Carousel, The | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Carousel, The

Item details

Name of item: Carousel, The
Other name/s: The Carousel, Darling Harbour Carousel
Type of item: Movable / Collection
Group/Collection: Recreation and Entertainment
Category: Funfair
Location: Lat: -33.8741872180 Long: 151.2011087960
Primary address: Concourse under Western Distributor, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St Andrew
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan

Boundary:

The SHR curtilage boundary is limited to the item itself and does not include the land it is located on or the structure it is housed within.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
Concourse under Western DistributorSydneySydneySt AndrewCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Place Management NSW Housing and Property Group DPIEState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Darling Harbour Carousel is a rare, complete and intact example of an Edwardian carousel, and is representative of a wider variety of similar machines. The Darling Harbour Carousel retains its steam engine and original workings, and demonstrates the methods of construction and operation that are associated with the "golden age" of carousels (1890s and 1920s). Its rich decorations are entertainingly attractive and form both an expression of traditional fairground architecture and an exposition of the popular idiom, appropriately demonstrating on-going adaptation to times and places.

The Darling Harbour Carousel has been part of Sydney's cultural life for most of the twentieth century, associated with many major cultural festivals and events, and has travelled through out much of NSW as a central entertainment of the important agricultural shows and fairs. It continues to entertain children and adults alike in its present location as part of a major tourist locality in Sydney. [source: Godden Mackay Heritage Consultants, April 1997)
Date significance updated: 21 Jun 01
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Physical description: The Darling Harbour Carousel is a portable, three row, suspended-gallopers carousel (fitted with thirty wooden horses and two replica vintage cars). It is driven by an electric motor but retains its complete steam boiler and engine intact and operable, through the boiler is currently out of commission. It is fitted with Gebruder Bruder pneumatic band organ. The carousel is permanently stationed within an octagonal pavilion which has steel framing, a glazed roof and metal roller shutter doors between each of the eight posts supporting the roof.

The CAROUSEL is founded on a four wheel centre truck made up from a timber wagon. The central, vertical drive shaft of the centre truck turns a set of twelve horizontal timber beams called 'swifts', radiating from the centre shaft. The timber floor platform is supported by a substructure of radial beams and intermediate struts. The horses are three abreast and occupy ten of twelve segments of the circular platform, the other two having replica vintage cars. The carousel is covered by a canvas dome canopy, and liberally festooned with lights.
The two POWER SYSTEMS to drive the Carousel are both mounted on the centre truck. One is the original steam boiler and engines, the other being the electric motor which is used at present.
The DECORATIVE PANELS and ARTWORK of the Carousel are: on the rounding boards around the outside of the roofing structure, on the twelve top centre shutters of the centre truck, on the portable bottom centre shutters which conceal the centre truck, on the banner boards hanging from the swifts between the rows of horses, around the floor and sides of the floor platform. Decoration includes timber panelling, mirrors, and painted scenes including: Venetian gondolas, Australian Aboriginals hunting kangaroos, American 'Indians' pursuing a western covered wagon, sea shells, various animals, nursery rhyme scenes, a lighthouse, tall ships and a Manly ferry steamship.
The BAND ORGAN is manufactured by Gebruder Bruder. It is a 52 key stop pipe organ with two drums, one of which has a cymbal. The organ is wholly contained within a varnished timber casing - elaborately decorated. The machine is pneumatically operated, controlled by a perforated paper roll. The organ is mounted on a four-wheel timber carriage, acquired from farm in NSW c1960 and converted for this purpose. [source: Godden Mackay Heritage Consultants, April 1997)
Date condition updated:27 Apr 01
Modifications and dates: Modification Dates
? built
1894 - imported to Australia
c1910 - system installed to enable horses to ‘gallop’
1920s - painted English scenes redone and replaced with Australian scenes
1938 - boiler reconstructed by ‘Carmichaels’ boiler works
1948 - crankshafts for galloping motion renewed
1951 - electric motor drive system fitted to Carousel
1950s - machine refurbished, much of timber replaced (platform), horses repaired, electric switch gear refurbished
? - two sleighs/chariots replaced by replica vintage cars
1963 - steam engine and boiler refurbished
1960s - Band Organ refurbished, painted scenes repaired / refurbished
1976 - wrought iron rods tying radial beams to centre shaft replaced with steel rods
1990-1993 - Carousel restored, and a special pavilion erected over it
Current use: Carousel
Former use: Caboriginal land, town lot, arousel

History

Historical notes: ABORIGINAL OCCUPATION
The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters (Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani).

Prior to European settlement the Millers Point area was part of the wider Cadigal territory, in which the clan fished, hunted and gathered shellfish from the nearby mudflats. Shellfish residue was deposited in middens, in the area known to the early Europeans as Cockle Bay; the middens were later utilised by the Europeans in lime kilns for building purposes. The Millers Point area was known to the Cadigal as Coodye, and Dawes Point as Tar-ra/Tarra (Sydney City Council, 2019).

Subject site:
The Darling Harbour Carousel was purchased and imported to Australia in 1894 by Thomas Kale. It was purchased second-hand and required extensive refurbishment, including the replacement of the planks between the horses with a continuous platform. At that time the horses had no rise and fall motion. Around 1910 Kale employed Herbert Thompson, an Australian engineer, to design and install a system to enable the horses to "gallop". Kale operated the carousel in 1912 outside the Customs House of Circular Quay as part of the official celebrations for the arrival of the American Naval "White" Fleet. In the 1920s Kale sold the Carousel to his son, David Kale.

