English Carousel (Gallopers)

Our English steam gallopers are over 100 years old. They are the result of 15 master trades working together to produce functional industrial art. These trades include wood carvers, iron workers, carpenters, joiners and decorators. We have been privileged by having Mark Gill, the only fully qualified English fairground decorator, working on decorating this machine to its spectacular Edwardian splendour. Mark is the third generation of his family to be involved in fairground art.

There are 30 ornately hand carved timber horses and cockerels, rotating in a clockwise direction which give a galloping action as they go up and down. An ornate centre that has sixty cutglass mirrors creates a unique Edwardian mirrorball effect.

The horses, hand-carved by Anderson’s in approximately 1890 - 1905, are documented and are regarded as being exquisite examples of the master trade.

The paint used by Mark in the finishing work is called “Flamboyance”. This almost extinct application consists of a silver base coat with a translucent top coat giving a warm shiny colour. It is not available in Australia and was imported from the United Kingdom to complete the work.

The carousel has several Australian touches in that the carriages are decorated with the verse from the “Furphy Wagons”, - “Good, better best, never let it rest. Till your good is better and your better best”. On the front of the carriages is a riddle from the end of the 1900’s “YY UR, YY UB, ICUR YY 4 ME”.

Although the ride was steam-operated and appears to still be steam-operated, the ride is actually operated by an electric motor.

The centre engine on the ride was manufactured by Savages Ltd of Kings Lynne and is complete with whistles and gauges.

The music to accompany this ride is provided by an 89 key Gavioli organ which originated in the Black Forest area of Germany and spent most of its working life in The Netherlands before being placed on the carousel at Luna Park, Sydney.

As a matter of interest, these machines were originally built with few nuts and bolts, mainly slip joints so that they could be pulled down and moved to the next fairground within eight hours. This was generally accomplished by towing the packed galloper wagons behind a Showman’s engine.

The Gallopers weigh approximately 25 ton and are 10 metres in diameter and 7 metres high with ornately carved rounding boards with lion heads.

The carousel is the only fairground ride that has given continual pleasure to many generations over the last 150 years. We all can remember the times we had - none of life’s worries whilst riding the carousel.

European Carousel

This carousel was built in approximately 1900 and is pretty much in its original condition. It is complete with fifteen brightly coloured wooden horses, four chariots and a bear, all superbly carved and decorated mirrored.

The ceiling panels and rounding boards comprise carved work, and beautiful original oil on canvas paintings featuring romantic scenes, and the centre panels include beautifully painted cherubs.

This is a two row carousel, and the carousel platform turns anti-clockwise, unlike the English gallopers which revolve clockwise.

The builder and an early ownership of this ornate carousel are not known; any information that you may have would greatly enhance our research work and would be very much appreciated.

Savage Gallopers

This majestic ride was built in 1896 by Savages of Kings Lynn Norfolk for Swaley Bolesworth who travelled the ride in, and around the home counties of England. The ride was sold in the winter of 1900 to Alf Petigrove who travelled the ride around London and Midland areas. Whilst in his ownership the gallopers were cut down from 4 abreast to 3 abreast. In 1920 the ride was sold to James Day who had travelled over 100 miles to attend the auction but had arrived too late to bid. He then negotiated with the successful purchaser, two hours later the ride was his and remained in his family travelling for the next 30 years. At the outbreak of war in 1940 the ride was packed away but by mid 1941 the Gallopers were again out on the road and in 1946 underwent a major overhaul. In 1959 the Days purchased a block of land on the beach at Aberavon Wales, here the Day set up a small amusement park the gallopers were built up in the park and were to remain here for the next 34 year. With the passing of the family the gallopers made their way to Adelaide South Australia in 1984, and 12 months later we commenced a complete restoration in Sydney. The carvings on the horses are most ornate and probably one of the best surviving examples of the carvers art. A Savage steam centre engine complete with organ engine has been fitted. Our 87 keyless Gavioli organ will soon be accompanying riders.