Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 31, 2009 20:39:46 GMT 10
A week or so ago I bought a copy of a history of the RACV at one of the second had book stalls at our local Saturday market. The book includes a couple of pages about caravanning and the establishment of the RACV Caravan Club, as well as the display of caravans at motor shows. The section concerned commences with the following passage:
(Source: Susan Priestley, The Crown of the Road: The story of the RACV, 1983, p. 95)
It is interesting to note that early accounts of caravanning in the RACV journal (1930) consisted of stories of intrepid adventurers taking caravans to out of the way places, but by 1936/7 there was beginning to be real interest in caravanning as good way for fairly ordinary folk to have an economical holiday.
The RACV history also mentions that 1937 was the first time that the Melbourne Motor Show had a comprehensive display of caravans. This Motor Show was called ‘The Coronation Motor Show’ in honour of the coronation of King George VI which had occurred a week of so earlier.
The Coronation Motor Show was reported by The Argus of Thursday, 20 May 1937 )page 16) as follows:
The article commences with the comment: “At last Australians are beginning to recognize the advantages of the caravan trailer. Thousands of these attractive little traveling flats are to be found on the roads throughout Great Britain and the United States, and many people use them as permanent homes. Cheap to buy, and economical to move about, the caravan trailer enables the motorist to enjoy the nomadic existence of the gipsy.”
The Argus article is accompanied by a couple of photos which are hard to see when copied and posted, but include pictures of the Land Cruiser factory at Garden Vale, Victoria, the inside of the Land Cruiser Duchess caravan, and the Land Cruiser Sports teardrop. All are taken from the Land Cruiser brochure of the time which can be seen on the Our Touring Past website here.
However, The Argus article is also accompanied by this photo of a South Australian Furness caravan:
The caption says: “An attractive four-berth type made locally to a price which compares very favourably with that of overseas models."
Post by Don Ricardo on Mar 8, 2011 20:36:04 GMT 10
Re: 1st Australian Caravan Show
Thanks for posting the further info about the amateur caravan builders competitions. I knew I'd heard about/seen some other information somewhere. Some of the amateurs' vans were pretty up market, eh?
Also just so everyone knows, with Firefighter's permission, the thread on the 1st Australian caravan show has been combined with the thread on Caravan shows in DHL. Will make the info a bit easier to find in the future, at least that's the theory!
this post by griffin has been abridged and copied to this thread as a request by one of our esteemed senior members.[/color]
A recent purchase from ebay of a copy of Motor Manual had it bundled with another magazine, the November 1939 issue of 'Australian Ford News', maybe because the MM had a Ford on the cover. No particular interest to me being a devout GM man but on arrival the AFN proved to be of more interest than the MM.
A most interesting thing though was a small advert with bold print at the bottom referring to the N.R.M.A. (R.A.C.Q., R.A.C.V. etc for those outside N.S.W.) Caravan Exhibition, although it had passed by the time the advert was published.
This led me to wonder if a report on the show had been published and by coincidence a few weeks later I managed to purchase some N.R.M.A. 'Open Road' newspapers from 1939,40 & 41. Unfortunately none of the issues I bought covered it though.
So a visit to the N.R.M.A.'s Library ensued where I found the November issue contained a report and one photo. The report is very general in the form of a walk through various exhibits but it does not contain a mention of any specific make of van.
This is part of the photo from the Exhibition showing the Caravan Park display. Nice big van in the foreground and I assume the other van is also part of Caravan Park's display. Love the curved awning, must need an assortment of pole lengths to maintain the curve?
The most interesting part of the report was that the 1939 Camping and Caravan Exhibit was in fact the second one to be held. More homework.
Love the research when I have time. I'd like to see a history section in the mag too but don't know that I'm qualified to provide it, far more knowledgeable personages on the Forums than I. Happy to provide scans in due course from what I have if it helps. Certainly a couple of interesting items have turned up and will be posted in due course.
That brings me to Cobber, jeez you're a hard task master, fully intend to add the info to the Caravan Show thread but I'm retired you know and kept busy, I have that big roadster to finish, my Vauxhall book, Velox motor to build, the garden, caravan brakes to sort, you know the story, all takes time. There must be a government department that you can apply to for extra days in the week when you retire?? Isn't there??
Firstly I'll finish adding to the Caravan Park thread though so not to derail my train of thought
Further to the post on the 1939 N.R.M.A. Camping and Caravan Exhibition, the attached is the advertisement for the event, published in The Open Road, 9 October, 1939. I think it appeared a couple of times, it is only the size of a matchbox in the paper so they weren't overdoing it! A much larger advert was also published but in my excitement and rush to copy stuff I actually missed copying it. Something for next visit to the library.
This is the entire photo of the 1939 N.R.M.A. Camping and Caravan Exhibition from The Open Road, 2 November, 1939. It was the only one they seem to have published. I have 'fiddled' it a little in the centre to remove the black shadow from the page join, just HATE photos that are printed across two pages unless it's a centrefold!
