From the collection: Ghost Train model

In this small timber working model, Peter Kingston re-created the Ghost Train ride from Sydney’s Luna Park.

Kingston had enjoyed the Ghost Train as a child; years later, as an artist working at the funfair, he admired the imaginative and artistic entrances to the old rides. The facade of the original Ghost Train was created by Rupert Browne, a scenic artist from Melbourne who was brought to Sydney to produce some of the artwork for the opening of Luna Park in 1935.

The Ghost Train was one of the funfair’s most popular rides. Punters sat in small cars shaped like train engines and were transported through a disorientating pitch-black space where they were assailed by terror-inducing sights and sounds.

In 1979, a fire in the Ghost Train killed seven people, and the park was closed for three years. Kingston was deeply affected by the tragedy and this model was the first time that he included the Ghost Train in his art.

In creating his Ghost Train ‘winding box’, Kingston imagined a night when characters from the ride come out to play. Skeletons operate ‘Jittery Junction’ station, while, with a turn of a handle, devils and witches go for endless rides.

The Ghost Train model is currently on display at the Museum of Sydney, open daily 10am–5pm.

This story originally appeared in Unlocked: The Sydney Living Museums’ Gazette, our quarterly members’ magazine.

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