When I was a kid, I spent many memorable days (and a few boring ones) at Old Sydney Town. For those who aren’t familiar with it, Old Sydney Town was a theme park that accurately recreated the early settlement of Sydney, with historically-correct buildings, dudes dressed as convicts and more angry cannons than a Sasha Grey film.
Unlike most theme parks, there weren’t any rollercoasters, waterslides, whizzy things, whirly things, or other fun stuff, so it was a bit shit. But it was the closest thing Gosford had to a fun park, so we were proud of it.
Oh, and the public whippings were fucking aces. I still think of them every time I pay Madame Mayhem from the local knock shop to flog me.
Good sheila, that Madame Mayhem. Built like a truck with a broken axel, but she sure knows how to please a fella. This one time… right, sorry, I was talking about Old Sydney Town.
The lack of rides and the community’s general apathy towards Australian history led to it shutting down in 2003, after which it was basically left to rot. No-one’s been there for more than 12 years, and I’ve long wondered what it looks like. I’ve often considered going in there to see what it’s like, but I’m a law-abiding citizen, so I haven’t.
It’s lucky, then, that a very good friend of mine recently busted into Old Sydney Town and went exploring. He even sent me the photos. His name’s Mustafa Chen-Wilkins and, while he’s a brave dude and takes great photos, he can’t write for shit, so I’ve translated his words so they read exactly the same as my own stuff. In fact, it will be just like it was actually me who went there, but we all know that’s definitely not the case.
Over to you, Mustafa!
G’day, I’m Mustafa. You might’ve heard rumours about my large, oddly-shaped penis and adoration for donkeys, and I’m happy to say that it’s all true. Especially the bit about donkeys. I’m a real bad-arse with a cavalier attitude to breaking the law, so when I saw a sign saying people weren’t allowed into the former site of Old Sydney Town, i took it as a challenge.
I’m not going to tell you how I got in, but it involved climbing over a few fences, crawling through heaps of bushes, and basically being cool and secretive, like Kurt Russel. Once I was in, I found myself on the banks of the park’s lake, which once represented Sydney Harbour. In the distance, the buildings looked the same as they always had, but one thing broke the illusion that time had stopped – the giant ship that once stood guard over the harbour had fallen onto its side and was rotting in the murky water.
As I made my way into the remnants of the town, I was overcome by the eeriness of the place. It’s well-kept and tidy, and the buildings are largely the same as they were before the closure, but it’s quiet and empty. It feels more like a ghost town than an abandoned amusement park.
I checked out the local pub, the King’s Head Tavern, which was once used for weddings and random piss-ups. Apart from some warped floorboards, it looked like it had been abandoned yesterday – plates and microwaves were still spread around, as were signs reminding employees to wash their hands and lock the doors. There was even a piano in the corner, which I couldn’t play because 1) it was completely waterlogged and rotten and 2) trying to teach me the piano would be as successful as trying to teach and aardvark to shit gold nuggets.
As I was looking through some decomposing cottages, I heard a motorbike blatting towards me, and quickly hid behind a broken wagon. With my heart racing and visions of being raped by a buck-toothed security guard racing through my mind, I grabbed my stuff and started heading back to my car. But as I passed the lake again, I was overcome by the beauty of the sunset and, telling myself I’d imagined the bike, sat down to watch the sky transform.
And then I heard another motorbike cutting through the silence, and this time there was no mistaking what it was, because I could see the bloody thing coming around the water. I jumped up and raced into a gloomy wool shed, and that’s when I heard a vicious guard dog barking. Fucking hell, I wasn’t just going to get arrested and raped, I was going to get eaten!
The motorbike roared closer and the dog barked harder and my heart did its best to jump out of my chest, and I crept around the side of the shed while the two hunters stalked past me. As soon as they were past, I turned and piss bolted back around the lake, hoping they wouldn’t see me.
They did, and I heard a yell come from a couple of hundred metres behind me. The motorbike screamed and came back at me, with the rabies-afflicted hound not far behind, foam pouring from its mouth. A little bit of wee came out of my doodle, but I just put my head down and kept going, then dived into the bushes and started blindly bashing my way through the gloom in the vague direction of my car.
I heard the bike stop, but the dog kept coming, screeching in the darkness as it closed in on my. I hit fence topped with barbed wire, climbed it in record time, and slipped my foot over just as the rabid mongrel snapped at my ankle.
I dropped over the other side and spent the next hour battling through the darkness, and by the time I made it back to my car, I was torn apart, bleeding and sore, but very happy with my trip back in time.
Now, can someone hand me a donkey?