Post by Don Ricardo on Apr 24, 2008 9:36:27 GMT 10
Manufactured by Henry S B Young Transport Engineering Co, 321-5 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, NSW
NOTE: There is no connection between the Nomad caravans produced in North Sydney by Trailer Engineering Co and the Nomad badged Hilandale caravans sold in Melbourne in the 1960's - click here One of the sets of photos provided by Jennison from the collection of his grandfather, John Jennison, consists of pictures of the Jennison family camping in their Nomad caravan in two locations north of Sydney in 1940.
The first three photos show the Nomad caravan set up at Bobbin Head in the Kurin-Gai Chase National Park, April 1940:
The photos show John Jennison’s wife Doris, their daughter Betty, and family dog, Togo. They also feature in the following photo which shows the Nomad at Berowra, north of Hornsby, also in 1940:
In discussions with his mother (Betty, who features in the photos), Jennison says that the 'Nomad' bell rang a strong bell for her, and further comments:
“On our discussion today re Nomads my mum … pointed out that she was only 12 to 16 yrs old in 1935-39, moved to a new city, new friends, new school. Little girls weren't part of father’s discussions, goings on, etc, to do with the family business. Then WW2 cut a swathe thru routine and memories. After WW2 she was "grown up", in her twenties, and more aware. However given her strong memories of the Nomad brand she feels it is most likely that it was his pre-WW2 and first brand name”.
(Source: Photos and information provided by Jennison)
Last Edit: Dec 21, 2020 12:24:11 GMT 10 by Don Ricardo: Edited to remove incorrect information following further research.
Post by Don Ricardo on Apr 27, 2008 21:01:37 GMT 10
One of Jennison's friends has used his IT skills and 'done a CSI' on one of the photos of the Nomad at Bobbin Head. The photo how has a sharper focus and the name "Nomad" can be clearly read on the back of the caravan, providing a little further confirmation of the identity of this van:
I have an image in my mind of Jennison's friend looking like a bit like Abby, the rather attractive techno-geek Goth on NCIS, who week after week uses her computer and IT skills to achieve the impossible. However, seeing Jennison's friend is named Mick, I've got a hunch my image is probably off the mark! ;D ;D ;D Top marks for your work though, Mick!!
Post by Don Ricardo on Apr 27, 2008 21:16:23 GMT 10
Two of Jennison’s photos from his grandfather John Jennison’s collection, show his grandparents caravanning in a Nomad caravan at Newport Beach, north of Sydney, at Christmas time in 1939. The first photo shows the camp set up with an annexe over the caravan:
The second photo shows John Jennison, who was involved in the production of Nomad caravans, standing beside the caravan with his wife, Doris.
Before the connection between John Jennison and Nomad was known, Jennison was of the view that this caravan was an early, small version of the Jennison Pathfinder caravan. It clearly has some of the features of the post-war Jennison caravans, such as the characteristic large roof hatch, a similar style waist stripe painted underneath the front window, and the same design flashes painted across the lower side flanks of the van. In addition, at the time these photos were posted Jennison remarked: “In 1939 with an established business I can’t imagine he would go caravanning in someone else’s van…”. That statement turned out to be correct because although the van is not a Jennison Pathfinder, John Jennison was also connected to Nomad (see the history of Nomad at the beginning of this thread).
It should be noted that the Newport Beach caravan also seems to be the same size as the van in the factory photo shown higher up this thread, and Jennison believes that they are quite possible the same caravan.
(Source: Photographs and information provided by Jennison) Editorial note: This post was originally posted on the Jennison Pathfinder thread, but based on new information has been transferred to the Nomad thread and edited to reflect our current understanding of the history of Nomad and Jennison Pathfinder caravans. Don Ricardo
Firefighter , what a find!! Do you have a year for the ad by any chance? Can you make out the fine print under nomad(bottom right) and also under the right hand photo on the original?I will question my mum further but she's vague on this one, apart from a strong memory of the name itself. thanks again Jennison
Last Edit: May 29, 2008 20:58:03 GMT 10 by Jennison
Post by Don Ricardo on May 29, 2008 22:24:53 GMT 10
Hi Firefighter and Jennison,
What a find indeed - and what a puzzle. Here are some things for us to think about:
1. I reckon the small Nomad caravan shown on the right of the blotter is the caravan shown in the following photograph taken in 1939 with John Jennison and his wife standing in front of it, which we've previously supposed is an (early) small Pathfinder.
2. The Nomad on the blotter has much more curved lines, particularly around the corners of the body, than the Nomad shown in the pictures in the post which starts this thread, and which can be seen on the caravan on the left of the photo taken in the Jennison Nomad factory shown in the first post above.
