Caravans In Popular Culture

Susan & Keith Hall — 26 March 2014

For most caravanners, their van is primarily a home away from home. It allows them to travel around, see different parts of the country and enjoy holidays with family and friends. Vintage caravans have the added interest of being a reminder of what holidays were like in the past.

But for creative artists, caravans have a much richer and more iconic status. If you keep your eyes open, you will find references to caravans in a wide range of cultural, historical, musical and artistic settings.


Here is a little quiz to test your knowledge in this area:

1. Which famous 19th century author set one of his novels in a caravan?

2. Which jazz musician performed a piece of music called Caravan?

3. Which Australian rock and roll group featured a caravan on the cover of an album?

4. Which Australian painter travelled around in a caravan, painting Australian scenery?

5. Which Australian country and western singer famously travelled from one gig to the next in a caravan?

6. Which recent Australian movie features a bunch of vintage caravans on the coast in the southwest of Western Australia?

As you can see, caravans have been featured in a surprisingly wide range of cultural and artistic activities. So, how many of the questions could you answer? Here are the answers, just in case some of them left you puzzled.


1. Charles Dickens set part of his novel The Old Curiosity Shop in a caravan, and described the interior in some detail.

2. Duke Ellington performed the jazz number Caravan in 1936, making it into a jazz standard.

3. The Cold Chisel album Circus Animals was released in 1982 and features a vintage caravan, improbably standing on Lake Eyre.

4. On his painting trips in the 1930s, Hans Heysen travelled in a wooden caravan towed by a Ford model A.

5. Slim Dusty travelled around in a caravan when he was on tour.

6. The surfing movie Drift (2013) featured vintage caravans and classic cars by the seaside in the southwest of WA.


caravans feature music art song holiday popular culture


Susan & Keith Hall

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