – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #2
Trent Travers as Juggler No.2, balancing Golf Clubs and Ball – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #3
Trent Travers as Juggler No.2, balancing Golf Clubs and Ball – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #4
Trent Travers as Juggler No.2, balancing Golf Clubs and Ball – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #5
Trent Travers as Juggler No.2, juggling Tennis Racquets – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #6
Rob Spence as Jester in Medieval Faire – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #7
Rob Spence as Jester in Medieval Faire – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #8
Damian Quinlan as Juggler in Red Hat. – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #9
Jester No.2 (someone might remember his name?) holding a Jester doll, in Medieval Faire – 1986.
Wonderland - Atmosphere Performers #10
Jester No.2 (someone might remember his name?) backstage in the Character House ‘Greenroom’ – 1986.

Wonderland - Theatre #1
‘Solid Gold’ Rock’n’Roll show, featuring John Bowles as The Nerd in The ‘Golden Nugget Theatre’ – 1986.
Wonderland - Theatre #2
‘Solid Gold’ Rock’n’Roll show, featuring John Bowles as The Nerd in The ‘Golden Nugget Theatre’ – 1986.
Wonderland - Theatre #3
‘Snaggle-Puss’ not exiting stage-left, in Hanna-Barbera Theatre (Johnson&Johnson) – 1986.
Wonderland - Theatre #4
‘Jabber Jaws’ singing for us, in Hanna-Barbera Theatre (Johnson&Johnson) – 1986.
Wonderland - Theatre #5
‘Huckleberry Hound’ dancing with Heike Klimaschka (Chaperone), in Hanna-Barbera Theatre (Johnson&Johnson) – 1986.
Wonderland - Theatre #6
‘Huckleberry Hound’ watching ‘Snaggle-Puss’ & ‘Yogi Bear’ dancing together on stage, in Hanna-Barbera Theatre (Johnson&Johnson) – 1986.
Wonderland - Theatre #7
‘Huckleberry Hound’, ‘Snaggle-Puss’ & ‘Yogi Bear’ in Hanna-Barbera Theatre (Johnson&Johnson) – 1986.
Wonderland - Theatre #8
‘Huckleberry Hound’, ‘Snaggle-Puss’, ‘Scooby Doo’ & ‘Yogi Bear’ dancing on stage, in Hanna-Barbera Theatre (Johnson&Johnson) – 1986.

Wonderland - Adventures #6
My Mum eating an ice-block next to the fountain in Medieval Faire – 1986.
Wonderland - Adventures #7
My Mum sitting next to the ‘Knight & Dragon’ Statue in Medieval Faire – 1986.
Wonderland - Adventures #8
My Mum with ‘Fred Flintstone’ in Hanna-Barbera Land – 1986.
Wonderland - Adventures #9
My Mum with all the costumes next to ‘Captain Caveman’, in the Dressing Room – Character House, 1986.
Wonderland - Adventures #10
My Mum holding the tongue of ‘Captain Caveman’, behind the gates at Character House – 1986.
Wonderland - Adventures #11
My Dad with Mum dressed as ‘Fred Flintstone’, in the Dressing Room at Character House – 1986.
Wonderland - Adventures #13
My Dad in the ‘Kelly Gang Cutouts’, outside ‘Ned Kelly’s Getaway’ in the Gold Rush – 1987.
Wonderland - Adventures #12
My Mum in the ‘Kelly Gang Cutouts’, outside ‘Ned Kelly’s Getaway’ in the Gold Rush – 1987.
Wonderland - Adventures #1
My Mum infront of ‘Merlin’s Notions and Potions’ in Medieval Faire – 1987.
Wonderland - Adventures #2
My Mum with ‘Jabber Jaws’ behind the staff gate (Character House) – 1987.
Wonderland - Adventures #3
My Mum with ‘Huckleberry Hound’ & ‘Merlin’ infront of ‘Boo Boo’s Balloon Race’ – Hanna-Barbera Land, 1987 (Winter Costume).
Wonderland - Adventures #4
My Mum & Dad with ‘Yogi Bear’ (Julia Marshall) in Hanna-Barbera Land – 1987.
Wonderland - Adventures #5
My Dad on a wooden horse outside the ‘Jousting Ring’ in Medieval Faire – 1987.

Please do sit back and relax to this 52 minute home video my Dad, Merlin the Magician, created with fun-love. It is a very special glimpse into life of one of the world’s greatest occupations – working at Australia’s Wonderland 1986.
The main contents are =
– Opening Day – TV News Report
– Davo the Magician’s Magic Paint AD
– Merlin the Magician’s Home Videos = Behind the scenes in Character House. A walk around parts of the park. Various Wonderland shows (the Golden Nugget and Pirate Show).
– And so MUCH more to enjoy!


I love the look of 80s home videos. I also love the look of the cameras themselves (interesting indeed). Dad’s box-like handheld camcorder also had a heavy “pack” part which hung slung around his shoulder, down by his side. Quite a heavy kit, simply for home video recording. I’m so glad that all this footage was able to survive the test of time (so far). The one thing we have lost, unfortunately, is a copy/recording of the Wonderland Pre-Opening TV Advertisement. Dad wore a pink jacket instead of Merlin’s costume, marching under the Hanna-Barbera Rainbow with all the characters. We think the footage was either recorded over, or just simply lost in time, in the grand pile of VHS cassettes. I hope that someone out there has a copy to share with us, someday! That would be beyond amazing!!!

By the end of 1987, the American management team went back to the United States, passing on everything to an Australian management. Also leaving along with the American management – the professionalism and artistic freedom. Most of the Atmospheric Performers chose not to re-apply.
I don’t know what happened to all of the performers, but I do know that ‘Merlin’ went on to live a normal life, with a regular job – also performing Magic in restaurants around Sydney. Rob Spence married a French girl, and moved to Europe – where he has built a career as a well-known comedian.
—-
I hope you have enjoyed, to some degree, these two special postings. It took a lot of time and effort to piece together these many memorable and personal pieces. Please do follow the current ‘Wonderland’ Group & Facebook Page for all future updates on the planned/upcoming Wonderland Park 2.0, and Wonderland Museum. It is very interesting to see all the possibilities developing over there – Vivat Wonderland!

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2 responses to “Land of Wonder #2

  1. Pingback: Land of Wonder #1 | HICKEY GUY·

  2. Hi Guy

    I have just stumbled onto your website and totally amazed to see all of your father’s photos…it really has brought back so many fond and wonderful memories.

    2015 marks the 30th anniversary since Australia’s Wonderland opened and we are attempting to connect with as many original employees as possible with the view of organising a reunion later in the year.

    Would you mind giving your father my contact details please…I would love to get in touch.
    Mobile: [PRIVATE] Removed (by me) for your protection.
    Email: [PRIVATE] Removed for your protection.

    Many thanks Guy, thank you again for collecting all these memories.
    Kind regards

    Paul
    Paul Venables

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