The building of Luna Park Cloudland 1939 Brisbane.

Cloudland Luna Park concept drawing 1939
The anticipated build and opening was held up (opening August 2nd1940) due to unexpected delays with excavation, but the intent remained fast.
Cloudland Ballroom a Tribute to the Architect’s  (Mr Adolphus Parry Fielder who passed away in Brisbane on November 10th 1982 aged 101) Ability.
The managing director (Mr. T. H. Eslick) announced today that Luna Park, Brisbane, would be opened on Friday night, July 19, at a gala ceremony, which will be followed by & grand ball. A portion of the proceeds of the function are to be distributed among various patriotic funds.
It seems a long time ago that Mr. Eslick first came to Brisbane and announced His proposal to build Luna’ Park. Although he had a worldwide
reputation, he was faced by a wall of doubt in the community of business people, of whom he expected the greatest help.
However, his acumen and organising initiative have surmounted all difficulties and proof of his achievement is seen in his work at Bowen Hills. What he said he would do, he has done.
In the past few months a transformation has come over the magnificent site at Bowen Hills on which the park is being built. The change has been going on at an elevation beyond the view of the passer-by and it is only by visiting the work that its extent can be comprehended.
Every contour of the rugged hilltop has been engineered to yield the best advantage from its natural contours, and as soon as each square foot of space becomes available in the scramble of building, it is landscaped and planted with shrubs and gay flowering subjects.
Where possible, native trees have been preserved, and in some instances these appear to be growing from within, the buildings themselves.
Crowning Pieces: We have been told of the Aipine and scenic railways and the score or so of special entertainment features which are to be incorporated in the amusement park, but crowning piece is the “Cloudland” ballroom. In the design and treatment of this, even In Its unfinished state. Is a fitting tribute to the architectural ability and engineering; efficiency of Mr.Eslick himself.
In the first instance, It is a ballroom the like of which has never been seen in Australia. It will accommodate 2,000 dancers, as well as 1,000 in the
alcoves and 2,000 spectators in the galleries.
Its motif is pure Renaissance, based on the Hall of Mirrors Versailles, but without the mirrors.
The ceiling: which carries a glorious crystal candelabra 30 feet long by 15 feet wide and weighing two tons, is supported on 24 chaste columns, each 24 feet high by two feet in diameter.
The floor is of kiln seasoned spotted gum boards only an inch wide and these are tongued, grooved and secretly nailed, all 17700 square feet of them. But the chief feature of the floor is that it is completely sprung on a cantilever principle invented by Mr. Eslick himself when in America.
Every square inch of it, even to the very borders, is resilient and the value of this to dancing is obvious.
The orchestra shell is a complete quarter-circle and therefore is acoustically perfect.
The illuminations for this and other features of the ballroom, although now only in preparation, promise to convert the exquisite decorative treatment into a veritable fairyland by night.
Promenades which surround the ballroom overlook the most magnificent panorama of city and distant ranges in Brisbane.
Classic Grecian Motif:
The grand entrance is dominated by a copper-domed rotunda rising to 85feet. It is supported on 18 Grecian columns 38 feet nigh, capped by a frieze depicting an ornamental dental course and an Impressive Grecian relief featuring dancing figures in a faithful classical motif.
Circular stairs will surround a central court having a classical fountain. The balustrades will be of copper and an old Roman seat of marble will enhance the old-world treatment.
The plastic details of both the entrance and the ballroom are eloquent of the craft of local artisans and it is to the credit of Mr. Eslick’s organising genius that the exquisite and delicate modelling has all been done on the job.
War Funds to Benefit:
Mr. Eslick said that in addition to the benefits which will go to patriotic funds following the official opening, four days will lie devoted throughout
the season lo charitable organisations headed first by the Governor (Sir Leslie Wilson) Archbishop Wand, Archbishop Duhig, and the Minister
for Health and Home Affairs.
On Saturday, July 20, Luna Park will function as a full-time amusement park, and on that day 5.000 children to whom Mr. Eslick has promised them, will – receive tickets admitting them to the park and every amusement device free-of-charge.
“I have been building amusement parks all over the world for the last 40 years,” said Mr. Eslick, “and I want to say I have never had an opportunity of building one on such a magnificent site, commanding so remarkable a panorama of views;”
This is borne out by many prominent men who on visiting the work have said it would be worth the price of admission to anyone simply to see the view.

Like so many treasures, as time goes by, photos fade as do memories, so whatever treasures you have, from whatever era, in whatever condition, please don’t let them be lost. You are the story of Australian Dance History.


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