It has officially been a year since four people headed to one of Australia's most popular theme parks, and were tragically killed when the Thunder River Rapids ride they were on broke down.
While the name and image of the ill-fated ride was erased from the park map a year ago, what’s left of the Thunder River Rapids ride itself has stayed largely untouched as Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) completed their exhaustive investigation into what exactly went wrong.
WHSQ has finished its report and a coronial inquest into the four deaths is expected to take place over the coming months.
But the placement of the ride, in the centre of the theme park’s most popular attractions, makes it difficult for the once booming park to move on.
Ardent Leisure, the company that owns Dreamworld, announced after the incident it would decommission the ride forever.
This decision was followed by its announcement to demolish the expansive attraction, something it’s been unable to do as yet due to the ongoing investigations
However, while the investigation continues, Dreamworld has placed huge rust coloured fences to fit in with the wild west theme of its Gold Rush town, and all signs pointing to the ride have been removed. Pathways that used to head to the ride have been taken out of service.
However, just visible above the fences are the turrets of the 'shacks', all part of the theming for the ride.
Out of respect for the families who lost their loved ones, Dreamworld decided against conducting a public memorial for the anniversary.
Instead, it held a private service for the park’s 1000-plus staff before the park opened.
The staff service was a solemn reflection ceremony, presided over by a local pastor.
A traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony also took place, similar to the one held days after the tragedy last year.
Immediately after the incident, the Gold Coast’s theme park industry saw a sharp decline in visitor numbers and revenue.
Dreamworld had 1.66 million visitors this financial year, compared to 2.4 million from 2015-16.
Acting Lord Mayor Donna Gates admitted yesterday that despite visitor numbers slowly rising again, it is a tragedy the region will 'never fully recover from.'
Gates continued, 'They’re places of fun generally and that’s been very difficult to come back from that terrible tragedy but I understand that all the testing that’s been done, we know now how safe our parks are.'
In the accident, Canberra local Kim Dorsett lost two children, 32-year-old Kate Goodchild and 35-year-old Luke Dorsett, as well as Luke's partner Roozi Araghi, 38.
Now, she has spoken out ahead of the one-year mark.
'One year ago, we were a family of seven enjoying the perfect weather of the Gold Coast,' she begins in an article published on The Courier Mail. 'Katie was the perfect mummy to her two beautiful girls [aged 13 and 1], and Luke and Roozi the perfect uncles.'
Kate's eldest daughter Ebony was also on the ride at the time of the accident but survived. Kate's husband David Turner was watching nearby holding the couple's baby, Evie.