Fate of Brisbane's Dragon Coaster in Myer Centre as mythical as the beasts themselves

Fate of Brisbane's Dragon Coaster in Myer Centre as mythical as the beasts themselves

Fate of Brisbane's Dragon Coaster in Myer Centre as mythical as the beasts themselves

Updated 7 February 2018, 16:15 AEDT

The Dragon Coaster at Top's in the Myer centre was a must-see attraction for anyone growing up in Brisbane in the 1990s.

Can you even claim to have grown up in Brisbane during the 1990s if you didn't visit Top's?

Located on the top floor of the Queen Street Mall Myer Centre, Top's was a fun park like no other.

There was a Ferris wheel, a swinging pirate ship, arcade games, dodgem cars, and more.

But the jewel in this crown was by far the Dragon Coaster.

Painted red and gold, it was weaved its way over the top floor of the Myer Centre.

Shoppers nine floors below in the food court could hear the rattling of the coaster and the screams of those who dared to look down.

It was a must-ride attraction for its time, lasting from 1988 until Top's was toppled to make way for a cinema in 2000.

Curious Brisbane was tasked by an anonymous reader to find out "what happened to the roller coaster in the Myer Centre".

Unfortunately, it seems stories around the fate of the famed coaster are as mythical as dragons themselves.

Rumours run off the rails

There is no shortage of rumours on what became of the roller coaster.

One said the coaster ended up at Aussie World on the Sunshine Coast.

But that wasn't true.

They did end up with the swinging pirate ship, but not the Dragon Coaster.

Another said it was sold to either China or Malaysia for "a lot of money".

A search of r/Brisbane on Reddit shows it's a fond memory often brought up, but alas no-one seems to know the rollercoaster's current whereabouts.

We even checked with the Australian Amusements Directory to see if they knew anything. Sadly, they did not.

Our best lead came from a 2005 discussion on internet forum parkz.com.au.

"Apparently the Dragon Coaster is now a train used in special parades around the Brisbane area. I've seen it a few times but it's showing its age now," one person wrote

At last, a clue.

Another user, rollercoaster rod, gave us further hope.

"The Dragon Coaster was bought by a friend of mine and turned into a dragon train for school fetes and the likes around Brisbane. It is/was for sale last I spoke to him."

Rollercoaster rod also shared a URL to his friend's listing for the "Magic Dragon Ride".

The link is dead now, but a look at the Wayback Machine showed it was for sale as a 36-passenger, 4WD trackless train.

The price at first was $55,000, but was eventually lowered to $35,000, then $19,000.

By 2009 the listing was unavailable.

It was up for sale by a Rob Crofts.

Yellow Pages listed a Robert Crofts, entertainer and entertainers' agent in Brisbane, with the same phone number as the one listed on the old advertisement.

Unfortunately, that number no longer belongs to Mr Crofts.

We also tried the email listed, but it appears to be inactive.

A search of White Pages found half a dozen R Crofts in Queensland, but none were the man we were looking for.

We even tried messaging his mate, "rollercoaster rod", in the hope he could put us in contact.

But we never heard back. It was a long shot anyway — that account hasn't been active since 2008.

We did find a Robert Crofts who had a business trading under All Amusement Rides and Attractions registered for an ABN from May 2000 until it was cancelled in September 2014.

It was registered in Berrinba, in Brisbane's south.

For one year it did trade under a different name — The Fairy Floss, Jumping Castle, Trains and Slides Man.

We found a listing for that exact business in Berrinba in Yellow Pages, unfortunately with the same number from the 2005 ad we tried earlier.

Is the dragon rusting away on the Sunshine Coast?

There was another lead from Old Brisbane Album that backs up our earlier search for Rob Croft and his trackless train.

But if true, it's not the ending we were hoping for.

Geoff Clarris, a former director at Carnival Land, said Rob Croft did indeed own the dragon coaster turned trackless train.

However, it never quite worked as envisioned.

"The train had two problems; it had to run on bitumen — the dragon engine was really heavy with motors and batteries, the drive wheel would spin if it was not on bitumen — and the carriages too short, it could turn on itself.

"The children loved it, but if it was on grass the carriages being short would tip over. I owned a very expensive train and he could near earn double what I could but my train could run on any surface.

"Long story made short, it was not viable and I think being just left out in the weather on a property up the Sunshine Coast it died. No-one wanted it."

Mr Clarris did not respond to our request for more information.

Did Melbourne pinch our coaster?

A call out on Facebook group Old Brisbane Album did produce a couple of interesting leads.

"It's at Luna Park in Melbourne," one person wrote.

A quick look on the theme park's website did raise our hopes.

They had a roller coaster that looks identical to the Brisbane one, albeit a different colour.

Named the Silly Serpent, it's coloured purple and green and described as a "smaller roller coaster perfect for the whole family to enjoy".

Turns out, both the Tops dragon coaster and the Silly Serpent came from the same manufacturer.

"The ride was manufactured by Zamperla in Italy," a Luna Park spokeswoman said.

"We have several rides from them here in the park."

She said it was not believed to be Brisbane's Dragon Coaster.

We even checked with Zamperla, who confirmed the Brisbane coaster was one of theirs, but had no idea of its whereabouts now.

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