Tim Longhurst's Blog

Aussies in the house: not Mickey Mouse!

March 29th, 2005 · No Comments

mickey.jpgSydney is known around the world for a few things, but in my travels, most people recognise Sydney by our iconic Opera House. That building has paid immeasurable dividends in terms of communicating to the world that this is a city of charm and beauty – but most of all, this is a
city prepared to be bold and take risks.

Today, our generation has a new opportunity to reflect our style and originality: the NSW State Government has ‘earmarked’ 27 square kilometres of Sydney land for a zoo, water park or amusement park. Who knows what we might put there?
Perhaps the new Sydney Park will introduce visitors to some of the great myths and legends of the world: perhaps through fantastic tours and exhibits, this park will help us connect with the six billion people with whom we currently share the planet? Or maybe it will be more locally focused: evoking stories of dreamtime, pioneering and rebellion.

If our collective imaginations are brought together: if our artistic flair is invested in this project, a compelling vision for the site will emerge. But if our community doesn’t have the confidence and gumption to create an exciting and dynamic vision for this land, an American entrepreneur’s vision may be the only choice our government has.

Instead of a dynamic and vibrant venue that reflects the diversity and uniqueness of our community, we may be stuck with a pay-per-play cement-and-metal kingdom, complete with a cartoon mouse.

Disney, one of the world’s largest indirect employers of sweatshop workers, has already established Disneyland (California), Disney World (Florida), Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris, and is about to open Hong Kong Disneyland. According to a spokeswoman, Disney hasn’t ruled Sydney out.

Having been to Disneyland as a child, I have to say that for me, the visit was a fun and memorable experience. What I’m suggesting here, is that Australians are capable of creating our own fun and memorable experiences – let’s not squander this opportunity by endorsing the establishment of an American theme park as our next great icon.


Expressions of interest were invited by the “Minister for Western Sydney” Diane Beamer two weeks ago, and within a week, they were closed. That means now, in all likelihood, one of around 20 parties who put there hand up before March 24 will go on to redevelop a 27 kilometre site in Sydney. Although the entrants have not been disclosed, it has
been assumed that Disney is a candidate in the process.

Ariticle describing the successful campaign against a Disney park in Virginia, USA  [Editor’s note: Unfortunately this resource is no longer available online and we have therefore removed the link]

SMH Article linking Disney to the Sydney site

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Category: Imagining Australia

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