The history of Luna Park – it all began on a sunny Friday in St Kilda in 1912

On December 13th 1912, Mr Moon opened his giant mouth to St Kilda and thousands of people flocked into Melbourne’s Luna Park for the first time.

Since that day, St Kilda’s famous Luna Park, the oldest theme park in Australia, has had millions of visitors who have enjoyed some of the most iconic rides in Melbourne. Year after year our guests bring their families back to share memories and a day of fun at the most memorable amusement park in Melbourne.

With over 100 years of memories at our iconic St Kilda location, Luna Park is undoubtedly the most well known and loved of the theme parks Victoria has to offer. More than just some of the most exciting rides in Melbourne, Luna Park has seen many changes over a 100-year history, with highs, lows and of course many new rides installed throughout the decades.

A history of escaping to St Kilda

Long before Europeans appreciated the beauty and bounty that Euroe Yroke (St Kilda) had to offer, the Yalukit-Willam people of the Kulin Nation lived in the area for many thousands of years. While much of the evidence of these Indigenous lives has now been lost to time, an ancient Corroboree Red Gum tree where gatherings were held can still be seen in the midst of busy St Kilda Junction.

The first recorded mention of St Kilda by European settlers was by Charles Grimes, a colonial-surveyor, as he sailed into Melbourne from Sydney in 1802. However, it wasn’t until late in the 1830s that grazers began to settle in what was then known as Green Knoll. The area became known as ‘St Kilda’ when Charles La Trobe suggested renaming Green Knoll after a yacht anchored off the foreshore whilst visiting the area in 1842.

By the 1850s Melburnians could take advantage of regular transport to and from the rapidly developing settlement in St Kilda. With some of Melbourne’s wealthier families choosing to build stately homes in St Kilda during the 1860s, it quickly became Melbourne’s seaside holiday destination of choice with as many as 15 hotels dotted along the St Kilda foreshore.

For the next 30 years the development of the St Kilda area ebbed and flowed as the Victorian economy matured post the Gold Rush. While some of St Kilda’s wealthier families lost their fortunes what did not change was its popularity as a seaside holiday destination for Melbourne’s masses.

By the dawn of the 20th Century it was clear that St Kilda had cemented its place as the premier beachside location in Melbourne seeing the opening of Melbourne’s now iconic amusement park, Luna Park, in 1912. Revisit our past milestones below.

WATCH: Take a step back in time and view over 100 years of history, rides and laughs within Luna Park Melbourne, including incredible footage of the Park opening in St Kilda back in 1912.

Celebrating over 100 years of Carouselling!

Luna Park’s Carousel is the largest and most elaborate in the Southern Hemisphere.

At its time of manufacture, the amusement business was flourishing with hundreds of carousels operating
throughout Europe, England and America .

The Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) was renowned for Its large, decorative carousels and was one of the most important American manufacturers. The Luna Park Carousel was number 30 of a total of 80 carousels made by the company between 1903 and 1931. One of the company’s finest four-row machines, PTC#30 is one of only 25 PTC carousels still in operation and was the only one exported.

100 years of carousel at luna park melbourne st kilda

A History of Fun!

Scroll through our timeline to explore our glorious past

mark ogge centenary book at luna park melbourne st kilda

Order your own slice of Luna Park history

As a special tribute to our glorious past, you can now purchase a beautiful hard cover book detailing the colourful Park history. Read all about how Luna Park came to be Melbourne’s most recognizable icon – meet the Park creators, view the past rides and the amazing carnival acts that once appeared inside Mr Moon’s iconic mouth.

Order yours online or pop into our gift shop during Park opening hours to buy a copy in person. Limited stock available, get in quick so you don’t miss out!

mark ogge centenary book at luna park melbourne st kilda