On a cruise around the Murray Mallee last week we stumbled across a little historic village, between Renmark and Mildura. It had two vintage vans. This one was the older of the two, and as the notice said, it has been restored.
Looks like the tyres are the only things missing! And that jockey wheel is a bit 'agricultural'. I would be replacing it with something a bit smaller I think, if it was mine. My boot is not that big!
The notice had four names. Two of them being a 'drovers wagon' or a 'gypsy caravan'. I like to think of my old van as 'gypsy van'. It also will have the bare minimum of funiture when finished - a simple bench and a bed. I'll leave plenty of open floor space, just like this old van. Not sure about putting in a cast iron stove though!
A nice piece of early caravan history, the tow coupling should interest Cobber ;D
I don't think this one ever had tyres Millsy, just plain iron wheels, the roads were no doubt just gravel anywhere it would have been in use. They look like they may have been recycled from an old harvester.
I should think that if horses were the motive power then it would have been towed behind another caravan or cart as there is nowhere to for the man in charge to sit unless he just walked beside.
Maybe it was towed behind a steam traction engine. Dad used to tell me about the contractors who came to his dads farm for the harvest in the 1920s with a steam traction engine towing a harvester, thrasher and a kitchen or living quarters. Nothing apparently back then to hook three or four items together to tow.
The council operated museum at Wagga Wagga, NSW has what I think they called a drover's cooks van on display in a shed, I could only take this photo of the interior but it is a timber frame covered with fine section corrugated iron. Don't remember what wheels it had under it.
They have a platform built up so you can step inside and it obscures the lower part of the van. It looks like the cook just ducked out for a minute, about 50 years ago.
Last Edit: Oct 12, 2011 16:32:10 GMT 10 by griffin
Thanks for posting these really interesting pics. They really show a perfect example of the start of Caravans there in Australia.
It looks to be a great example of the British style shepherds/road worker huts adapted to the Australian conditions. And improved upon too I must add. The tricycle style wheel setup and the sheet steel chimney out over the tongue area are amazing improvements in it usefulness and utility - even in such a basic and simple vehicle/structure.
This is a perfect example of why I like checking out the forum regularly - you never know what interesting things you'll find.
No probs. There was another old van there too. It had wooden windows and a steel tube frame, rather than wood. That one looked like about 16 foot long, and was a real caravan, in original condition. But if anyone was to restore it there was a lot of work to do. A lot of the outer skin had fallen off, to expose the steel tube framing. It had wooden windows.
Inside was not too bad with all the interior lining still keeping most of the weather out. But the door had fallen off and some rain/weather damage as a result.
It was as if the van had been parked there, in the bush, after its last holiday and never been touched since. Still had lots of 1950's bric a brac on the shelves, and in the cupboards - plastic flowers, ladies hygienic pads, cups and saucers, . . . . Completely untouched for 60 years!
Will get some pics up.
This was one surprise historic park, about 20km off the Sturt Highway, and no sign posts on that road to indicate to any one on that road that they were driving past one amazing snapshot into the past. There were many old buildings of the district all full of 50's, and much earlier, memorabilia, including a school class room, early settler's cottages. Also lots of old farm machinery in a huge shed.