However, from what I can make out the Nomad on the blotter also has the very high lifting hatch shown on the older, squarer Nomad in the factory photo.
3. The name for the manufacturer of the Nomad on the blotter is 'Transport Engineering Co.', while the manufacturer of the Jennison Pathfinder caravan in the late 40's is listed in advertising as the 'Jennison Trailer Engineering Co.' Not such a stretch to think that the first name might have been transformed into the second at some stage...
4. When John Jennison transferred his business from SA to Sydney in the mid-30's we know that he moved his factory around to several different locations in north Sydney over a fairly short period, namely in Cremorne and Mosman. When the business was sold in the very early 50's, the factory was located at 283 Pacific Highway, Atarmon. I don't know north Sydney very well, but Google Maps tells me that these places are all within 2 to 3 kilometres of each other, and also only a couple of kilometres from 321 Pacific Highway, North Sydney, the address listed on the blotter.
5. Based on the long hatch and the decorative flashes along the side of the caravan drawing on the left hand side of the Nomad blotter, I could swear that the drawing is of a van very similar to a Pathfinder.
So...was the Nomad a Jennison design and/or product or not? Some research still to be done. Does anyone know where you can check out phone directories for the late 30's and early 40's?
Don Ricardo Addendum - December 2020: Later research has revealed that the the large Nomad was the basis for the Jennison Pathfinder that was developed after World War II by John Jennison.
Post by firefighter on May 30, 2008 8:32:14 GMT 10
the 2 vehicles are different ,1st vehicle..... late 20s wooden spoke wheels no rear side windows
the vehicle on the ink blotter has wire spoke wheels and windows in the side rear ...........I have a 1933 chev in the shed that looks the same as on the ink blotter....... but there is not enough of the car showing tell what make it is.......I think the year about 1933 /35....... kaybee might know what make the cars are
I dont know what the fine print is........ cannot read them I will send you a P M about the blotter f/f ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
...which contains the following information about John Jennison (down near the bottom of the link under the heading "Production Notes"):
"According to Keith Winser, noted Australian author on cars and caravanning during the 1960s, caravan production in Australia had its origins in 1928 when R.J. Rankin, a young Sydney businessman keen on the outdoors, built his own caravan. The vehicle was so successful a workshop was set up in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, on Missenden Road, with commercial production beginning at the end of l929. By 1934 Rankin had a hire fleet of 25 vehicles and foundered the company Carapark Ltd. Production soon commenced in the other states but was terminated during the Second World War. When peace returned it was a few years before caravan production resumed.
Another pioneer was John Jennison, an engineer, who in 1932 built the Jennison Road Cruiser. Later Jennison changed the firm's name to Nomad Caravans and they flourished until the Second World War. Other pioneers of the industry included Propert, Ambassador, Southern Cross and Castle. Between 1950 and 1953 there were at least 60 registered caravan manufacturers in Australia including Viscount and Millard in NSW, Franklin and Coronet in Victoria, Chesney in Queensland and Tru-Line in Western Australia. By 1969, Viscount Caravans of Liverpool were said to have the largest production line in the Southern Hemisphere incorporating many technological innovations beyond the capability of the small, home builder. Competition was strong with each company trying to produce better vans. Soon the bond wood vans disappeared as aluminum clad vans took over. The interiors altered dramatically with ice boxes and oil stoves giving way to gas and electric refrigerators and stoves. Electric lighting also quickly became standard." Editorial note - December 2020: Recent research has revealed that several elements of this statement from the Powerhouse Museum are incorrect. John Jennison did build the Jennison Road Cruiser in 1932 and established the Jennison Caravan Cruiser company in Sydney in 1937. He was also involved as a production manager or design engineer with the company producing Nomad caravans in the period leading up to World Ware II, but the two companies were entirely different. Winser was also incorrect about R J Rankin building his first caravan in 1928. Rankin only became involved in the caravan industry in 1937 with the production of Caravan Park caravans commencing in 1938. Don Ricardo
Looks like you've found the missing link we have been looking for in relation to Jennison's grandfather. Well done. (Your Sherlock Holmes deerstalker, cape, pipe and magnifying glass are in the post. ;D ;D ;D)
It's really exciting finding these little snippets of history and joining them together to make a complete story. Not so long ago we couldn't go much further back than WW II, but we're getting closer to 1928 (which seems like a central date in Australian caravan history) all the time.
Interesting that R J Rankin is credited with starting Caravanpark in Sydney. That seems to be a little at odds with what we've understood to be the origins of Caravanpark in Newcastle, or am I missing something?
