Docklands Observation Wheel Re-Opens
Melbourne Observation WheelView from Harbour Town shopping precinct.
The Docklands Wheel re-opens today, ahead of schedule and boasting a revolutionary new design and name.
Locals have watched with curiosity over the past few weeks as the giant wheel was assembled on site, then lifted into position in one piece. With initial trials now completed, the first paying passengers will be allowed on board today, ahead of the official opening ceremony to take place next Friday.
The Docklands Wheel has a troubled history, originally opening in December 2008, only to be closed the following month and later dismantled due to major structural faults.
To distance itself from the past, the wheel has been re-branded the Melbourne Revolution Observation Wheel and it now features a completely new square-framed design, a world first for Ferris wheels. Local residents have already dubbed it "The Sqwheel".
Melbourne Revolution spokesman, Harvey Oaks says, "Everyone told us we shouldn't try to re-invent the wheel, but there's always room for improvement. Half our problems with the original design stemmed from all those tricky curves, but now that it's just straight edges, we've really been able to cut the costs of our materials. We actually got most of it on special from the local Bunnings."
He is quick to reject any suggestion that the cost savings may have compromised the wheel's safety: "Admittedly, there were one or two minor issues with the original wheel, but nothing's fallen off this one yet. We're really starting to think we may have nailed it this time."
Mr Oaks is confident that previous criticism of the wheel as overpriced and poorly sited will be quickly forgotten: "It's true that when the wheel first opened, passengers only really had the Docklands Highway to look at, but the area has changed beyond all recognition since then." He points out the roof of the Costco warehouse as just one of many new highlights.
The re-opening has been welcomed by retailers at the adjacent Harbour Town shopping precinct, who have struggled for business with the absence of their main attraction. Some have even speculated that the complex is cursed or haunted, but Sandra Hyte of the Local Retailers' Association has little time for such superstition: "There have been some reports of a lone, ghostly figure drifting through the arcades, but we're pretty sure it's just a shopper."
To help celebrate the official opening ceremony next Friday, 80s' superstars Huey Lewis and the News will be making a rare Australian appearance to perform their hit song "Hip To Be Square". Huey is well known for his love of Ferris wheels, even going so far as to install a working, quarter-scale replica of the London Eye in the grounds of his Beverly Hills mansion.
Melbourne Revolution is offering 100 pairs of tickets to see the band perform and to ride the new wheel. For your chance to win, simply call the box office before midday today and sing the chorus line from "Hip To Be Square". See the official website for full details.
UPDATE: MIDDAY, 1ST APRIL
Following unforeseen technical problems, the new wheel has now been closed and dismantled again. Apparently, the engineers hadn't fully explored all the consequences of using a square wheel. The attraction is expected to re-open using its original name and design sometime before November 2019.
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