‘The Perfect Holiday’

As you all know we are travelling around Australia with our Conqueror UEV490 offroad trailer or what I refer to as ‘the beast’ and others refer to as ‘a swiss army knife’. It is a van with all the bells and whistles which lets us venture as far offroad as we want to go. But even then we’ve had a number of breakages and general wear and tear on the various parts of the van body. Recently we went to visit the museum home of Hans Heysen the famous Australia painter (1877-1968) in Hahndorf, near Adelaide. In the garage next to his rural home is a vintage car and caravan….which got me thinking. I haven’t ever really put much thought into the history of caravanning and what early caravans looked like or were used for. Seeing his caravan got me intrigued.

Our Conqueror UEV490 complete with solar panels and bells and whistles

Our Conqueror UEV490 complete with solar panels and bells and whistles and pop up roof (not too disimilar to Heysen’s pop up roof)

Hans Heysen's caravan

Hans Heysen’s caravan with extendable roof

Hans Heysen's car

Hans Heysen’s car

 

Hans built the caravan himself so that he could travel to the Flinders Ranges to complete his paintings while still having a level of comfort. He never got his driver license so his son used to drive him wherever he went. I’m guessing that back in the early 1900s the roads in the Flinders Ranges would have been a tad rough and he was most likely painting, and camping,  ‘off the beaten’ track. I’d love to know more of the stories of adventures they had in that car and van as they both look pretty basic for the rudimentary outback Australian roads we’ve come to know over the past few months.

the inside of Hans Heysen's caravan

the inside of Hans Heysen’s caravan

Hans Heysen's van in use with the roof popped up

Hans Heysen’s van in use with the roof popped up

A photo of a similar caravan in use

A photo of an old style caravan in use…check out the ‘car awning’

The inside of Heysen’s van was a basic set up but not too disimilar to our van: basic bed and mattress, pop up roof, shelves and a few cupboards and room for his paints and easel. Basic but functional and easy to maintain and the same formula used for building the likes of our UEV490. It’s great to see such a gem of Australia’s history and an insight into the beginnings of the modern ‘grey nomad’ entourage, summed up beautifully in this early era caravan ad for ‘The Perfect Holiday’ (not sure i’d be towing this van though):

The perfect holiday. Not much different to what we look for now. Although i'm not sure i'd trust that camper

The perfect holiday. Not much different to what we look for now. Although i’m not sure i’d trust that camper

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