This Don advert from Modern Motor in 1954 also has a few lines at the bottom about the new 'Green Acres' caravan park, described as "Don's latest contribution to caravanning in Australia." I wonder if anyone has a brochure or knows what became of it as it no longer seems to exist according to my on line searches.
Sorry Firefighter, I missed Cobber's original post, I skimmed through looking for the same advert I was going to post.
In any event I'm pleased to hear that Don's legacy has survived, I wonder if someone living nearby can convince them to allow a copy of their 'Green Acres' photo to be 'posted here for posterity.'
In answer to Cobber's original question wondering if any other caravan manufacturer had developed a park, the attached item from Modern Motor, Sept., 1950 shows that Caravan Park Pty. Ltd. were involved in the development of the Lansvale Caravan Park near Liverpool, N.S.W. in 1950. I haven't researched when Lansvale became operational but one could assume it would take a year or two to develop although it seems it was already in use to some extent.
Lansvale unfortunately did not survive the pressure of urban development and it closed a few years back with all the usual hue and cry from permanent residents and it has now been developed as a housing estate.
I can't help wondering what was done to alleviate the periodic flooding from the George's River that was common many years ago, maybe the new residents of Lansvale need to keep some wellies close by
Cobber, who is enjoying some warmth in more northern climes at present, may have kept tabs on Lansvale and have something to offer too.
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 20, 2011 18:52:10 GMT 10
Hi Griffin, Firefighter and Sheppo,
I have quite a bit of information about the development of Green Acres which I haven't posted yet. After Don Robinson closed the Don Caravan Company quite precipitously in 1964/5, it became his only major interest and involvement in the caravan industry...after 30+ years.
Interesting you should mention Carapark, Griffin. By 1954 Carapark had set up a motel, and then in May 1954 broke itself up into three companies - Carapark Pty Ltd to handle retail activities and caravan hiring, Carapark Motels Pty Ltd to manage its existing motel (and presumably develop others?), and Caravan Park Pty Ltd which was changed to Carapark Productions Pty Ltd which handled the manufacturing of caravans and owned the other two companies.
So it seems as if both Don and Carapark saw either the opportunity, or necessity, to diversify their activities at around the same time.
Our family's Don spent approximately 12 months at Green Acres after my grandparents purchased it to assist them in pay it off, I believe it was a payment plan type thing offered by the caravan company.
Post by Don Ricardo on Feb 17, 2013 22:05:11 GMT 10
I had the privilege earlier today of speaking to Pat, the daughter of Don Robinson who built Don caravans and after whom they were named (Don that is).
Pat was able to tell me quite a few interesting things about her father and the vans he built. One was that in her teenage years (and perhaps earlier) Don used to pay her sixpence for each lightshade she made for the vans. This involved cutting the parchment to shape, punching holes around the perimeter of the shade then lacing it to a wire frame. She told me that she could make about two an hour.
It was a bit of a thrill to talk to someone who most probably made the light shades for our van!
Hi DR what an interesting conversation with Pat! I know it's rude to ask a woman her age but what age bracket does she fall into?
As you know I've been chasing parchment to make up a shade for our Don. I've examined the remaining shade to see how it was made & had thought to myself "gee it looks like it was made by a kid"!!! So I'm wondering if Pat made our shades as well! Good money a shilling an hour! Eventually the 3 cans of Dulux Silversheen arrived by courier from Perth after Xmas, having taken over a month to get here. Anyway it's the real deal! So I suggest if anyone wants Dulux Silversheen for their Don, then it's the only place I could find it. I phoned up just about everyone locally, Bris, Dulux etc. Sorry I can't recall name of people in Perth but google in Dulux Silversheen 3 litres for $50 & up it will pop. Just choose another courier than Allied Express!
Post by Surf Tragic on Feb 18, 2013 22:49:54 GMT 10
That has to be the most interesting thing I could imagine , to actually speak to the Daughter of the original Don Robinson, what a privilege !! Even though she must be a great age, evidently she must be in good trim by the sound of the conversation, truly part of a legend !
Just surfing the web when I stumbled on your articles on Don caravans. We have a Don Cadet (according to your data). It was purchased in Ringwood, Victoria, in 1976 and has been with us ever since. We used it fairly frequently for the first few years but nowadays she only gets used at Easter time for a glorious fortnight up the bush. Fortunately she doesn't complain too much re the bullock track and creek crossing we take to get to our camping spot. As far as I know she is almost original except for a fridge, foam cushions, window winders and other sundry items. It still has the original lights, water pump, laminex, stove, and paintwork inside. We had to replace a few tiles on the floor and tail lights and remove some dry rot from around the step but other than that have done nothing to her. She has some dry rot in the back and some near the door so she will need some work soon. Just thought you'd like to know there is another one alive and well and living in Sale, Vic.
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 4, 2013 18:44:50 GMT 10
Welcome to the forum, and thanks for telling us about your Cadet. It's exciting to hear about another Don out there. Given that you've had it it for almost 40 years, I'm sure it must hold some fantastic memories for you and your family, and its wonderful to hear that it's still in regular use.
