In 1987 our journey into the magical world of toys, storytelling, and children’s birthday parties officially began. Over the next eight years we quickly gained a reputation as champions of childhood whimsy and imagination. We grew from one store to seventeen, and our Lost Forests became beloved “havens of happiness” in the hearts of young and old in three different countries.
But then the unthinkable happened.
The global recession of the 90’s took away our means to carry on tending to our enchanted forests. All of our official stores closed abruptly in 95, but a few “rogue knockoff” stores sprouted and continued to trade until 2000, which we didn’t discover until just a few years ago! As our young fans grew up and mastered the fast developing “email tech”, we started receiving messages from them recalling those terrible days when they learned that the Lost Forest in their city had suddenly closed. Many told us they had cried in those moments, and we can honestly say we shared in that sadness for some time.
That was twenty-one years ago, and believe us when we say we have had plenty of time to recharge our batteries!
Nowadays some things are quite different for us … sadly our founder and Master Storyteller, Tony “The Toymaker” Barber, is no longer with us. His wonderful legacy continues in the pages of our original Lost Forests book that will always be close at hand in store. Also, Australian rock legend Billy Thorpe is also no longer with us, yet his musical creativity can still be heard whenever someone walks into our store and listens to the curious sounds of the OTHERWORLDS which he composed and recorded all those years ago.
Filling the big boots of Creative Director these days is composer, children’s entertainer and author Chris Lam Sam who is based in New Zealand. In 1998, Chris (sort of … and definitely unknowingly) began working for us as a Storyteller in one of the “rogue knockoff” stores as an 18 year old sapling! Through a vey funny set of circumstances we have redeemed him from the “underworld of the OTHERWORLDS”, and have “grafted” him onto the official Lost Forest family tree to help us recapture and refresh the Lost Forests magic that so many people fell in love with.
And then other things are still exactly the same. We are the McDonnell family who originally partnered with Tony in opening every Lost Forest around the world, and we are still very much at the helm. For more than two decades we have held tight to the dream that one day, maybe … just maybe … we might get a chance to reopen The Lost Forests and share the likes of the loveable PUGGLES and their friends with a new generation.
And now we are.
The doors are ready to open on a brand new and exciting chapter of making magical memories for people of all ages once more. We are so grateful to our wonderful friends, families, ‘Forest People’, and devoted fans who have given their love and support in helping us replant our first new Lost Forest in such a long time. Thanks to social media we have had people reaching out to us and donating their Lost Forest toys and books to help us remake so many things we didn’t archive well back in the 90’s. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This is truly a miracle of the Internet age.
When you visit us in Melbourne’s District Docklands shopping centre, we hope you enjoy making some new lasting memories in The Lost Forest. We are working hard to honour and pay tribute to the nostalgia of the Forests gone by, while at the same time reimagining some old ideas in new ways for a new generation.
It’s great to be back.
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