Hey al , congratulations and many thanks on finding some written recorded proof regarding nomads and JAJ. Everything pointed that way but it is very satisfying for me (and I,m sure DonR too) to see irrefutable proof of the theory/picture we had put together , being proved without doubt! thanks Jeff ,
I'm somewhat cautious about taking the information from the Museum as 'gospel'. I generally use their information as 'indication only', since there are sometimes some inconsistencies with what we've found elsewhere. For example, in the information I've copied above, they talk about at least 60 registered manufacturers between 1950 and 1953 including Franklin (which we understood to have started after 1956), and Millard (also approx 1956).
The other interesting thing about the information above is that we are still to see a Southern Cross caravan, to represent the pioneers (we know about the Properts, Ambassadors, and Castles).
Post by Don Ricardo on Aug 2, 2008 22:36:56 GMT 10
Your point is well made. The good folk who write things up for the museums probably sometimes have less info available to them than we have now accumulated on this forum. Nevertheless the comment re John Jennison and the Nomad fits in with, and tends to confirm the knowledge we've gradually been putting together, so it is probably reasonable to give it some credence.
I've suggested to Jennison that he might try and track down the records for the Transport Engineering Co, the makers of the Nomad. I'm not sure whether he's been able to find anything out along those lines, but if John Jennison turns out to have been the proprietor or a director of the company, then bingo.
The Powerhouse info refers to John Jennison's Road Cruiser caravan built in 1932. I wonder if this could have been the name he gave his pop-top caravan? The date (1932) is about right. Of course this would have been during his 'Adelaide period'.
Post by Don Ricardo on Nov 30, 2008 20:17:22 GMT 10
Comment from an email to Jennison from his cousin Noel regarding John Jennison's Nomad caravans:
Noel also can remember clearly the Nomad VVs', which makes him our first and at this stage the only one, still above ground with memory intact who does. I will be grilling him for all that I can on that one. His initial comment was that they were very basic and that the pathfinder was a big step up.
I am a nephew of Henry Young. He appears in the Nomad caravans pictures, portly with mustach. His name appears and the story of his trip in about 1938, to the snowy mountains with wife , son and daughter (the car is a Hupmobile, and in the pic I have, there is a pair of skis strapped to the running board.) He owned Nomad in Artarmon. Our family lore says he gave the business to Jennison, his foreman, in early war years when they had built all the military vans and trailers they could bid on, could not obtain materials, and customers could not obtain petrol. The Nomads pictured were likely Jennison's designs (Young would never have left them without his ideas incorporated) and led easily to Pathfinders later. Brank Young, email@example.com
Gday oldboats I was most interested to see your post. It has always been a little vague how my grandfather who on arriving in Sydney went from working for Nomad to owning it, let alone who the original owners of nomad caravans were. My grandmother stated in a magazine article that he started at Nomad as chief engineer before going on further about the development of the Nomad J(jennison) model, the precurser to the pathfinder. Fantastic that you can put a name to the face of your uncle in the photo and I look forward to any further titbits of information or photos you might have to add to the story. regards Jenno
Post by Don Ricardo on Oct 20, 2020 16:11:54 GMT 10
Great to have you on board (that seems an appropriate way to welcome you given your forum name ).
Those of us interested in caravan history are always delighted when a member of the family of one of the caravan pioneers from the vintage era make contact with us, because they can often fill in some of the gaps in our knowledge. In the case of your grandfather and Nomad we have a bit of information, but also some fairly large holes which you may be able to help us fill in?
Have you found the Nomad thread in the 'Down History Lane' section? If not, click here to find it. It basically covers some of the information we have accumulated about Nomad from Jennison's family sources and a couple of other sources. You'll see the thread includes a magazine article based on a letter from your grandfather.
On top of that, though, some time ago I was sent some information about Henry Young which I think might have originally come from your cousin perhaps? The intention was that I should write it up for the Nomad thread. However, at the time I had a bit of trouble marrying up the info we already had with the extra information we had been given, and for that reason and work pressures, it is still waiting to be written up.
Having seen your post, I'll get the information out and perhaps together with Jennison, we might be able put things together? One of the things that confused me most was that Jennison's grandfather, John Jennison, seemed to be working for Nomad while at the same time producing his own Jennison caravans. I did my own research on that via Trove (the National Library's online archive) and confirmed that was the case, so I'm not sure how he managed that - was he part-time or just consulting with Nomad? As far as I remember Nomad and Jennison were working from different locations so I don't think the vans were being produced in the same factory, but maybe they were?
In any case, it's great that you've made yourself known. I'm sure Jennison and I will enjoy communicating with you.