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Sep 2003

The ghosts of Warrnambool are brought to life!

Laservision’s latest special effects extravaganza aids the transformation of the Victorian Maritime Park ‘Flagstaff Hill’. The park is located in the city of Warrnambool along Victoria’s infamous ‘shipwreck coastline’, just one hour North – West of the world renowned 12 Apostles.

As you enter the park, the buildings and ships re-create an atmosphere of an early Australian colonial harbour. The harbour features historical vessels both large and small which are carefully preserved for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

Shipwrecked Flagstaff Hill, Laser, Light, Water Screens Attraction - Laservision

Laservision won the tender, sponsored by the Victorian Government, to coordinate and install high impact special effects to the attraction. Victorian Tourism Chairman Tom Smith stated that “the criticism of Flagstaff Hill over the years has been the lack of activation. Now with this, it brings the whole village to life … It gives tourists an absolute reason to stay here”. In a 5.7 million dollar makeover, the cutting edge entertainment technology incorporated into the park adds a new dimension for entertainment in the attraction. The primary goal of the government grant was to increase tourist’s interest in the park by achieving a unique and innovative solution.

Flagstaff Hill manager Howard Nichol said “the new-look facility would offer a more experimental attraction with innovative, active and interactive displays to excite all of the senses”.

Once the visitors to the park have moved through the entrance theatre it is time for them to engage upon a fascinating multi media journey around the park. Created by Laservision engineers, a mass of night time special effects wait to engross and entertain young and old visitors alike.

In this instance the story needed to replicate a tale in which visitors could experience first hand the maritime history of the surrounding coast line and the treachery of the waters which have claimed more than 160 ships. The story created by laser and video projection illustrates the tragic tale of one of Australia’s most terrifying shipwrecks, being that of the Loch Ard vessel on route from England.

Shipwrecked Flagstaff Hill, Laser, Light, Water Screens Attraction - Laservision

The Loch Ard was built by Barclay, Curle and Co of Clyde in November of 1873. Eva Carmichael and Tom Pearce were the only two survivors.

Working with Warrnambool Council members and Flagstaff Hill’s management team headed by Howard Nichol, Laservision production team was able to devise and tailor a host of special effects for this unique application.

Laservision’s state-of-the-art show control system ‘Sinodial ~ Series’ utilising a proprietary Laservision Digital Data ~ Pump was introduced as a solution for coordinating the large scale multi media to be incorporated into the attraction. The robust technology of Sinodial ~ Series is designed to coordinate all elements of multi media. Large scale multi media is a high powered, high impact medium used to entertain the masses. These include; laser effects, fireworks, fountains, film, digital video, lighting, surround sound and water screens. All of the above mediums are coordinated via a touch screen. Show time is as simple as pressing a button.

Due to the size of the attraction, a larger full colour laser was incorporated. The system enables a variety of colours to add impact to the tragic tale. The lighting installed into the attraction includes over 60 fixtures and is simply phenomenal. The fixtures include strobe lights, dimmers, a host of exterior flood lights and special effects fans. The show integrates lighting sequences in which selected areas of the park are illuminated in order to bring to life the story and the day to day happenings of the 19th century harbour.

The ability to coordinate projects interstate or internationally from the Laservision’s remotely located Sydney office enables Laservision to complete multi media based projects for the purposes of permanent attractions, presentations, special events, bill boarding, entertainment or large format high impact communications in nearly any conceivable application.

Shipwrecked Flagstaff Hill, Laser, Light, Water Screens Attraction - Laservision

Visitors are transported around the park via motorised buggies to view the unique digital video, sound, laser, lighting, and of course the added special effects of the multi media show titled ‘Shipwrecked’.

Once positioned inside the wharf theatre the audience looks out to the shower of special effects. In Laservision’s first water-based effect the ghosts of the Loch Ard vessel are brought to life as Laservision’s water screen jets water 18 metres in diameter and nearly 10 metres high.

The themed show ‘Shipwrecked’ is projected screen via laser, large format video projection and mist effects communicating the tragedy onto the water screen. The end result represents a vertical sheet of water for night time projection of large format video and laser effects which communicate the tale of the Loch Ard.

The second water-based effect creates a rain effect which aids the recreation of the violent storm that was to take the lives of 52 passengers on that fateful night in 1878.
The water is pumped from the man-made harbour through two nozzles and jetted nearly 20 metres high and 40 metres across the attraction causing a blustery rain effect.

Laservision engineer Brett Slattery stated “the rain effect caused by the second pump is astounding! It was truly exciting to see the end product”. The water is recycled back into the harbour in both of the water applications, aerating the man made harbour each time the show is played.

The theatrical lighting installed into the park is out of this world. Throughout the show strobe effects ignite the park adding impact to the ferocious storm. Each and every historic building and boat is given life as a host of lighting sequences illuminate and envelop life into the historic settlement.

Upon sunset, Laservision’s foggers placed in the historic buildings around the Maritime Park bring the winter fires of the village to life.

Country Victorias Tourism Council Chairman Tom Smith described the experience as “totally awesome”, voicing “I was extremely impressed by the experience … you’ve got something here that is world class!”

Shipwrecked Flagstaff Hill, Laser, Light, Water Screens Attraction - Laservision

The state of the art refurbishment of the Maritime Park gives tourists an incentive to drive the extra 1 hour past the 12 Apostles along the Great Ocean Road which attracts thousands of tourists in its own right. The multimedia experience ‘Shipwrecked’ is one of a kind, transporting visitors back in time. For those of us planning a trip along the Great Ocean Road or even a trip to Australia ‘Shipwrecked’ is definitely worth a look. ‘Shipwrecked’ is scheduled to be held nightly at Flagstaff Hill with up to three sessions a night.

Laservision world renowned installations including Singapore and Darling Harbour can be viewed at www.laservision.com.au/portfolios/. For more information on Laservision’s special effect based applications please contact on (02) 9658 1000.

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