Tonight we went to the grand opening of the Southern Star, supposedly Melbourne's top new attraction. Its a giant Ferris wheel essentially, although I believe they prefer to be called an observation wheel. So far the thing is two years late in its construction and apparently $100 million over budget. It also seems to be located in a strange place for an observation wheel as mostly you would be looking at our commercial dock areas from the top. I guess someone thought Melbourne needed it so it got built.
The grand opening had some music and a speech and some fireworks, but there weren't really very many people there, almost as if everyone was over it before it even opened. In the following few days of operation it barely seemed to re4ach half its capacity for passengers. I waited until after the actual opening to record the drive system as I wanted to record it on a day when there were not too many people around. That proved to be a lot easier than I was expecting as most days it seemed mostly abandoned. The wheel itself is driven by rotating wheels at the bottom and I was surprised at how quiet it was considering it was pretty big and must weigh a fair bit. It really just sounded like a small electric engine.
Less than two months after opening the wheel shut again as there was some major design and construction fault with the thing. It now seems it is going to be a further two years to disassemble, fix and rebuild the thing. I personally am not sure if it is worth the effort when even at the height of tourist season it looked like it was struggling, but I have never claimed to understand how businesses make their decisions. I'm just glad I recorded it when I did.
Stephan Schütze has been recording sounds for over twenty years. This journal logs his thoughts and experiences