Luna Park Ghost Train FirePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by Peter F Williams

The plaque commemorates the victims of the Luna Park Ghost Train Fire of 1979.

In June 1979, seven people, a male adult and six boys (including a father and his 2 sons), aged from 13 to 4 years, died from carbon monoxide poisoning and/or burns accidentally received when the Ghost Train (which contained the amusement ride) building caught fire. The cause of the fire was unknown.

Evidence showed that a number of passengers on the ride detected a smell of smoke five minutes or more before the fire was discovered but took no action, thinking it might have been one of the Ghost Train`s special effects. One effect of the winding course of the track was to disorient (ride) passengers. The Ghost Train operated in darkness. There was no emergency lighting system installed or maintained.

The park was shut down immediately after the incident for a federal investigation. A coronial inquiry into the incident did not determine the cause of the fire, although it was demonstrated that the ride's permanent wiring and attractions were not the source of ignition. Coroner Kevin Anderson found that Luna Park's management had failed to develop an adequate fire suppression program, despite recommendations by North Sydney Council and the Fire Department eighteen months earlier. Anderson's report stated that while the park's owners and management had failed in their duty of care towards patrons, the failure was not "that high degree of negligence necessary to support a charge of criminal negligence."

Before the fire, a Sydney design consultant stated that he had advised Luna Park management to install a sprinkler system in the Ghost Train in December 1977, following an inspection of the park for potential renovations. The recommendation was not followed.

In 1987, a Government inquiry into corruption by the National Crime Authority reopened the investigation of the fire. No new evidence was presented, but it was found that the police investigation into the incident had been inadequate, and the coronial inquiry ineffective. Despite claims ranging from faulty wiring to sabotage in an attempt to have the park closed down and demolished, the cause of the fire has never been established.


Address:1 Olympic Drive, Luna Park Wall, near Box Office, Milsons Point, 2061
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -33.84768
Long: 151.209941
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:09-June-1979
Actual Event End Date:09-June-1979


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 28th March, 2004
Front Inscription

This Building Stands On
The Site Of
`The Ghost Train`,
Destroyed By Fire On
The Night Of
Saturday 9 June 1979
With The Loss Of
Seven Lives.

John Godson        b. 2.8.1949
Damien Godson   b. 15.4.1973
Craig Godson       b. 15.12.1974
Richard Carroll      b. 18.4.1966
Michael Johnson   b. 20.8.1965
Jonathan Billings   b. 5.12.1965
Seamus Rahilly     b. 7.9.1965

They Are Remembered
Dedicated 28th March 2004


Source: ACPH, MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au