Atlantis still remembered

An aerial view of Atlantis Marine Park and Two Rocks Marina from the park's brochure. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum
Diane Dickerson performing the quadruple trapeze hoop jump at Atlantis Marine Park in 1985. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum
First boat set for sea lion and seal show at Atlantis Marine Park in 1982. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum
Diane Dickerson with a turtle she helped rehabilitate at Atlantis Marine Park. Picture: Bruce Hunt
Atlantis Marine Park's rehabilitation project saw a dolphin transported to a sea pen at Two Rocks Marina in October 1991. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum
Triple Roman Ride at Atlantis Marine Park in 1985. Picture: Bruce Hunt
A waterslide at Atlantis Marine Park in 1985. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum
An aerial view of Atlantis Marine Park and Two Rocks Marina from the park's brochure. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum Diane Dickerson performing the quadruple trapeze hoop jump at Atlantis Marine Park in 1985. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum First boat set for sea lion and seal show at Atlantis Marine Park in 1982. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum Diane Dickerson with a turtle she helped rehabilitate at Atlantis Marine Park. Picture: Bruce Hunt Atlantis Marine Park's rehabilitation project saw a dolphin transported to a sea pen at Two Rocks Marina in October 1991. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum Triple Roman Ride at Atlantis Marine Park in 1985. Picture: Bruce Hunt A waterslide at Atlantis Marine Park in 1985. Picture courtesy Wanneroo Regional Museum

IT has been closed to the public for more than two decades, but vivid memories of Atlantis Marine Park remain among those who worked at or visited the 10ha attraction in the 1980s.

Earlier this year, a memory-sharing event at the Wanneroo Library and Cultural Centre reunited many of the parks former employees, as well as visitors.

The City of Wanneroo’s community history librarian Carol Leigh said they received 16 artefacts and objects, almost 700 photographs, 130 pamphlets and brochures, 30 audio visual footage pieces and an original painting by one of the dolphins.

‘We got a lot of very interesting clippings and we got quite a few postcards,’ Ms Leigh said.

‘I’m picking about 60 images for Picture Wanneroo, trying to cover all the different shows and themes.

‘They have been specially selected to give an overall idea of what the place was like.

‘We are going to put a little display exhibition up in the museum in late November.’

Ms Leigh said people who attended the April event also filled out memory sheets with things they remembered about Atlantis, such as birthday celebrations.

Contributors included mammal trainer David Udy and trainer, performer and education officer Diane Dickerson.

Images of the performances included shots of stunts like the Triple Roman Ride, which involved three people standing on four dolphins.

‘This was the first time this trick was performed anywhere in the world,’ Ms Leigh said.

‘That was in the early days ” it was all quite theatrical.

‘Later they had to tone everything down and gear it towards education.

‘There is another beautiful photograph of Diane Dickerson doing the quadruple trapeze hoop jump.’

Some of the photos provided showed a baby loggerhead turtle that had air trapped in its shell, so Ms Dickerson tied lead weights to its shell enabling it to gain its balance in the water.

‘Atlantis staff were often called on when they found injured animals, like one leopard seal, Deno,’ Ms Leigh said.

‘He was attacked and they brought him in and trained him.’

Ms Leigh said Mr Udy’s diary provided insight into the training of some animals.

The collection also includes stories from the end, when the marine park closed and the animals were relocated and released.

‘They were holding down a 190kg sea lion and one of the seven people holding him lost their grip and was knocked by his flipper,’ Ms Leigh said.

She said Atlantis officially opened on Boxing Day in 1981, and in the first five weeks, 100,000 people had visited the marine park. It closed a decade later.

A selection of about 70 photos can be viewed on Picture Wanneroo through the City’s library catalogues, and readers can find out more by visiting the Wanneroo Regional Museum on Rocca Way.