Chesney caravans (Chermside, Qld) May 16, 2011 12:49:16 GMT 10
Post by Don Ricardo on May 16, 2011 12:49:16 GMT 10
Hi Ray, Cobber and Brock,
Ray: Not quite a magnifying glass, but a reasonable size PC screen helps! In addition when you know your subject reasonably well, you tend to pick up things others might miss. In this case the location and shape of the Don badge (even though tiny in the pic) is unmistakeable.
Shame about not having the pics of your Chesney. It would have been good to have seen them.
Cobber & Brock: The following advert for the Chesney Featherweight is from the 1951/52 edition of Winser, indicating that Chesney was certainly building its own vans at that point:
(Source: Keith Winser, Australian Caravans & Touring - 1951/52 4th edition, p 92)
There is no mention of Chesney in the 1948 or 1949 Winsers (not sure about the 1950 edition?), but there was a fairly limited range of manufacturers listed in each of those editions, so that doesn't necessarily tell us anything about Chesney.
The 1951/52 edition also includes the additional photo and description of the Featherweight Cobber has posted from the 1954 Winser in Reply #5, but there is no mention of the Countryman and the Champion models which were referred to in the 1954 Winser. In addition the listing of manufacturers and models in the 1951/52 Winser only shows the Featherweight. I surmise from that, that the Featherweight model was the first caravan with the Chesney name on it, and that the model range wasn't increased until 1953 or 1954.
(As an aside note that the Featherweight in the 1951/52 advert has a conventional door, while the Featherweight in the info posted by Cobber has a stable door.)
Re the Chermside history website - I am not sure that it is trying to say that Chesney only started manufacturing in 1960:
"This [Alex] did for about 4 or 5 years and in 1950...started Chesney Caravans Pty Ltd.
"He began the business buying and selling used caravans and adding new caravans bought from backyard manufacturers."
Perhaps the first Chesney brand vans were the ones built by backyarders? Possibly to Chesney specifications?
"The Chermside business was a sales and service centre employing eleven people. Mr Arthur Doherty had another caravan building business a few doors along Pilba Street where he sold Trailer Home caravans."
The website refers to Doherty having another caravan building business, which implies that Alex Chesney also had a caravan building business?
Having said that, I'm not sure how much we can rely on the website for precise dates, etc. It also refers to the 'Trail-a-Home' brand as 'Trailer Home'...
Re Alex and Frank Chesney - in Reply #6 above, Stevemc refers to 'Alec Chesney' being the owner of Chesney caravans. Maybe Frank and Alex/c were brothers or father and son? But then again, the Chermside history website has got photos and info from the Chesney family, so surely they didn't get the name wrong? Maybe its the Combined Caravan Clubs of Qld that's gone astray?