Manufactured by Lewis & Matthews (later the Glen Caravans Pty Ltd) 820 Glenhuntly Road, Glenhuntly, Vic This information regarding the “Glen Caravan” is taken from the 1948 edition of “The Caravan & Touring in Australia” magazine published by Motor Manual. If you have any further information on this brand please add it to this posting.
And another one from the 1951-1952 Caravans & Touring book 4
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 30, 2008 18:38:07 GMT 10
Posted by gtsmonaro, Apr 17, 2007, who wrote: I am after some information on a caravan built by Lewis & Matthews in Glenhuntly, VIC. Here are some pictures:
Information posted by madgirl, May 21, 2007: Hi all, I have just joined, having yesterday purchased a 1940's Lewis & Matthews (Glenhuntly) caravan. It is currently in Euroa in Victoria... ...I would be grateful for any leads about this manufacturer, or the van, which is in pretty bad condition but is intact (in a shed for 30 yrs).
On August 24, 2008, Madgirl wrote: I have been the happy owner of a late 1940s plywood van for about a year now (can't remember the makers' name exactly but Morris & something of Glen Huntly Victoria).
Cobber replied: G'day Madgirl, Your 'van is actually known as the “Glen” caravan... We had not twigged to the fact that they were made by Lewis & Matthews so thank you for providing that clue .
For more photos of and information about Madgirl's caravan see here.
Thanks to Franklin1 for collating the above information and Cobber for making the connection between Glen Caravans and Lewis & Matthews. Postscript: A story on the restoration of Madgirl's Glen caravan was published in the June/July 2016 edition (Issue 21) of Time to Roam magazine.
Came across this Glen recently. I took one especially for you cobber - the jockey wheel, but obviously I was so shaken seeing one of these gorgeous vans live, I got a bit shakey ;D ;D Then promptly forgot to take one of the front too
Last Edit: Jan 3, 2017 20:55:05 GMT 10 by Roehm3108
Post by Don Ricardo on May 19, 2011 23:10:55 GMT 10
Isn't it great to know that some of the older and rarer vans are still out there to be found? It's amazing what turns up from time to time. This is only the second Glen that we've seen in the flesh from memory. The other one belongs to Trodler.
Does the owner of this Glen have plans to restore it?
One question though - what is the function of what appears to be a window winder handle in the last photo? Maybe you were too shaken to notice and/or ask? I would have been! ;D ;D ;D
Hi DR Neil is right about that winder - its a feature of these vans. All the side windows are wind-down styled, and the front and rear are push-out hoppers. Don't quite know what the owner's plans are for this van, he's well into his 80's and it actually belongs to the son. The family has owned it from new.
Interestingly, as you commented, this is only the second Glen found, but the owner knows someone else who bought one at the same time as he did, but is not sure if it is still alive - darn!!! Don't worry, super sleuth Ray is still on the job!!!!!
Last Edit: May 22, 2011 17:13:25 GMT 10 by Roehm3108
In late 2015, I revisited the premises of the owner of the only Known Glen in its original state as it was in 1943. I have to accept that I will m]never get this van, as the owner's son has plans himself to "do it up one day". So whilst there I took some better pics for posterity.
Hi members Just a snippet of information you may already know. My grandfather was Abraham Lewis who owned the timber mill ( A.Lewis & Co ) in Jasper Road Ormond. He supplied the timber side of the partnership. He joined up with ( Len/Les ? ) Matthews who was a carpenter to create Glen Caravans in Glenhuntly Road Glenhuntly. To my knowledge the partnership fell apart in the 50's because of differences.
Post by Don Ricardo on Jan 3, 2022 16:08:19 GMT 10
Thanks for coming on to the forum and telling us about your grandfather and Len/Les Matthews and their Glen Caravans enterprise. That type of information is just so valuable in tracing Australian caravan history. It’s a shame their partnership foundered.
