Richard from OT Past has found an interview with my grandmother Doris from 1952. Interesting reading and some minor adjustments to be made to what we have put together on pathfinder history. I will post as soon as I have a copy regards Jeff PS Looks like its a dead end on the nsw caravan and camping lot
Last Edit: May 15, 2009 4:55:58 GMT 10 by Jennison
Hi Jennison, thought you might be interested in these images. The first image is a scan from the original photo of your grandfather that is featured here. It is inscibed JENNISON 10 FT VAN BUILT 1933 SOLD 1934
This second image denotes 1952 MODEL 12 FT JENNISON PATHFINDER and I'm quessing that it is the PYM family in the photo.
Only information that was written on the back of this photo was 1934 JENNISON PATHFINDER
And finally this is the original image from the article on the 1971 CARAVAN SHOW as you can see from the clearer image the van at the front of the 1936 is a 1938 JENNISON NOMAD.So now you have two to chase,although the 1938 does have a licence plate and under a magnifing glass I think the last number is 9,so it reads TZ 1569 .If you found that one you'd have a lead on the other. cheers Rob
Last Edit: Dec 21, 2020 22:19:26 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo: Watermarked photos replaced
Post by Don Ricardo on May 26, 2009 20:20:31 GMT 10
Great pics jg66rob,
They really help to tell the Jennison story and to fill in a few gaps or confirm some of Jennison's (Jeff's) hunches about his grandfather's caravans. I'm not sure where you managed to find the photos but they are fantastic. Thanks for the effort you've put in to scan them and post them.
Oh my gawd!!! I go away for a while and another great find is waiting for me at home to surprise me!!! jg66rob WHERE DID YOU GET THEM FROM? the one with the pop top we have seen before but it was cut around the edges for in larger version, that is, the photo you have posted, I am willing to bet that the little boy who appears in this photo is my mums little brother John. It is not a pathfinder either, built in 1934, the pop top was constructed in Salisbury SA, long before pathfinders. Looking at the roadcruiser next to the 38, it appears to have a pyms pathfinder "aboriginal hunter" logo to the sideof the door. I am just wondering whether these vans on show in 1971 could have belonged to the pym family/pathfinder caravans company. I've never seen the old aboriginal logo on my granfathers era vans before. What a find and thanks for posting them jg66rob. I will send you a PM regards Jennison
Last Edit: May 28, 2009 20:56:54 GMT 10 by Jennison
Iv'e had another look and I'll bet my **** that those vans or at least the roadcruiser were restored and supplied for the show by Dick Pym. That is definitely his Pathfinder logo beside the door on the roadcruiser. Jeff
Last Edit: May 28, 2009 19:51:21 GMT 10 by Jennison
Yes , well the aboriginal pathfinder logo came about in the mid 50's when the pyms dropped the "jennison" and became just Pathfinder caravans. The earliest VV I have seen with it, is a 57 model. I would say either the roadcruiser was bought secondhand from the Pyms/Pathfinder caravans or far more likely, given Als find earlier, and with Dick Pym being interviewed and involved with that show, and keen on australian VV history (even way back in 71), I reckon my above idea in reply 76 would be very likely the case. regards
Last Edit: May 29, 2009 10:37:02 GMT 10 by Jennison
Richard pym has just emailed me, the family photo was taken in 1952 and he remembers the holiday well but he is quite sure that the van was not new - a couple of years old at the time- photos are on the way jeff
Last Edit: May 29, 2009 22:30:44 GMT 10 by Jennison
I have discussed this with donricardo and it looks like the pop top was called a Jennison cruiser with the roadcruiser name turning up around 1936 in the non pop top model. Learning something new every week it seems! jennison
I never knew JAJ did a lantern roof model till griffin?(george) came up the same photo and also an add for masonite models 12 months or so ago. They are posted onsite here somewhere. Be nice to find one in the flesh!! regards
Last Edit: Nov 16, 2010 16:33:51 GMT 10 by Jennison
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 19, 2011 21:36:05 GMT 10
I'm about to go for a ramble up another one of those little paths off Down History Lane which may lead to a dead end, or may not. I know that some of you enjoy wandering up such pathways to see where they lead...and some of you don't! So feel free to move on to the next post if your first reaction is 'booooring'. No offence taken.
A few weeks ago while digging around on Trove, looking for something else as often happens, I came across the following article from The Australian Women's Weekly published on Saturday, 30 October 1937 (p 71). It describes a caravan built for an anonymous owner:
I'm sorry if the article looks like a bit of an ill-matched patchwork. It is! Some larger articles from Trove are made up of a whole lot of small sections which you then have to cut and paste together... Hopefully you are able to read the text. If not use the URL given for the source to take you to the actual article.
Anyway, the question is - who built this caravan? Unfortunately caravanning articles in the 30's often didn't say who built the van, where it was built (ie the state), or who owned it, and such is the case with this caravan. All the article says is:
"It was built by a firm specialising in trailers to the specifications of the owner..."
However, my suspicion is that this van may have been built by Jennison.
