Post by Don Ricardo on Jan 7, 2009 23:20:43 GMT 10
Ballarat, Vic Post by Aussieambo on 1 January 2008:
Hi, Some of you might have noticed a vacation brand bondwood caravan on ebay. If not check it out below [Reference to expired Ebay page]
Unfortunately the pictures of the interior are not very descriptive.
I work with a guy at SA Ambulance whose father was involved in the company that built these vans. These vans were built in Ballarat. From recollection, I believe that one of his father's workmates left the business to start Franklin caravans, could this have been Geoff Robinson.
If you look closely at the Vacation van on ebay and then look at Franklin pictures posted under the Franklin 'down History Lanes' thread, you could say there are some similarities. Anyway I am now pressing my work colleague for more info and pictures and will post these (if & when!!!) under the appropriate threads Cheers Graem
Post by Don Ricardo on May 19, 2010 9:56:00 GMT 10
Hi Neal and Bron,
Congratulations on your purchase, and welcome to the V V forum.
Unfortunately just about all we know at this point about Vacation caravans is on this thread. There have been various enquiries/references to Vacation vans over the last 18 months or so from people who either wanted to sell or buy a Vacation, but no historical info. However, looking through my files I do have some pics of two Vacation vans which I will post following this.
In the meantime, it would be great if you could post some pics of your van. It's surprising what we can find out from looking at photos, and there are a couple of people interested in Franklins who can comment on whether they think Aussieambo's suggestion that Vacations were very similar to Franklins is correct.
There are instructions on how to post photos on the forum in the Helpful Hints section, but come back to me if you have trouble working out how to do it. (The first time is the worst... )
hi, Neal gave up but i think i have done it. i have loaded photos in the section " members photo album. any help anyone can give on the design or maker would be appreciated... i am beginning to wonder if the "Vacation" label may be a "model" rather than the "brand". Bron
Editorial note: Click here for Neal & Bron's thread about their Vacation caravan, or here for their Photobucket page. (Don Ricardo)
thanks Don for the welcome.... i see Neal did not tell you the story of how we came to own the van.....
1. decided we wanted a van as we both love camping but hate the packing and unpacking (and both work full time so holidays tend to be 4 days here and there).
2. wanted a caravan like we both remember as kids , not a newer style . daughter selling her caravan (lives in the country 4 hours from here so we had never seen it) fetched daughters caravan, 1967 Millard, quite nice but the ceiling full of water. On investigation half the ceiling rotted and small amount of frame in the roof. Lots of modifications by previous owner. well done but overkill. bed made of "huge" chunks of hardwood. shelves same wood. etc etc...
3 now fixing daughters van for sale. way to big for us... 16 feet and huge high roof. (oh, and we blow up our car radiator towing it back from daughters house to ours)
4. hunting for van and see the "vacation " van on ebay. decide it will go way to high in price for us and forgot about it. file away in mind as "nice van" and forget about it.
5. look around at vans but nothing up to the "vacation" van style and condition.
6. text the seller of the "vacation " van on ebay and put in offer if first buyer does not follow through. get text back... "sorry , buyer coming on saturday to pay and pick up..."
7. file away in mind as " stupid us should have followed ebay auction" sold for opening price...and forget about it.
8. get text a few days later..... "buyer did not show" do you still want van..... yesssssssss
9. reality check.... van in country victoria ...we are in suburban brisbane...ahhhhhhhhhh
10. talking to eldest daughter about van and how we now own a van in country victoria that we have never seen , and she says " why dont you get dad to look at it...he lives just up the road from there in victoria..........." (my ex husband from 30 years ago )...
11. phoned lovely ex husband and he says " yes not a problem , i will go look at it. I know the bloke selling it".... well he did and then put new tyres on it for us... a new trailer plug and checked all the bearing etc....... and even put us up for the night when we drove down to pick it up.... what a lovely bloke.
12. big day arrives. ( after new radiator, new water pump, new transmission cooler ) leave brissie on the thursday night, drive for 5 hours and have a kip in the back of the station wagon.... drive on and arrive in victoria on the friday night.
13. pick up van on saturday morning.... first lesson on vintage vans...... seller insisted that the towball was a smaller size so we did not use our hayman reese towball....... now you would think that two smart adults would have worked out that if the van was over 40 years old then the towball would also be the same age and maybe we should not use it..... (but we had driven a long way and were tired).... anyway....... just around the corner from where we picked up the van the towball failed..... the nut sheared off the ball and yes..........our van came unattached.....thank god for safety chains....... Neal was outstanding and did not panic or brake but simply drove into the gravel on the side of the road and let the van come to a nice dignified stop......bless him........ no damage to car or van (only doing 30klms hour).
14. off to the local motor shop where the salesman whipped out a set of calipers and measured the offending (and vintage) towball and declared it to be a normal 50m. so on with our tow ball and set off on the trip home.
15. arrive back in brisbane on the monday afternoon and settle the little lady into her new home and bingo, the handle on the coupling to release the towball snaps off......
