Ahhh vintage caravans. The humble house on wheels. Designed to give the family of yesteryear a break from the drudgery of daily life by enabling them to move their beds and kitchen to the seaside or some other equally relaxing destination far from the rat race of 9-5 for dad and 24-7 for mum. Airfares were expensive while caravan parks were cheap and brimming with other kids just waiting to play with you. Mum and dad got some ‘peace and quiet’ and that was enough for them.
I was born into a ‘caravan family’. As a young girl, I would be whisked away to the seaside with my grandparents in their teeny-tiny plywood caravan, towed by whatever Holden my Pa owned at the time. Then there were the yearly Easter trips to Echuca with my parents; our palace a modern aluminium caravan the Easter Bunny was somehow able to infiltrate in order to leave us chocolate eggs. The caravan park was big, the bushland behind it even bigger and my parents never worried that I may have fallen in the Murray River and drowned during the many hours I was missing from our holiday house on wheels.
Vintage caravans are currently experiencing a resurgence in popularity as a new generation buy previously loved and sometimes dilapidated, caravans to give them new life. In the past few years, I’ve hired a few of these old ladies to spend some time down the beach. I got to enjoy the lack of any type of cooling when the temperature soared and shivered through the night when a Melbourne cold snap hit in the middle of February. I’ve been out in the moonlight at 2am in my PJ’s pulling down a canopy that couldn’t withstand a slight breeze and I’ve woken in the morning crippled from an authentic 1970s bed. And I’ve paid a lot of money for the privilege.
It should come as no surprise then, that collecting Kodachrome slides of vintage caravans is high on my list. Here are a few I’ve rescued recently.