(source: posted by kaybee, Feb 4, 2006, who wrote: We found this 9ft 6 ish Castle van while we were following signs on lamp posts to a garage sale, only two suburbs from home. We instantly forgot about the garage sale, proceeding instead to make a deal with the van's owner which pleased us as much as it pleased him. He had been using it as a storage shed, so while he emptied it we went home to get a trailer, as although it was still registered it's lights were not working. ...It looks the same as retro1's Castle, except that this is one of those aluminium jobs. The interior fittings look identical to his posted photos, the cupboard doors have the same stain and handles on them, the icechest is the same, and the seat/bed arrangements are the same. ...The three portholes have the same designs on them as Retro's, one castle in the door and the other two are a left and right of a Mexican under a palmtree ...Outside looks to be the same shape and size, but is aluminium not bondwood. ...We think it may be a 58 or 59 model, as the shapes shown in 1960/61 books are totally different. The two opening side windows are wooden, as are the insect screens on these two windows, but the front and rear windows and screens are alumimium. ...The only other difference to Retro's that I can see from his posts is that our rear legs are already the screw down types, where he had a system that meant you had to undo a leather strap from under the van and then unscrew a wing nut. ...Our new van also has a wonderful makers badge/sign, red raised letters on a white pespex backing, I can't believe that it has survived still intact. We will have to wait awhile before we can start work on it, but it is just the perfect size to go behind our newly aquired F.J. sedan. If anyone has any 1958/59 caravan books, could you see if there is any mention of when they started to change to Aluminium, as we think that this is one of the transition models, which would explain the wooden windows still being used.
Reply by kaybee: we thought of that, but it looks too well done to have been altered in any way. Hopefully someone will have a 1958/59 Keith Winser book that will help to pin down the year. We checked inside as well as out and could not find any evidence of change, but we could be wrong, we would love to know for sure.
Reply by retro1: What an excellent find. It looks to be in great condition. Under the jockey wheel should be the chassis number (that's approx where mine is). The legs on mine had the leather strap but I changed them to make life easier by putting in modern wind-ups. It may also be older than you say and that someone has clad it with alloy sheeting and maybe the old windows replaced with new ones. The inside was the same colour as mine was originally. The glass is well etched isn't it? There is a picture in the 1957 caravan magazine and the model you have is a called a "Deluxe".
A few “Castle” caravan advertisements from various issues of “Australian Caravan and Touring Manual” The first and second from 1954 & 1957 show their address as Castle Hill in Sydney and indicate they have only two models... the “De Luxe” & the “Special Super De Luxe” (there are various options available on those two models)..
The third add. From the 1959 manual shows the address as Wahroonga, NSW. It features only the “Deluxe version Castle", the others being “Windcutter” by Castle. ?
The add. from the 1961 manual tells us the Aluminium “Windcutters” have a fibreglass roof... in the same add. It describes the “Castle” as being built of “Rescote” plastic-coated ply and indicates that Castle Caravan Sales & Hire Co. Pty. Ltd. are agents for "Viscount".
By 1962 the advertisements were concentrating on the "Viscount" with "Castle" caravans “also available” but still built from “Rescote". There is no mention of the "Windcutter" in 1962. The 1962 "Castle" is a different shape, and they have deleted the "porthole window"
Showing the range of Castle Caravans available from 1957 through to 1962 as displayed in the various Caravan & Touring manual Specification pages.
Hi. For those who may be interested, I worked for Castle Caravans during the early '70's. The business had moved to Pacific Hwy Wahroonga NSW. At that time, the business was operated by Jim Clucas who eventually sold the business and moved to Wauchope NSW, in the late seventies. It was regret that I observed that early this year the family was touched by tragedy when Jim Died. My best wishes to remaining family and I wanted to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work for such a wonderful man, those many years ago. Please see the following obit notice. www.obituary.com.au/obituary/index.php?s=dea&paged=620 Thank you Rod Rowan Phone 0405 950 280
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 2, 2008 22:26:51 GMT 10
Nice to have you contributing to the forum. Welcome.
Thank you for the information you have provided in your post about Castle Caravans, and your warm commendation of Jim Clucas.
Would you like to tell us what you remember about your time at Castle and about the caravans themselves? We have found that people who worked for the caravan companies can often provide some really interesting info about the history of the company and about the development and construction of the caravans themselves, so anything you would like to tell us will be appreciated, I'm sure.
I've copied the obituary for Jim you referred to in your post, because I guess it will disappear off the web at some stage, and this way people interested in the history of Castle Caravans can still refer to it. Hope that's OK with you.
"James Robert Edwin Clucas
CLUCAS, James Robert Edwin
January 22, 2007. Dearly loved husband of Nell, father of Russell and Ros. Loving grandfather, great- grandfather and friend to many, a man of God. 77 years. Abundant Life - Eternal Peace. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend a graveside service to be held in the Wauchope Cemetery, on Monday (January 29, 2007), commencing at 9.30 a.m., followed by a Memorial Service at Bethel - Four Square Gospel Church, 203A High Street, Wauchope. By special request, in lieu of floral tributes, donations to Hastings Palliative Care would be appreciated. A donation bowl will be at the service.