I'm interested to hear more about your van. What size is it? The 15 ft Cadets are the most common, but there were also 9 ft, 12 ft and 18 ft models. Also do you know the serial number? (There should be an external serial number plate somewhere close to the bottom left or right hand corner of the door, and/or also a similar plate somewhere inside the van.) The serial number will allow us to give an approximate build date for your van if you are interested, although perhaps you already know that?
If you have any photos of your van, I - and I'm sure other Don aficionados on the forum - would love to see them. There are instructions on how to post photos on the forum in the 'Forum Guidelines & Helpful Hints' section of the forum, or I would be happy to help you do that.
Thanks for offer of help. Have done quite well - for me! Reduced the size of photos, opened an account with photobucket, uploaded images but now am going round in circles. Can't figure out how to attach them to my message. Your guidance would be appreciated. My van is a 12 footer and her number is 2290.
Here goes with the photos. Didn't realise how sad she really looks. A photo is worth a thousand words. Her number is 2290 and she is 12 ft. Thanks all for help. Seems like a lot of gobbledy gook - just hope photos work.
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 11, 2013 20:36:31 GMT 10
Thanks for posting the photos of your Cadet, and congratulations on mastering Photobucket.
As I indicated previously, the 12 ft Cadets were a lot scarcer on the ground than the larger 15 ft model. We have only had reports of three or four 12 ft Cadets on the forum.
Based on the serial number of your van (2290) my estimate of its build date is around 1959 or 1960. Unlike the leadlight series Dons we don't really have an anchor point for serial numbes, except that we know the Cadet series was introduced in 1956, with serial numbers commencing at 2000. Production ended in around 1965 and we don't know what the last serial number was, but we have a record of relatively late model Cadets with serial numbers of just over 4000. That means that 2000 Cadets were built over a nine year period, or an average of about 220 per year. BUT production didn't start at that rate and the 12 ft model wasn't introduced until a couple of years after the 15 ft model. In addition the Cadet with the serial number 2369 was reputed have been purchased in 1961, hence my estimate.
Sometimes people find build dates written in pencil on the inside or underneath drawers and cupboards. I can't recall that happening with a Don, but it's worth having a look just in case.
Also a question for you: Does the serial number plate in your van say 'Cadet' or 'Don'?
Using my new found skills - unfortunately my camera skills (or the camera) are not up to scratch but the tag reads as follows: CADET MANUFACTURED BY "DON" CARAVAN CO. PTY. LTD. OAKLEIGH VICTORIA SERIAL NO. 2290. Noticed that early photos of the property have the banner Don Caravan Co. whereas on my van the banner is Don Caravan Co. Pty. Ltd. The authorities used to be pretty severe regarding the proper display of the business status. Don't know whether this will give you any clues pinning down year of manufacture or not. Just a thought. Thanks for your help. Yvonne.
Post by Don Ricardo on Dec 17, 2013 22:07:21 GMT 10
Thanks for posting the photo of the serial number plate on your Cadet.
The reason I was interested to see it is that on some Cadets, Don used a 'Cadet' plate like yours, but on others - including some later than yours - they used a standard 'Don' serial number plate. I'm trying to work out when they used the different plates and whether there was a pattern to it. Once we work that out it may help us date the different vans as they appear.
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 5, 2014 23:48:01 GMT 10
Last night a few of us vintage vanners had the tremendous privilege of attending the Caravan Industry Association of Victoria '2014 Hall of Fame Dinner' with members of the Robinson family when they were presented with a Hall of Fame award on behalf of Don Robinson. Don was the designer and builder of Don caravans. He was amongst the first group of people admitted to the CIAV Hall of Fame at its first dinner in 2012, but at that point the CIAV wasn't able to contact any of the Robinson family, so it was awarded 'in absentia'.
Last night however, Don's daughter Pat, his granddaughter Cherie, nephew Graeme, and Graeme's wife Anna were able to be at the dinner to accept the award recognising Don's contribution to the Victorian caravan industry as a pioneer manufacturer and innovator, former president of the CIAV and also a contributor to the caravan park industry. It was great to see Pat and her cousin Graeme up on stage receiving the award:
Pat is a wonderful lady and gave a very gracious acceptance speech reflecting on her father's life and the development of the caravan undustry:
Group photo after the presentation - Pat seated and holding the Hall of Fame award (which is glass and a bit hard too see!), Cherie (standing at the left), Graeme (centre), Anna (standing at right), and an interloper - me:
The other vintage vanners at the dinner - Brenten and his wife Robyn on the left, Dona Ricardo centre, and Doug and Vicki (Don257) on the right:
The theme of the CIAV Dinner was "A Night in Vegas", so of course the floor show included lots of dancers...
...including Dean Martin (singer and impersonator Mark Andrews):
Austin Powers, Tom Jones and Elvis Presley also dropped in to entertain us during the evening (channeled via Mark Andrews). The people who were admitted to the Hall of Fame for 2014 included Don Tebb, the son of Charlie Tebb the founder of Tebbs Canvas Products...
...and (name to be added) Evans, who was involved in producing Evans Bros couplings and various other caravan related companies:
It was a great night and a real thrill to see Don Robinson recognised as part of the caravan Hall of Fame!
Thanks to the CIAV for inviting us vintage vanners to the dinner, and especially to Tara Nestor from the CIAV who has been so supportive and encouraging of the vintage caravan movement. Special thanks also to the Robinson family for allowing the rest of us to share their evening with them.