Fairyland. Most Adelaide people have some memory of it. If you spent your childhood in Adelaide in the ’70s and ‘80s, then there’s a pretty good chance you visited Fairyland Village in Lobethal at least once.
Fairyland opened in 1973 – the brainchild of a German family who wanted to recreate something similar to parks found throughout Europe. Fairyland was the first of its kind for Australia and the first theme park to open in South Australia. Essentially, a collection of miniature cottages, each of which housed scenes from various fairy-tales and children’s stories.
Throughout the 1970s and 80s it proved a popular destination for family outings but went into decline during the ‘90s. It was then acquired by new owners who restored and improved the park, adding new cottages and scenes. Each of the miniature cottages contained a famous scene from a fairy-tale, intricately staged with antique furniture and curiosities and with the characters created from modified mannequins.
Given the eeriness of the park at night, it was an apt location in which to set a horror movie and was used as a location for the Australian horror movie 100 Bloody Acres. Alas, dwindling visitor numbers coupled with the owners desire to enjoy a quiet retirement, saw the park placed up for sale. Consequently, the park was closed for nearly two years whilst a buyer for the property was sought.
Rumours soon emerged that the park may be dismantled and it was during this time that I accessed the park on several occasions in order to capture the images you see here. Unfortunately, others also became aware of the disused state of the park and late last year it suffered a senseless vandal attack which resulted in damage to several of the cottages as well as the theft of several display items. This was the final straw for the owners. Reluctantly, the park was disassembled and its contents sold, scrapped and given away. Today, nothing remains of a place which brought so much joy to so many people.