There is an item in the November 2009 “Caravan & Motorhome magazine #134 on Mr Richard Stanley Charles who, among many things, built “ Charlavan” caravans.... the article in Caravan & Motorhomes says 1937 but in fact it was much earlier.... 1932,or possibly a bit before that.... not known for certain sure.
It is claimed that he was the inventor of the Pop-Top Caravan with a winding gear used for lowering the roof . The following pages from the 1937 “Charlavan Caravan” brochure tell what was available at that time.
At the bottom of this page you see the firm was called “Caravans (Australasia) Pty. Ltd.” AND.... Dick Charles also built the boat that could be supplied when you ordered a "Senior" model "Charlavan"
And these photos of the pop-top caravan are held in the State Library of N.S.W The call # is shown to comply with their copyright requirements.
These photos show the “Senior” model with optional boat fitted
Charlavan also had a full size caravan but not much information is available apart from the fact that it was in use by the family in 1932.
This photo was taken around 1946.... Mr Richard (Dick) Stanley Charles is seated on the right.
This is an earlier photo of the same caravan taken about 1932. .
You can read more about Richard Stanley Charles by clicking Here.
Apparently Charlavans were on display at the show, and were being spruiked by a Bill Keith, who the item says was "...a manager of a recently formed company which manufactures these contraptions...There are other on the market, but nothing just like the 'Charlavan Caravan'...". I presume this means that Bill Keith was employed by Caravans (Australasia) Pty Ltd, which built the Charlavans?
Interestingly enough, there are no mentions of Charlavans in the NSW press after March 1937. Instead, later in the year, Caravans (A'sia) began to advertise its Airlite branded caravans. It seems that in 1937, the firm may have decided to change the name of its caravans from 'Charlavan' to 'Airlite'. However, we don't know whether the Airlites were just a carry over of the previous Charlavan Junior and Senior models, or involved a whole new range and/or design.