Australian observation wheel out of action
The world’s latest observation wheel has suffered a number of setbacks since it opened at the tail end of last year. The Southern Star, in Melbourne, Australia, was forced to close last month (February) after an excessive heatwave, and was still out of order at the time of writing.
“The heat buckled some bracing members,” explains Fred Maybury of the Southern Star Management Group. “The wheel has operated successfully and without issue since December 20, 2008, however a decision has been made not to operate the wheel until a full inspection can be undertaken and rectification work carried out. The wheel will recommence once this issue is resolved.”
As with most attractions of this nature, the Southern Star has attracted a great deal of media coverage, though not all of it has been positive. In January, the Sunday Age newspaper voiced concerns that it may fail to attract the 1.5 million projected annual visitors, claims that have been refuted by a tourism expert at Melbourne’s Victoria University.
The 120-metre-tall structure, which was manufactured by the Japanese company Meisho, is located at the Waterfront City development. The ride was recently taken over by UK-based World Tourist Attractions, which operates a number of permanent and semi-permanent observation wheels in various international cities.