Most notes from: Heritage Branch of the NSW Government
The carousel was imported to Australia in 1894 by Thomas Kale and until 1987 was owned and operated by the Kale family at country agricultural shows around NSW. The carousel was purchased by the NSW Government and installed at Darling Harbour for its opening in 1988. It is listed on the State Heritage Register of New South Wales. The carousel is thought to be the second oldest surviving carousel in Australia (after that in Melbourne Zoo built in 1886.
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 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.
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