|LaTrobe St end of Docklands in March 2008; Melbourne Eye at hard right.|
Unfortunately, Melbourne didn't quite grasp the idea properly. Anybody who has been to Docklands can attest to the fact that it can be a pretty sterile, lifeless area trying way too hard to attract ... well, it seems to want hordes of tourists and shoppers, but somewhat in contradiction it wants them to be a higher class of clientele, cashed up sorts who will blow heaps of money on impractical clothes and a meal that costs four times what you'd pay at a normal Melbourne restaurant but is only a quarter the size. Of course, cashed up bogans dismiss Docklands as a hub of leftie yuppies, while actual lefties such as myself couldn't afford to live there even if we wanted to. You see the dilemma. So to help lure some more people in, the Southern Star observation wheel was built ... and that's when things got hilarious.
In our entry about Moonee Ponds Creek, you would have already seen this picture of the Southern Star from Railway Canal, taken during construction in April 2008:
Now if you thought "how'd the London Eye get into that picture?", I don't blame you. No doubt most people have heard of the London Eye; a gigantic ferris wheel beside the Thames that affords spectacular views of the city. Somebody decided there were enough people in Melbourne who'd also want to pay money to be taken from one place ... to exactly the same place. Well, pretty much as soon as this thing was proposed for Melbourne a few years after the London Eye opened, the comparisons flowed in. Can't we have original ideas? Don't we look like such colonials for copying London? So on and so forth; the unofficial name "Melbourne Eye" stuck much better than "Southern Star Observation Wheel", a downright stupid name. Construction began in 2006, and after a couple of delays and inevitable snide comments by everybody, it opened in December 2008.
|February 2009 from West Melbourne.|
|Lonely legs in February 2010.|
|Cranes join the legs in January 2011.|
Rating: Unpleasant, in a hilarious way. I'm sure it'll be fine once it's ready, but those lonesome legs haven't been a good look.