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Thread: Amazing vintage caravans; where are they now?

  1. #1

    Amazing vintage caravans; where are they now?

    Vintage caravans are quite the thing, highly sought after, lovingly decorated and restored, and fortunately some examples are preserved in major collecting institutions for all to enjoy. Trove reveals some fascinating examples of homemade caravans. Where are they now? Could any of these caravans still exist in sheds somewhere?

    A unique example,the Propert 'Trailaway' can be seen at the National Museum of Australia. Also in the NMA collection is the portable cabin, made from a water tank, used on geological surveys by Dr John and Roma Dulhunty, who called it the 'Hollow Log'. A fascinating article about the Dulhunty’s and their travels in this vehicle can be seen here.

    An early example of a pop up homemade camper from 1928 overcomes much of the wind resistance of traditional caravans. A little later we can see L. Hutchesson’s homemade caravan in action at Millicent, South Australia. Two boys set off on bicycles for a camping holiday at Snug in Tasmania towing their homemade caravan.

    At the other end of the scale there are many caravans repurposed from aircraft fuselages, providing size and accommodation on a generous scale; from a Douglas troop carrier, a wrecked Dakota and one from a Liberator bomber.

    The travelling dental surgery, weighing two tons, explored South Gippsland with a ‘comfortable waiting-room and a surgery’. The mobile baby health centre caravan toured Victoria’s Mallee taking health care to the mothers and babies of the region. This apartment on wheels was another example of the motor caravan.

    A mobile repairs caravan enabled Mr and Mrs Hill to undertake ‘a de luxe tinkers' tour’, travelling around Australia from N.S.W. through to the Northern Territory, repairing farmers' agricultural equipment.

    A mobile hairdressing salon touring Western Australia was set up by the Auburn family in 1948. ’The Interior of the caravan salon is laid out in 3 sections with sliding doors, and it is attractively appointed with every feature of a city hairdressing salon’.

    And if you can’t find anything in a shed near you, plans for building your own retro ‘Rover’ caravan start in this edition of the Western Mail.

  2. #2
    G'day mweight,

    You ask “where are they now ?”.
    There is a very active vintage caravan web site here in Australia which as been devoted to preserving Australia's touring heritage since 2002. It has a very comprehensive history section to aid in the identification and study of our touring heritage, and we consult Trove often with this purpose in mind.
    For one week commencing on the 28th April this year the vintagecaravans.com forum will be holding their fourth National Vintage Caravan Gathering at Cowra NSW. We expect to have in excess of 150 vintage and Classic caravans in attendance.
    So there you are..... that is where you can see some of these amazing Vintage Caravans in April/May 2012.

  3. #3
    Thanks very much Blimey! It's fantastic you are finding Trove useful in the quest for vintage caravans. Great link to the Museums with vintage caravans listed in your history section.
    150 vintage caravans at Cowra sounds amazing!

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria
    Posts
    5

    Thank heavens for Betsy

    "The Age" featured a story on a vintage caravan this past weekend. http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/th...210-1smh1.html

  5. #5
    Liz
    I love that story, particularly this line 'Sometimes she just drives her to a quiet street near her home in St Kilda and bunkers down with a DVD'

    How's that for getting away from it all and it might be just around the corner!

  6. #6
    Hello mweight,
    There is indeed one in our shed - it was home built in 1952 by a Mr Ted White.
    We acquired it in 1975 and it has been shedded ever since and is still licensed.
    The van is 16' in length, is of bondwood with aluminium sheeting glued to the roof - I don't know if the aluminium was original.
    The inside is basically unchanged except for the replacement of the two burner stove with an oven. The kero fridge was converted to gas and a bath fitted below a bunk.
    Externally the axle and wheels were replaced with a set with over-ride brakes.
    Copper screws with countersunk washers had been used to affix the external sheeting. There was woodrot damage to some lower frames which necessitated removal of front and rear sheeting for repair and one large external bondwood sheet (and one internal) had de-laminated because it was ordinary ply, so had to be replaced. These repairs took place in 1984 and 1989.
    The caravan is still used about once a week as overflow accommodation.

  7. #7
    Hi acjeff
    That is fantastic news. It sounds well loved and well used. I hope blimey sees your post; maybe you could check out the Vintage Caravan Forum and let them know too. It would be great to get to Cowra in April to see the Vintage Caravan Nationals. There really is something very lovely about vintage caravans!

  8. #8
    I spy

    I see acjeff has joined the vintage caravan forum a few days ago mweight so...welcome to both forums jeff.

    Always interested to hear about a new vintage caravan being discovered so go down to the Members Photos section of the forum jeff and post a few photos

    mweight....a new book has just been published by the "Caravan and Camping Industries Association of South Australia" exploring the development of the caravan industry in South Australia, it is called Still swinging the Billy... it is interesting to realise that South Australia was at the forefront of caravanning in Australia.

    Anyway...... as I wasn't able to be present at the launch of the book just a few weeks ago I am off to watch a video of the launch that I have just found on YouTube

  9. #9

    Homemade Caravans

    Quote Originally Posted by blimey View Post
    I spy

    I see acjeff has joined the vintage caravan forum a few days ago mweight so...welcome to both forums jeff.

    Always interested to hear about a new vintage caravan being discovered so go down to the Members Photos section of the forum jeff and post a few photos

    mweight....a new book has just been published by the "Caravan and Camping Industries Association of South Australia" exploring the development of the caravan industry in South Australia, it is called Still swinging the Billy... it is interesting to realise that South Australia was at the forefront of caravanning in Australia.

    Anyway...... as I wasn't able to be present at the launch of the book just a few weeks ago I am off to watch a video of the launch that I have just found on YouTube
    Hello Blimey,
    Have eventually posted some photos of the van on the Vintage Caravans Site. Some-one may recognise it if it was built from a kit available in 1952 - Here's hoping!

  10. #10
    G'day mweight,

    Did you manage to get to the vintagecaravans.com Nationals at Cowra ?

    We had a great gathering of vintage caravans spread over both caravan parks in the town, on the Sunday we had an “open day” for interested members of the public to come and look at the vans and talk to the owners. As a result of that we heard that an eldrely couple on an outlying property had an old 1930s caravan in their shed and were willing to sell it..... I bought it and have used “Trove” to try and get some verification as to when the company, “Windmill Car Trailer Co.”, actually produced caravans, it would appear they only did so between 1936 and 1938, so we are very lucky to have this only surviving example of the brand.... that we know of.

    If you would like to see the “Windmill Caravan” click Here .

    If you would like to see some photos of the vintage caravans at Cowra click Here .... and there is also a nice article and photos in the July issue of “Caravan World” magazine.

    So getting back to your original question mweight Vintage Caravans are still being rescued and Trove is still being very useful as a source of information about the old vans we find.

    Thank you Trove.

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