Evidence? You want evidence? Well, first start with the photographs of the Jennison Cruiser shown in this 1937 magazine:
Obviously the Australian Women's Weekly (AWW) van is not a pop-top, but note the following:
1. General shape of the Cruiser. AWW van - tick.
2. Curved shape of the top of the door on the Cruiser which follows very closely the roofline of the van, with only a few centimetres/millimetres between the top of the door and the roof. AWW van - tick.
3. The livery on the Cruiser with the pinstripe (bit big for that?) sweeping down towards the back of the van. AWW van - tick...but big deal because a lot of 30's vans had a similar livery.
4. Pleated skirt around the seating on the Cruiser. AWW van - tick. you've got to look fairly closely, but if you look at the third photo of the AWW van, with the view from the galley through to the 'bedroom', you'll see that the bed has the same pleating.
OK, now check out the pics of this Jennison Road Cruiser from a 1938 advert:
The shape has changed significantly, but note the following:
5. Lantern roof on the Road Cruiser. AWW van - tick, and not all that many Australian caravan builders used a lantern roof design.
6. Spoked wheel and shape of hub cap on Road Cruiser. AWW van - tick.
And the period fits - 1937/38 - especially if the AWW van represents a transition from the Cruiser shape to the Road Cruiser shape, with a few special features requested by the owner thrown in.
So that's my evidence. But wait, there's one more piece of the puzzle. If you look at the back of the AWW van, there appears to be a a manufacturer's nameplate.
It could be a rego plate, but it appears to have two lines of printing on it, which would rule out that option.
When I look at the plate it seems to me that the first letter on the top line of print is a 'J', and that the word says...'Jennison'. The word certainly seems about the right length for Jennison. It's very slightly clearer in the copy of the article I printed off from Trove, and the beginning 'J' is slightly more discernible...maybe...
Now at this stage, I may just be kidding myself. But what do all you V V detectives think?
Now at this stage, I may just be kidding myself. But what do all you V V detectives think?
What do all us amateur detectives think ?
You present good evidence to support your assumption but.......... will we ever know if you're right
It would appear that the interior layout in this van has been reversed to what was normal at the time in other Jennison vans with the result that the door is at the rear of the van but I suppose that was because, as the article states, it was built "to the specifications of the owner" by a firm who specialised in doing that. Do we know that Jennison specialised in doing that
But it does look like a Jennison aye?....... well done
That's an interesting find and I think if I were on the Jury you would just about have me convinced although I think Cobber might be in doubt so I'll offer a couple of further observations to see if he can be swayed.
1. Both vans have curved internal corners on the windows and that was a feature of Jennison vans and continued on the Pathfinders. Nomads used a very similar window too but Caravan Park had square corners at that time.
2. There is what appears to be an identical builders ID type plate or maybe registration label holder affixed near the bottom of the door opening, at the front in the Jennison ad and at the back on the AWW photo.
3. The flash or pin stripe is virtually identical to the early Jennison vans. Nomad used a similar although different stripe but they also used a painted wheel spat/arch feature that was elongated behind the wheel on their standard livery.
4. The tow car appears to be a Chevrolet of the same year and colour as the one in the Masonite advert featuring a Jennison, a bit circumstantial maybe but an odd coincidence. The photo appears to be taken for promotion, especially with the name plate on the back. The number plate looks like it would fitted in the centre although it doesn't seem to have one in the photo.
5. Looking at the photo on Trove at the maximum size it certainly seems to read JENNISON. I wonder if the 2nd line is 'Road CRUISER', the name of the Jennison vans according to their advertising of the time. It appears to be two words.
6. Final closing evidence, didn't Jennison build a custom Pathfinder for a customer to take to Europe? That was a later period, I can't find the post to be sure.
Maybe we will only know for sure if someone turns up an original copy of the Women's Weekly, certainly one to look out for.
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 20, 2011 21:50:25 GMT 10
Hi Cobber and Griffin,
Thanks for your posts, and thanks to Cobber for finding and posting the final bit of the puzzle! I'll have to take back my comments about the caravan manufacturer, etc, not being named in articles in the 30's, won't I? But it was on another page!
Anyway, I am STOKED by what we've been able to piece together between us. Absolutely STOKED!
We haven't heard from forum member Jennison yet... He will also be stoked to see another discovery about his grandfather's caravan building exploits! There's no doubt about it - John Jennison was a pretty innovative caravan manufacturer in his time.
I'm sure Jennison will be stoked too but he was telling me at Coledale he will be off air for a few weeks due to restraints of work.
Jennison says that all the new discoveries about the history of Jennison caravans happen while he's off air because of his work commitments. As a result he always finds out about it later. It's nice to know that we've kept the tradition alive!
Out bush for another few two weeks but scored 2 mins access to a computer. Top find guys!. Re custom built or made to order vans........ we know without doubt JAJ did them with the best example being the "wildeshot" van built for the Coles family which was shipped to them in tasmania on the TSS Zealandia in jan 1939. Great work and looking foreard to catching up on a months worth of VVing.com when I am back in Nov regards jenno