The van in the lower left is "The Open Road Caravan" by Propert, more about that in a separate post in due course.
The story mentioned in the caption was quite lengthy but it did not mention any van or other equipment by name and took the form of a general walk-through, mentioning various items as they went, rather disappointing after finding the report. I doubt if it will be clear enough to read if I post the whole thing but I will add the list of exhibitors that was included as it is interesting.
I'm now curious if this Exhibition Building still exists, I can't place it at the rear of Central Station, not that I spend much time there.
This is the list of exhibitors at the 1939 N.R.M.A. Camping and Caravan Exhibition from the review article published in The Open Road on 2 November, 1939.
Under the caravan section the names Brindle, Caravan Park, and Jenison are all known and listed in DHL. The 'Property Pty Ltd' listing is an print error and should be Properts Pty Ltd and Transport Engineering Company produced Nomad caravans.
J.G. Ledsam and J.G. Murphy both offered caravans also and I have a couple of advertisements for both companies which I will add to the DHL thread in due course.
Henderson's Federal Spring Works offered caravan chassis and components in newspaper advertising at this time. In the 1950s they also advertised caravans in kit form but I've not found anything to indicate this was the case in 1939.
British Australian Arc Welding sounds like it might have been a supplier of heavy bits like Henderson's but I've not found anything at this time.
That leaves G. H. Olding and Sons who were at 47 Parramatta Road, Glebe and from a recent post of 'Nutters' they were a firm of body builders. They may have offered chassis or complete vans or mobile home type conversions. Somewhere in the back of mind I have something relating to Olding and Son but I can't find it
Holden's Motor Bodies were still advertising for camping body conversions which I find interesting as they were then owned by General Motors but still taking in work outside of churning our GMH products.
Pity the article about the Exhibition didn't clarify who may have offered what, in due course no doubt some of these things will be clarified.
The first post in this thread referred to the 1954 Melbourne show and the fact that there was a section for amateur builders, other posts have also referred to it. This item from the October 1954 Australian Motor Manual names some of the winners.
The photo of the Carapark Hunter remains because I'm lazy
And the inside of a couple of the award winning vans.
This is the entire photo of the 1939 N.R.M.A. Camping and Caravan Exhibition from The Open Road, 2 November, 1939...
The story mentioned in the caption was quite lengthy but it did not mention any van or other equipment by name and took the form of a general walk-through, mentioning various items as they went, rather disappointing after finding the report...
The other day I came across an article from The Farmer and Settler newspaper of Thursday, 19 October 1939 (page 9), which provides more details about the 1939 NRMA Camping and Caravan Exhibition, including descriptions of some of the vans on display:
Note the comments about the Nomad and JGM caravans, as well as the Caravan Park' Covered Wagon' and 'Mobile Home' models in the third column.
For those of you who would prefer not to squint...
"The caravans shown are a vast improvement to those of but a comparatively short while ago, and it is evident that infinite care and thought has been put into the construction of every one of them. Every one is good, from the very cheapest, and every make shows interior and exterior finish with some thing that the other chap has not got in quite the same way.
"As tho writer listened to the conversations of visitors he found that the men praised the ventilation schemes, the wide window vision, tho radio and the general finish. The womenfolk hailed with delight the provisions for cooking comfortably, the many cupboards, cooking stoves, the wardrobes, the ice chest, and that not an inch of space that could be used for storage purposes had been overlooked, yet there was much room left for moving round. They noticed the correct color schemes, the settees, tables, and so on. The neatly fitted shelves for crockery and cooking utensils they said gave them fresh ideas for saving household space in their kitchens at home.
"Among the Caravans
"Among those displaying caravans were the Transport Engineering Coy, (the Nomad); Caravan Park Co, (Covered Wagon and Mobile Homes) and tho J.G. Models (Mr. J. G. Murphy).
"Nomad models included one camouflaged, a 1940 three-berth junior de luxe particularly suitable for small horse powered cars, a four berth standard model and the camouflaged one referred to. The interiors were very completely fitted with sunshine and ventilating roof, reinforced permanent weatherproof top, wash basins, radio, ice box, stove, water tanks, electric light, best inner spring mattresses, synthetic lacqucr finish, and many other delightful surprises for visitors.
"On the J.G.M. stand was a collapsible bungalow trailer, adjustable for service in five minutes, and a J.G.M. senior with two full-size adjustable bedroom lounges, each complete with double-bed and spacious tables, clothing and blanket lockers, specially constructed drawers, full height wardrobe, latest radio, electric light, pantry, stove, cutlery drawers, built in bath, porcelain enamel ice chest, wash basin, fly proof windows and doors.
