Moomba belonged to my Grandfather
"Moomba belonged to my Grandfather Tom Wittingslow. Of all the shows and carnivals we did all over Australia, Moomba was the best."
Moomba belonged to my grandfather Tom Wittingslow.
Of all the Shows and the Carnivals we did all over Australia, Moomba was the best.
The biggest, the fastest with the scariest rides. Three generations of Wittingslow family committed three months of each year for forty years to create their part of Moomba.
Tom, my grandfather, was the leader.
He led by example.
In his time in Changi he dreamed of the biggest carnival ever in red, yellow and blue... that dream turned out to be Moomba. Des Snr was a provedore of the spectacular. He would travel the world and bring back the biggest and best rides. Michael, my brother, assumed the role of Artistic Director with great ideas like the amazing water screen and the River Pageant. Me? Well, I had to put the bloody things up... with a little help, of course.
Moomba Carnival became the driver in creating Wittingslow's as the countries largest travelling Carnival. My father's first spectacular ride was the Turbo.
Its test run was the night before we opened.
We all gathered for the historic event, dad turned it on and we all ran, believing this twenty metre monster with spinning wheels and alien lights would run over us.
It was one hell of a scary ride.
But it was not all about the business of rides, it's what they created, the laughter, the fun and the thrills.
Every year a group of handicapped kids were bussed into the Carnival to ride... and ride they did wheel chairs and ambulance gurneys and all.
Ride operators known for their hard looks and manner turned to melted butter at the kids squeals of delight.
The family and the workers lived in caravans on sites.
The carnies moved into the Alexander Gardens, so when the Carnival closed for the night we'd sit around drinking a few beers and telling stories of the day, the fireworks exploding in one big bang, the Dragon Boat sinking, the world record jump on the Yarra and of course the politics of the Melbourne City Council... what will they do next? Carnival life is truly extraordinary, with its own codes and ways. You bond together strongly as you travel from town to town. My life and family is Wittingslow and Wittinslow is about creating fun and we were at our best at Moomba.