THOUSANDS of dollars and countless hours have gone into restoring an old merry-go-round, all for the sound of children’s laughter.
Peter Naylor spent three years rebuilding the ride because he wanted the next generation of children to experience the good times he had when he was a child.
He said one of his most fond childhood memories was of jumping on a painted horse and flying around in a circle.
“I hope that everyone gets the pleasure out of the machine that I did,” he said.
“That’s the passion I wanted to pass on to the next generation.”
Mr Naylor found the worn out machine in Orange and tried to trace its heritage.
He discovered it came from either Parkes or Sydney but had no other information.
He restored the merry-go-round from memory and said the hardest part of the restoration was sourcing the parts.
“You can’t just look it up on the internet or go and ask someone because they’re a thing of the past,” he said.
“No one really knows.”
While the smile on children’s faces is reward enough for Mr Naylor, he says in hindsight he would not of taken on the mammoth task.
He went through two inspectors to get the machine passed, had to modify the mechanics to meet occupational health and safety standards that didn’t exist in the 50s when the machine was built, and had to travel across the country to find spare parts.
“When I was younger, I remember the old stick that they had to kick to get it into gear,” he said.
“I kept it as original as I could remember it.”
The hair for the horse’s tails was sourced by a 76-year-old man in Melbourne.
He had one eye and used to make rocking horse tails for a living.
The merry go round was the man’s last job.
Mr Naylor said the Showmens Guild and the Men’s Shed were instrumental in the restoration.
The guild provided him with priceless assistance such as helping to cover insurance, while the Men’s Shed helped restore the horses.
Mr Naylor said when he was a child no show was complete without a merry-go-round, but children of today hardly got to see them, to the point where they were scared to jump on the horses.
“They’re ok with the cars but they are scared of the horses because they have never seen them,” he said.
Usually the ride is up and going for an hour before a brave soul makes a pass for a horse, then it’s on for all and it’s hard to get them off the horses, Mr Naylor said.