Under David Cale's ownership the Carousel travelled around NSW and was a regular fixture at most major agricultural shows, fairs and special events. Many of the painted scenes which decorated the Carousel were redone during this era by a local artist, Paddy Murray. The Carousel appeared in the Royal Easter Show from the 1920s to 1939, and operated in various other locations and events. From 1941, the Carousel was lodged at Manly Amusement Pier, the wartime conditions restricting its operations. The Carousel recommenced operation after the end of World War II at Manly Pier.

In 1951 David Kale sold the Carousel to Porter and Smit, the operators of the Manly Amusement Pier. An electric motor drive system was fitted to the Carousel in 1951.

In 1957 the Carousel was purchased by David Kale's grandson, Allen. Allen Kale had assisted his grandfather with its operation in Sydney prior to WW2. The Carousel recommenced operations in 1957. The condition of the carousel had deteriorated in the period between World War II and 1951. Alan Kale refurbished various aspects of the carousel. The carousel remained fixed at Manly until the 1970s.

In 1986 the Carousel was purchased by the Darling Harbour Authority to be a permanent fixture in the Darling Harbour Authority area. It was stored for 2 years, then put into operation in 1988, until 1990, when Allen Kale was engaged to manage and oversee its restoration which continued until 1993. A special pavilion was built over the carousel in 1993 to protect it when not in operation (designed by architect Feiko Bouman). Allen Kale's son Bruce, a sign writer, was involved in the restoration of the paintings and paintwork of the carousel.

The Carousel has been in operation in Darling Harbour, during weekends and school holidays since 1996.
[source: Godden Mackay Heritage Consultants, April 1997)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of urban amenity-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of passive recreation-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Outdoor relief-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Enjoying Fairgrounds-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Darling Park Carousel is closely associated with the late Victorian - Edwardian era of country fairs and amusement parks; the period in which mechanical amusement devices were introduced into social recreational activities.

The development of fairgrounds and travelling shows has a range of historic associations relating to the impact of the industrial revolution and the accompanying social changes during the nineteenth century. Fairgrounds and travelling shows occupied, in their time, a position of much more importance than amusement parks have today, when there is a wide diversity of recreational activities and opportunities.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Carousel is a complete and integrated visual attraction, with a fine balance of different elements such as mirrors, lights, painted screens and painted embellishments. All the elements combine to create a single entity which is impressive both for the total aesthetic effect and the fine details.

The Darling Harbour Carousel demonstrates a high degree of aesthetic skill in the details of its decorations, and particularly in the carved timber elements such as the horses and centre shutters.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Carousel is a popular attraction within a heavily used tourist precinct in Sydney. Its continued high level of patronage is evidence of the interest and enjoyment that it continues to provide for the citizens of, and visitors to, the city.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The Carousel has the ability to demonstrate the workings of a steam-driven carousel as they were operated at the turn of the century.
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Darling Harbour Carousel is one of the very few traditional carousels surviving in the world which retains its original form and fittings, especially its steam propulsion unit, intact and in working order.

The Darling Harbour Carousel is believed to be the oldest known operating carousel in Australia.

The Darling Harbour Carousel has been operated by a single family for most of its life and as such, reflects the tradition of the carnival family that is a central aspect of the cultural environment that created such machines in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century.

The Darling Harbour Carousel provides an opportunity in NSW to experience a traditional amusement park "joy ride" on a permanent, daily basis. This experience is rare in NSW today, following the redevelopment of Luna Park.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Darling Harbour Carousel is a representative example of carousels manufactured in England in the 1890s. It is believed to be the oldest known operating carousel in Australia.

The Darling Harbour Carousel is a fine representation of the bright, attractive and rich decoration in the popular arts idiom applied to carousels. It demonstrates both traditional English decorations alongside a range of local adaptations of the English style.

The Darling Harbour Carousel demonstrates the principle characteristics of construction, materials, fittings and decoration associated with the peak period of carousel construction.
Integrity/Intactness: The Darling Harbour Carousel is a rare, complete and intact example of an Edwardian carousel, and is representative of a wider variety of similar machines. The Darling Harbour Carousel retains its steam engine and original workings, and demonstrates the methods of construction and operation that are associated with the "golden age" of carousels (1890s and 1920s).
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales do by this Order, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

2. grant the exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 that are described in the attached Schedule.

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0162028 Jun 02 1064987

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
SCA Register 1979-19981998 Sydney Cove Authority (SCA)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Carousel View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Carousel View detail
WrittenGodden Mackay Heritage Consultants1997Darling Harbour Carousel Heritage Assessment
WrittenGodden Mackay Heritage Consultants1987Darling Harbour Carousel Heritage Assessment
WrittenRichard Guyot1993"Swings and Roundabouts: All the Fun of the Fair"
WrittenRichard Guyot1993Swings and Roundabouts: All the Fun of the Fair
WrittenSavage Bros Ltd, St Nicholas Works, Kings Lynn, England1902Roundabouts - Illustrated catalogue
WrittenSavage Bros Ltd, St Nicholas Works, Kings Lynn, England1902Roundabouts - Illustrated catalogue

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez
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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage NSW
Database number: 5053339
File number: H00/00692


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