The Covered Wagon and Mobile Homes shown by Mr. R, J. Rankin, of Caravan Park included one 16ft. long, 6ft. wide, 6ft, 3in. in height and it can berth five persons. It has a stove, electric clock, radio, stainless steel sink, full sized ice chest, mirror, 5-ft. high, dressing table, book shelves, hot and cold running water, toilet and shower, electric lighting. The Covered Wagon is 8ft. long and has two berths, table, lockers, shelves, wash basins, metal receptacle for cooking stove, place for clothes and linen, etc.
"There are other excellent exhibits of caravans but the foregoing notes will give an idea of tho completeness now incorporated in latest models.
"Trailers were represented in strong serviceable sizes and a trailer chassis was also shown."
Higher up this thread there are several reports posted about the 1939 NRMA Caravan & Camping Exhibition. It turns out there was also a 1938 NRMA Caravan & Camping Exhibition as reported in The Sydney Mail on Wednesday, 12 October 1938 (pages 44 & 45):
I'm reasonably certain the caravan in the top photo is a Land Cruiser, and 100% certain that the van in the bottom photo is a Caravan Park, either a Covered Wagon or Mobile Home model.
As you can see, the article covers not only caravans, but also car camper bodies, car tents and dinghies, as well as other camping paraphernalia. One thing stands out though - admission to the exhibition was FREE! Not like today when it feels like you just about need to take out a bank loan to buy a ticket to such an event.
If you're finding the article a bit hard to read, click on the hyperlink below the item to go to the article on the Trove website. However, the section of the article on caravanning is especially interesting, and is reproduced below:
"It was not until the motor-car, developed to a reliable state, came along that the yearly exodus from the cities grew to any great proportions. And with the motor-car came the production of ingeniously designed gear to give comfort to the tourist, and pack away into the car in the minimum space. At first this consisted of tents in all sorts of shapes and sizes, camp cookers, and, later on, small trailers into which this gear could be packed. But lately there has come into use the caravan trailer, a compact, miniature home on wheels, often equipped in the most elaborate fashion, but varying a great deal in this respect according to capacity and price.
"NOW very popular overseas, the caravan has already a great hold in Victoria and is attracting the attention of hundreds of tourists in this State.
"It has given motor touring such a great impetus, indeed, that the National Roads and Motorists' Association, which for years has been supplying an efficient road service to touring motorists, has arranged an exhibition of caravans and other camping gear in the Palladium, Yurong Street, Sydney, and that exhibition is now in full swing, having opened on Monday of this week.
"It is an exhibition packed full of interest, admission is free to everybody, and if the touring motorist cannot get from it some ideas for his next long-distance run, then there is something wrong with him.
"A Fine Array
"IN general terms we shall discuss what is on show. The outstanding feature of the exhibition is the tremendous variety of gear, gadgets, and auxiliaries which ingenious manufacturers have produced for the comfort and enjoyment of the holiday awheel.
"First to be considered, of course, because they are the newest idea and the most practical, are the caravans. These are in all sizes and embody all sorts of clever ideas. Some are downright luxurious, others are simpler but still very comfortable, but all have this in common, that they provide warm, comfortable sleeping quarters giving real protection from inclement weather and raised up from the happy hunting ground of those 'wogs' and strange animals which love to infest the tent pitched on the ground.
"THE illustrations depict examples of caravan which are actually to be seen at the exhibition.
"It will be noticed that the popular type runs on two wheels, as with this arrangement the caravan tracks better with the car pulling it. People who have taken caravans away say that they are surprisingly little trouble on the road and follow the car so well that they can almost be forgotten by the driver. The only small trouble with them is found when it is necessary to reverse with the caravan hitched. This can be done, however, by following a special technique; but the careful driver will find, in any case, that not much reversing will have to be done when the time comes to park the outfit, provided a little careful thought is given the matter.
"IN the early days of caravanning the vehicles produced were very simple affairs, devoid of everything but a bed or two and several rather exiguous cupboards for the storage of food. Now the caravan is growing up. As the photographs on this page show, to-day it is the thing to fit the interior with a good wash-basin, a large water-tank, ice-box, wardrobe, kitchen dresser complete with all the necessary kitchen utensils, and an efficient form of spirit stove.
"Chintz curtains and covers for the settee-cum-beds and tables and chairs also enter into the scheme of things. Most modern caravans also have electric light, either plugged into the car electrical system or deriving current from a special battery.
"To give the manufacturers full credit, they have indeed managed to make their caravans so very comfortable and attractive inside that an inspection of them induces the urge to beg, borrow, or steal one. Which, of course, is their praiseworthy object, though in the more conventional way of hiring or buying in the current coin of the realm."
Note the comment that "...to-day it is the thing to fit the interior with a good wash-basin, a large water-tank, ice-box, wardrobe, kitchen dresser complete with all the necessary kitchen utensils, and an efficient form of spirit stove". All mod cons, but not hugely different to what is included in modern caravans...except for the shower, toilet, washing machine, full oven, microwave, TV, sound system, airconditioner...!!