Keith and Susan Hall — 14 April 2012

ON THE FACE OF IT, you might think there was very little connection between vintage caravans and the catering trade.

But on our travels, we often see old caravans that have been given a new lease on life by being fitted out as kitchens on wheels. They often turn up at fairs, shows and other events, where they provide snacks and refreshments for the crowds of visitors.

We first noticed these retro mobile snack shops some years ago, while attending the Christmas celebrations at Lobethal in SA. Parked in the main street was a strikingly painted, red and white vintage caravan kitted out as a "Retro Espresso" coffee shop on wheels. It was worth buying a coffee just to check out the van.

Annual fairs in country towns are a good place to find these resuscitated vans. The annual Moondyne Festival in Toodyay, WA honours the town’s famous bushranger, Moondyne Joe. At the event there are always plenty of classic cars and motorbikes, country craft stalls and snack kiosks lining the main street. Last time we were there, we spotted a hot spud shop that was built into an old caravan. You can guess what we had for lunch...

But sometimes it turns out that the caravan kiosk
was never actually a caravan –
it was just built using caravan technology. There is a powder blue vintage "caravan" that turns up at various street markets and events around Perth. It sells Delish Ice gourmet iced fruit popsicles, looks very cute and always attracts a line of customers.

Proprietor Katie Earl explained that although the kiosk looks just like a caravan, it was custom-built in 1958 as a mobile drinks kiosk for a juice company in WA. The squarish little van is affectionately known as Iceblock.

WORDS AND PICS Keith and Susan Hall
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