Luna Park opened in October 1935.
The Art Deco-style fantasy face and concept was based on the success of the first Luna Park on Coney Island, in New York in 1903. American entrepreneur Herman Phillips and others brought the idea to Australia and opened Luna Park in Melbourne in 1912 and Luna Park Glenelg, Adelaide in 1930.
The Sydney site ran smoothly under the management of the first operator, showman David Atkins, until 1957 and engineer Ted Hopkins took over after that until 1969.
A host of different leasees operated the park in the 1970s including the World Trade Center. The lease expired in 1975 with managers unable to negotiate a long-term lease. It operated from week-to-week resulting in limited investment in park infrastructure.
In 1979, six children and one adult were killed in the ghost train fire.
In 1980 it closed and was threatened with demolition until the “Friends of Luna Park”, including artists Martin Sharp and Peter Kingston, rallied to keep it open.
After financial difficulties Luna Park closed its doors in 1996, where the lease was awarded to a group including the owners of the Metro Theater in Sydney (headed by co-directors Warwick Doughty and Peter Hearne) and The Edgley Group.
Luna Park was listed on the NSW State Heritage Register in 2010, and is owned by the Luna Park Reserve Trust, an agency of the NSW government.