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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

16 October 2001

Rare Band Organ to be Returned to Luna Park Carousel


Luna Park's famed "War and Peace" themed Carousel in St Kilda will have its rare Limonaire Freres band organ returned after extensive restoration work.

Federal Environment Minister Robert Hill today announced $91,340 Commonwealth funding for the band organ to be repaired and returned to the precious Carousel.

"The reuniting of the organ with Luna Park's magnificent Carousel will complete a decade-long campaign to restore this internationally significant example of fairground art," Senator Hill said.

"The St Kilda fairground is Australia's first Luna Park, it opened in 1912 - the year after the original Luna Park at Coney Island, New York, burned down.

"Since then Luna Park St Kilda has undergone many changes but it was during a major upgrade in 1923-1924 that the beautiful themed Carousel - complete with Limonaire Freres 66-key Orcestrophone - arrived."

The Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel was originally ordered from New York for the short-lived White City amusement park in Sydney, then sold and shipped to Luna Park St Kilda.

"The lessees of Luna Park - BCR Financial Services - have contributed a significant amount of time and money to conserve and restore the carousel over the past two years. The organ, however, has been off-site for many years after suffering from water damage and insect infestation, and I believe was presumed beyond repair," Senator Hill said.

"This funding means vital work can now restore the band organ to its former glory and it can then be returned to the Carousel."

The funding is part of $3.5 million for 45 projects nationally under the Commonwealth Government's Cultural Heritage Projects Program.

Work on the organ will include:

Rebuilding the organs pneumatics - valves and pouches, replacing all leathers and pneumatic cloths using traditional materials;
Chassis to be pulled down and rebuilt to original specifications, replacing timber access panels damaged by water and insect infestation, new roof and frames, adding brackets to mount the drums and cymbals and a new shoe for the book music operations;
Pipework requires extensive repairs, including the replacement of lost caps, tuning slides and stoppers.
Percussions replaced with replica Limonaire brass drums and cymbals;
Winding system to be replaced with new feeders, reservoir, crank, flywheel and electric motor;
Some book music is damaged and needs to be copied.

"The Carousel and its rare Limonaire Freres band organ is an icon in St Kilda and will attract much interest once it is fully restored," Senator Hill said.

Funding comes through the Commonwealth's Cultural Heritage Projects Program to provide financial assistance for conservation of places of national significance.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

Media Contact:
Belinda Huppatz 0419 258364

Commonwealth of Australia