ONE OF THE DELIGHTS of writing about vintage caravans is that you sometimes get to peek inside the owner’s shed. It’s not just a case of being inquisitive or envious (not entirely, anyway); it’s that you often find some amazing stuff tucked away inside the shed of a vintage van owner.
The reason is simple. Vintage vanners are often collectors – they collect everything from vintage vans and classic tow cars through to old magazines and period memorabilia. They need a shed to store all their goodies, so you never know what might be lurking inside.
We recently went to see the shed of John and Judy Smyth of Ballarat, Vic. We had met up with them at a gathering of vintage vanners, when they were camping in their 1963 Sunliner. But it was being towed by a modern 4WD, so we went to the shed to see their classic tow car.
Inside the shed there were all manner of interesting collectables: old signs, a petrol bowser, vintage juke box, and a steam engine to name a few. But what really caught our attention was the 1963 Propert folding caravan, tucked away in a corner. John and Judy explained that the van was substantially original. They had repainted the interior and removed the fridge, but the lino and exterior paint were original.
The Propert was fully operational and filled with memorabilia. There were retro canisters, crockery and appliances, mostly with an orange colour scheme.
But the pride of the collection was a Propert brand flour sifter (see pic 5). The Propert company made kitchen appliances as well as caravans, and they are greatly sought after by owners of the vans.
And the moral of the story is ... never miss a chance to look inside someone’s shed. You never know what you might find.