If you’ve driven down Three Mile Lane recently, the chances are you’ve seen the 30m Ferris wheel 10 minutes out of town.
The spectacle beside the Mt Lindesay Highway south of Beaudesert got people talking just like the giant inflatable sabre tooth tiger that’s been set up there before.
The Beaudesert Bulletin caught up with the couple behind the wheel and the tiger, Luke Hennessy and wife Ashley Harris, who operate amusement rides across Australia.
A unique life
Fourth generation showman Luke Hennessy, 38, wife Ashley Harris, 32, and their little boy Sebastian, 2, live a life that is anything but boring.
With a handful of staff who are a bit like family, they base their small national amusement rides company Bazooka Games in Beaudesert and travel Australia six months of the year.
They work the show circuit and do flower crowns at music and food festivals.
Their property is also home to boutique show horse stud, Sirrah Riding Ponies, which Ashley established with mum Melody.
Sometimes passers-by can see evidence of their work, like when their Ferris wheel, the ‘Melody Eye’, was set up in the backyard for several weeks.
“It’s half the size of the Brisbane Eye but it’s transportable on four semitrailers. Recently we took it off the road for six weeks to do all the major maintenance on it,” Luke said.
Luke’s family were from Doolandella near Inala, but the couple moved here for the space.
“We were there for 50 years and what used to be the bush is now heavy residential, so we didn’t have the space for our amusements anymore,” he said.
“We needed room to set up and work on our equipment and the place also had to suit our animals, because that’s an important part of our lives too.”
Luke said Beaudesert was special to him.
“I don’t think my grandfather ever missed a Beaudesert Show, so I’ve got fond memories of having the pavlovas and also the curried sausages the old nun used to make,” he said.
“I love our property and we’re so rapt to be here. We’re so proud of our equipment, to set up our Ferris wheel, go out on the Mt Lindesay Highway and look at it.”
Luke, who previously served as President of the Showmen’s Guild of Australasia, and Ashley are both passionate about breaking the ‘carnie’ stigma associated with the industry.
“It’s nice not to be called ‘the carnies’ – a lot of us are quite well educated, I’ve got a nursing degree and Luke did business school,” Ashley said.
“It’s a great lifestyle, we go all the way to Cairns, see the Great Barrier Reef, get curried sausages in every town and see the positives of each place we visit,” said Luke.