When I was a kid, I was desperate to go to Gumbuya Park. DESPERATE. This was partly due to the magically effective TV ads, with the jingle that went “Gumbuya Park! Where the City meets the Country! Get ready for GOO-OOD TIMES with all the famillleeeeeeee!” It was also due to the overwhelming sense that it just wasn’t the sort of place that mum and dad would take us to. Cruelly, we had to drive past the huge plaster pheasant multiple times a year on the way down to visit our grandparents.
There was also Wobbies World, a place I didn’t get to go to before it shut down. I’ll never get to experience it, but I know that until the day I die I’ll be able to recall the seductive images of the anchored helicopter that rose 3m into the air, and the acidic feeling of disgruntlery deep in my stomach that I’ll never get to ride on the little train that pootled around the World. THANKS MUM AND DAD, YOU ARSEHOLES.
There is, however, a chance that I’ll get to go to Gumbuya Park one day. It’s still in operation and one of these days I’m gonna fulfill the dream. Maybe 2012 is the year we take a very expensive cross-sea voyage to that hallowed spot off the South Eastern Freeway and I at last get my GOO-OOD TIME with all the famillleeeeeeee.
You can see Gumbuya Park provokes an unbalanced response in me, and it seems I’m not the only one. In October, this heinous atrocity was committed:
Vandals blow up Gumbuya Park bird
Vandals used explosives to blow up the famous 25-metre statue of a golden pheasant outside Gumbuya Park east of Melbourne yesterday, police say.
The explosion caused about $50,000 damage to the large concrete bird, made famous in television advertisements for the theme park in Tynong in the 1980s and 90s.
A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the vandals were believed to have broken into the Princes Highway venue about 2am yesterday.
“Once inside, it’s believed the bandits used some sort of explosive device to blow up the 25 metre statue, causing extensive damage to its rear end,” the spokeswoman said.
“The offenders then fled the scene leaving behind approximately $50,000 of damage.”
The Arson Squad is at the theme park and is yet to determine the cause of the explosion.
Originally a pheasant farm, Gumbuya Park was converted into a small theme park in 1978.
It features a toboggan slide, water slides, paddle boats and mini cars, as well as native wildlife including, kangaroos, wallabies and birds.
Police urged anyone with information about the explosion to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit http://www.crimestoppers.com.au.
On my recent trip home (of which more later), my sister and I had cause to drive down the South Eastern and you can bet we stopped at the Gumbuya Park gates, firstly to mournfully lament our childhood loss in never passing through said gates, but secondly to inspect the damage to the pheasant’s arse. It was a sobering moment on our roadtrip.
The police have since caught the perpetrator, and a few months have passed, so I was surprised they haven’t fixed it by now. SO degrading for him/her/it (impossible to establish gender with undercarriage blown away). When I remarked upon this on Facebook, someone mentioned that you can’t use the undercarriage to work out the gender for birds, which is why chicken-sexing is such a well-paid profession…to which I say there’s no place for avian facts when you get a rare chance to deploy “undercarriage”, though I do thank that poster for posting a link about cloacas on my wall. I’ll surely never get another relevant opportunity.