The Big Face - Luna Park, Sydney, Australia


The very first thing you see on reaching Luna Park on Sydney’s north shore is that of a very big painted face with its mouth in an open-mouthed smile.


It’s that very mouth that is used as the gateway into the park and gives visitors the illusion of being swallowed up by a giant. Reactions to this humungous façade are varied: from delight, to amazement, to fear and sometimes even outright terror.


But therein lies the fascination because the “Big Face” is a sort of guarantee that fun things are in store for those who dare to enter.


Danger and fun in amusement parks go hand in hand from thrilling rides such as roller coasters and Ferris Wheels down to the sedate yet fun carousels. The “Big Face” at Luna Park is the metaphor for these human ideas of fun.


Luna Park, Syndey, Australia


Although the Luna Park in Sydney is not the first nor is it the only one in existence in the world, this version of Luna Park is one of the best known amusement parks in the world.


The other Luna Parks are in Budapest, Melbourne, Coney Island, Tel-Aviv, Moscow, Obala, Rome, Seattle, Tehran and Berlin.

Some of these parks are no longer open to the public such as the very first one in Coney Island which operated for the last time in 1944.


“A Trip to the Moon” was a highly successful ride in 1901 during the Pan-American Exposition that was held at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.

Created by Frederick Thompson and Elmer Dundy, it was later changed to “Luna” in honor of Dundy’s sister, Luna Dundy.


The entire park was built on the site of a previous amusement park, the Sea Lion Park, and was called Luna Park.

This was to be the inspiration of several “Luna Parks” around the world.


The “Big Face” of Sydney’s Luna Park has undergone several “facelifts” throughout the years since it was first built in 1935.

The polyurethane version visitors see now (the image on the right) is the 8th “Big Face” built in 1994. It has taken on a more human and less stern “look” than its previous versions. The “Big Face” is an easily recognizable backdrop in several well-known films such as “The Punisher” starring

Dolph Lundgren, the Olsen Twins’ “Our Lips Are Sealed”, and several others.


It has even been featured in animated daytime shows such as some episodes of Hanna-Barbera’s “Scooby Doo”.
Whatever visitors may remember of their trip to Sydney’s Luna Park, the “Big Face” is definitely foremost in those memories.