16. as we had unhitched and hitched that little van more than five times on the trip back we figure she must have wanted to come home with us.... the handle must have hit the tow hitch when she came loose when first picked up...... but she didnt break until in her new home.....
or am i being fanciful............ maybe......maybe not...
17. i think it was all meant to be......
all we need now is a name for her,,,, and a gas certificate and rwc etc etc .....
Post by aussieambo on Nov 15, 2010 14:08:55 GMT 10
I am still in th ehunt for more info about Vacation Caravans and have got onto my fellow work colleague who provided the following. It's not much but it is something and he is going to persue his poor elderly, forgetful and not much of historian, father for some more info.
Vacation Caravans was owned by Evans Brothers who were Funeral Directors in Ballarat. The caravan business was in a large warehouse which fronted onto Humphrey Street and was located at the rear of their Funeral business premises.
Thanks for gathering that information for us, every little bit helps.
Prompted by the information that Evans Bros. were involved I've had a look at some of the “Caravan Trade Directory” Keith Winser published in the back of his “Caravan & Touring Manuals”.
Long ago I stopped thinking these directories were entirely accurate but..... F. & H. Evans Bros. 400 Murray Rd. Prestons are listed in the 1961 & 1962 Directories only as suppliers of Equipment. There is no mention of them in the 1959 directory..... I don't have the 1960 one .
Can your mate's Dad give us a year when he thinks they may have started manufacturing the “Vacation” or.... might he recollect that they may have been agents for “Franklin” & rebadged them as "Vacation" 'vans.
Post by Don Ricardo on Nov 21, 2010 17:55:52 GMT 10
Hi Cobber and Aussieambo,
The following advertisement for F & H Evans Bros, showing them as being located in Reservoir (a suburb of Melbourne), was published in the December 1963 Australian Motor Manual (p 44):
The advert claims they are "Australia's leading manufacturer", presumably of tow bars. So they were involved in tow bar manufacture from at least the late 50's to the early 60's.
Given their location in suburban Melbourne, it seems unlikely that they were also undertakers and caravan manufacturers in Ballarat... But then anything's possible. I'm still somewhat surprised that a bunch of undertakers built caravans in the first place!
My previous reference to Evans Bros producing annexes was actually off the mark. The firm I was thinking of was Evan Evans which purchased the business of Radins in 1974. Radins started producing annexes in 1945 and presumably continued under Evans ownership.
A bit of trivia for you: Evan Evans, the man who founded the company which was named after him, was the co-designer of the Australian flag in 1901. Nothing to do with Vacation caravans, but an interesting link with caravan annexes...
I have read all about Vacation vans with interest.I once worked with a great hard but funny salesman(ken Skinner)who said that when the funeral and coffin making business went a bit slow they would down tools and help make caravans instead.From a funeral attendant to mastering hammer,saw and nails in a flash.He told funny stories about it all the time.It kept us laughing for ages - those were good old days. He knew every nut and screw in both a van and coffin! As I worked with him at Franklin Caravans in the latter part of the 1970's I was amazed when a customer would come into the shop with queries about a Vacation van.Ken would immediately astound them with his knowledge of it's history and components.They would be over the moon that someone could help them with a part or source reference and leave practically floating on air. Sadly,there are not many helpful people like Ken anymore.
Evans Bros. Funeral Directors in Ballarat started up manufacture in competition to Franklin, Coronet and Huntsman. The Vacation name was used by Evans Bros. They had nothing to do with the towbar company in Preston.
I have just purchased a Vacation Caravan in good condition. Just minor work to be completed. Was built by funeral people Evans Bros, 8 Humffray Street in Ballarat. Has a little metal plate on the side to indentify it. Dont know the year yet but am working on it. I suspect 1958 or thereabouts.
We currently have a 12 foot Vacation caravan in at work around a 63 or 64 model . Came on a tilt tray from the Port Cambell area . Unfortunately the rust worms and wood worms were very hungry they even ate a two foot square hole in the floor but he didn't loose the hatch top as it was wired to part of the window that was solid . The hatch frame and six inches around it disappeared . The customer is looking at getting it rebuild as it belonged to her father. It will be a strip it down to nothing , keep the cladding windows door and cupboards and chassis and dispose of the rest (it is that wet it wont burn) but it will look and be as good as new when it is done .We hope to find out soon what is happening and will keep you posted. The caravan is very similar in shape as the one posted above but the cupboard doors are painted ply wood same colour blue as the colour flash Regards Gerald
Last Edit: Jul 4, 2012 18:52:32 GMT 10 by overlanda
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To Don Ricardo, I am a recent joiner to this forum so please excuse my inability to communicate properly. I think I have added to this particular site because of your mention to being connected to a member of the SA Ambos. Does that mean you are in SA, as I am also and have recently purchased a 1966 Viscount Ambassador van which I would certainly appreciate an opportunity to met personally and hear your advice. Regards, Bob (Adelaide)