Graham Bayes Mid Coast Funeral Service FDA NSW Port Macquarie 6584 1233"
I started working for Castle Caravans Wahroonga in 1971. By the time I commenced with Castle Caravans they had ceased manufacturing the Castle Vans and had become agents for Millard Caravans. In those days, long before any energy crisis caravans sold in large numbers.
Castle Caravans also had a large hire fleet of vans (30+ if I rememer correctly) so that provided a healthy income stream in addition to sales revenue. In those days, just after the mining booms of the sixties, before real estate prices escalated to rediculous levels, petrol prices were extremely low, and this created a great environment for growth in the caravan industry, and grow it did.
One of the main events in the industry in those days was the annual Caravan Show which was held in the Sydney Showground ( now defunct as it was replaced with the Olympic Park at Homebush)
Working at Castle was an extremely enjoyable time in my life.
The centre was run by two great men. Jim Clucas, who was boss, friend and mentor to all.ho and Des Trindall who was Sales Manager and although a wonderful man, could have easily sold fridges to Alaska.
The work environment was unique as Jim Clucas, ( who apparently passed away in Jan 07) Des and the team possessed the wisdom and focus required to operate a very successful and profitable business.
In addition to keeping several of us young guys on the straight and narrow.
I'm probably making the place sound like a church and in some ways it was quite unique. At Morning Tea time, we all stood around and lised to a short bible reading and some words of wisdom, usually from Jim or Des.
Although my employment with Castle Caravans only lasted a few short years, to this day, I can honestly say that it has been the most enjoyable place I ever worked, for which I will be eternally greatful.
I'm not sure if this is exciting reading to you guys, but I have, to the best of my ability given you a snapshot of Castle Caravans during my employment during the early 1970's
Any other Castle Caravans ex-employees out there ?
Hi Rod. Thanks for your account of Castle caravans business in the seventies.
Sounds like your bosses where good at people skills... consultation and communication with the workers leads to contentment and is by far the best way to get good productivity out of them..
Sort of like "The contented cow gives more milk".
It pretty rare to be able to think back over your working life and not have at least one bad memory from each place you have worked at........ .... in my case the bad memory is usually the day they sacked me ;D ;D ;D.. all 65 times ;D
I suppose nowadays when you are heading down the road and look over at some of the old van parks and see a few old 70's Millards still providing familys with Holiday accomodation you get a smug grin on your face and think back on your days at Castle vans.
Nice to hear from you as well my friend. I definitely remember you. I also remember your dad very well. At the time at castle we had a couple of Bills working and your dad was affectionately known as 'Old Bill"
Ian, I remember your father as a wonderful man who was a gracious and extemely patient man with whom I worked daily. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to work with so many wonderful people at Castle who all played pivotal roles in my young life.
Castle caravans was not just a caravan sales organization , it was more of a family of people who cared about the many people , who came and departed from their company, at the same time paid the bills with caravan sales and rentals.
I'm now 57 Ian and those days seem like yesterday, but as I endeavour to deal with my own mortality, Its very pleasant to have this walk down memory lane to relive some those early experiences as it was a great time in my life.
Those yellow Millard jackets must have worked wonders, because we made lots of sales at those caravan shows didnt we?
On a sadder note, I noticed this article on the net
and this young man appears to be one of Jim Clucas grandsons, his appearance is certainly showing a resemblance to Jim dont you think Ian? If he isnt related I do apologise. What a pity life cant be frozen when we hit one of the good patches. Ian are you still up around Hornsby area?
Post by Don Ricardo on Jul 5, 2008 14:37:05 GMT 10
G'day Rod and Jikah,
Nice to see you guys have 'met up' via the forum.
A couple of questions about Castle caravans you may be able to answer:
1. Rod mentioned Castle being agents for Millard by the early 70's, and the 1962 advert above mentions Castle being an agent for Viscount. Do either of you know when Castle stopped building their own caravans?
2. Some of the adverts above are for the 'Windcutter by Castle'. Going by the rooves on the Windcutter models, they look to me very much like one of the South Australian built caravans which used a similar roof design, such as Roadmaster or Rowvan. Do you know if the Windcutters were sourced from South Australia and 'brand engineered' as a Castle?
I would be interested if you can throw any light on these questions.
For the records my castle chassis number is 145A Editorial note - Photos of Cruz's Castle prior to its extraction from its resting place in a bush paddock. It appears to be identical to the 9 ft 6 in Castle van shown in the extract from the 1957 Winser posted by Cobber above:
Post by Don Ricardo on Mar 6, 2015 19:50:34 GMT 10
Photos of a 9ft plus (maybe 6 inches?) long Castle caravan owned by Frank, an acquaintance of Cobber's:
Photos courtesy of Cruisindoug, Somewhere Else, Cobber and Jennison respectively.
I am guessing here, but I think that the simple double windows at the front and rear, and the hatch in the door of Frank's van - as opposed to a triple pane front window and a porthole in the door - mean that his van is an earlier model Castle than Retro1 and Cruz's 9 ft vans shown higher up this thread.
Note that the 'B' painted on Frank's van in two of the photos is purely decorative and does not carry any particular significance. The story of the 'B' and some additional photos are contained in Cobber's post here.