Are you able to tell us any more about your grandfather? What was his background and how long did he have his timber mill? Did the mill continue to operate after the demise of Glen Caravans? Do you know how his partnership with Len/Les Matthews came about, and who designed the caravans? Was it a jointly developed design?
Sorry, lots of questions, but any further info you can tell us will be of interest and help to fill the Glen picture out for us.
Hi Don. Abraham Lewis 1878 - 9/1954. He started out as a rubber worker at Barnet Glass Tyres which became Dunlop in 1941. He started in his backyard in Carnegie Vic. cutting and selling timber. Around 1905 he got a 99 year lease and started a mill on the corner of Jasper Rd and Lewis St. in Ormond. The property is still there although operations ceased about 4 years ago. Still has a website. I was born in 1944 and I can remember he was importing oregon from America around late 40's to early 50's. I used to drag my billycart full of sawdust up to the butcher in Ormond. Apparently he nearly lost the mill in the early 30's Great Depression but managed to survive. The Glen caravan business building I think it still stands ( going by Google maps ) and is now number 1254 Glenhuntly Rd Carnegie and no longer 820 after a re-numbering. The office/shop was at front and manufacturing was at the rear. Abraham & Len Matthews would have had a falling out I estimate around 1952 - 1954, prior Abraham passing away in September '54. I have included photos that Grandpa had and I think the bus must have been fitted out by them for someone else, because I never saw it at his home, the timber mill or at Glen caravans.
Last Edit: Jun 1, 2023 20:56:36 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo: Converted attachments to photos
Thanks for adding a bit more information to the Glen puzzle. Always interesting to hear how some of these caravan businesses evolved. Would you have any idea as to the number of caravans that were produced? That bus fitout looks great! So impressed with the high gloss level. Going by the aluminium windows, this fitout must have been done in the early fifties. The members of this site have only found two caravans. One was exposed to the weather and had a complete rebuild. The other is the one in the photos here. I don't know if it's a coincident, but the owner of this van owned a bus company!! I'm pretty sure though that he didn't commission the bus fitout in your photos. He bought the caravan when it was almost new in the late forties and took it on his honeymoon.
Hi Roehm3108. Sorry, I don't know how many caravans were produced and I don't know if records were kept after business finished. Have included photo of timber straddle machine at the wharf in 1947. Apparently Lewis's also imported Baltic pine.
Last Edit: Jun 1, 2023 21:02:41 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo: Converted attachment to photo
Hi Lewis Are you related to Abraham Lewis? Just be aware that rivella hasn't been in the site for over a year and his profile information doesn't have a personal email address that you could write to either. Keep yu fingers crossed that he may come on at some point.
As a member of the Forum admin team I can email Rivella through the platform and ask them to check out your posts, and they may contact you as a result (depending on whether the email address they used to register on the forum is current). We'll see what happens.
In the meantime do you have any information about Glen Caravans that you can tell us? It's always great to fill the picture out about the early manufacturers with memories provided by family members or people who worked there.
Hi lewis. Yes, you are correct - Oregon was the main imported timber, I can still smell it now being cut up. I could have worked at the mill, but decided not to. I am Bill and my mother was Lorna, sister to Laurence/ Lawrence ? ( Uncle Lorrie !). You must be a descendant of his. If you wanted some early history I'm happy to share with you. Regards Bill
Post by Don Ricardo on Jun 5, 2023 11:59:00 GMT 10
It's a pleasure. I'm glad the two of you have been able to connect.
Do either you or Rivella know how long your Lewis forebear was involved in building caravans, and whether it was a bit of a trial to expand the business or more of a full on attempt to break into the market? Also was Matthews a long term partner of Lewis, or just involved in the caravan side? I note that the tractor on the wharf is just marked as 'Lewis & Co'.
One more question, do you know whether either of the ladies in the Glen adverts were relatives? Wives and children were often used as models in caravan adverts in the 30's through to the 50's, so it would be interesting to know.