VINTAGE 1950S ROWVAN This early use of aluminium frames allowed the front and rear windows on the Rowvan to extend across the full width of the caravan, with the front window on a hinge so it can be opened.
VINTAGE 1950S ROWVAN CARAVAN AWNING The curved walls at both ends of the caravan were replaced with new tempered Masonite.
VINTAGE 1950S ROWVAN CARAVAN BED The Rowvan has a Tudor-style ceiling with exposed beams and no lining, in the style of many South Australian-built caravans of that era.
VINTAGE 1950S ROWVAN CARAVAN CANVAS Repairing the roof was one of the biggest challenges of the restoration. The old roof was painted with a layer of fibreglass-containing paint and then a sheet of calico was rolled out over the wet paint. The calico was then rubbed into the paint and left to dry. This was a tricky operation, requiring eight people to roll out and hold the calico in place.
VINTAGE 1950S ROWVAN CARAVAN KITCHEN Wood-grain cupboard doors are a feature of Rowvans.
VINTAGE 1950S ROWVAN CARAVAN LIGHTS Modern lights were installed at the rear of the caravan, while retaining the original steel side lights.
VINTAGE 1950S ROWVAN CARAVAN SIDE LIGHTS The side lights at the rear have red glass on the rear and green glass on the front. The glass in the side lights was broken and replacement green lights were difficult to find. However, Ray and Barbara finally found some in a collectables shop in Paringa, SA.
VINTAGE 1950S ROWVAN CARAVAN TABLE The dinette has a very 1950s decor, with the original upholstery and Laminex table.

This 1950s Rowvan has plenty of distinctive retro features, including a cute porthole window.

The 1950s Rowvan caravan behind the 1937 Ford.

When Ray and Barbara Jones decide to set out on a trip from their home in Loxton, SA, they have three different rigs to choose from. For comfortable touring, they have a 2011 Coromal pop-top towed by a modern vehicle. For excitement and adventure, they ride a Honda Goldwing trike and tow an Elite camper trailer. And, for a bit of nostalgia, they tow a 1950s Rowvan behind their 1937 Ford.

Ray and Barbara are members of the Riverland Vintage and Classic Car Club and have owned the Ford for 30 years, but the old caravan is a much more recent acquisition. It was while they were touring on their trike that they first saw the Rowvan jutting out from a shed in Peterborough, SA, about 200km from their home.

Ray and Barbara took 18 months to carefully restore the Rowvan, putting in many hours of painstaking work. Features of Rowvans, which were built in Adelaide in the 1950s, include a double cambered Canite roof, Tudor-style ceiling with exposed beams and no lining, and a porthole window.

This Rowvan also has the original interior and original annexe, and its aluminium window frames are a good early example of the progression from all wood to new technologies that were adopted by caravan builders in the 1950s.


See the full version in Caravan World #524, March 2014. Why not subscribe today?


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