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Southern Star dimming

In 2008 Melbourne's skyline saw the building-up of a large Ferris Wheel in the re-vamped Docklands. The Southern Star was gleefully nicknamed the Melbourne Eye (likening the Antipodean to its London sibling) and, as manufactured tourist attractions went, it served as the ideal centrepiece for a new shopping centre.

For just under thirty bucks, Melburnians would find themselves (according to the marketing material) 'rising gently to 120 metres in one of 21 air-conditioned cabins' for a half-hour ride. Southern Star opened in late-2009 amid excited projections of over 30,000 tourists visiting a week. It even promised views as far as Geelong.
But early in 2009 a heatwave warped the big wheel and it was quickly shut down. Opened for just over seven weeks, it seemed that the designs couldn't take the heat and it seemed better to be safe than sorry. The $100m project has gone further into the red as the wheel needs to be repaired elsewhere and looks like it won't be up again for at least another year. Its slow disassembly has only magnified the white elephant, as piece by painful piece it's being taken down.

Luckily there's another drawcard planned for the area with the construction of the National Ice Sports Centre that is a relative bargain at only $58m. It's sure to endure summer's rising mercury much better than the wheel which resembles a slowly dying giant Pac Man over Western Melbourne.


  1. Hang on. Heat wave in early 2010? What year are we in? Are you prophesizing?

  2. That second photo is a lovely image. Did you take it?

    The story of our own southern-hemisphere "Eye" seems so typically Australian, but I couldn't say why. Perhaps it reminds me of the old cultural cringe, the way in which we seem doomed to repeat the rest of the word's mistakes, just time-shifted half a year. (And don't get me started on the frightful experiments in education that we keep importing!)

  3. Anon, good point on my Nostradamusing. Have corrected and will post with less haste from hereon.

  4. Parlance, yep both photos mine as a result of a cycle around the Docklands doing some food review scouting.
    The six months behind the rest of the world thing is funny isn't it? Especially when it seems like our envirnoment puts different tests on enormous wheels.


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