The Evolution of Camping

I stand under a hot shower in our latest caravan, the water is both cleansing and refreshing. There is classical music tinkling in the background and as I smell the aroma of espresso coffee I remember…

My mother often reminisced of my first holiday in my uncle’s caravan at Rosebud. As I was barely six months old I don’t remember riding across the peninsula with Mum in the sidecar of Dad’s trusty Norton motorcycle.

My earliest memory of camping is much later sleeping on the bench seat of our Holden FX ute while my parents slept blissfully in the cramped comfort of their tiny home built caravanette.

Then came fishing trips to the Goulburn River when we had to eat canned lamb tongues because no one caught a fish.

In our twenties and full of life we raced to Bonnie Doon to water ski on Lake Eildon, all of us bunking down on canvas stretchers under a war surplus canvas tent suspended on stout wooden poles. The wind would whistle under the canvas sides that barely touched the grass. I can still smell the canvas.

In the searing heat of the summer of 1976 it was driving across the Nullarbor in a Californian Mini Moke. The only shelter a small orange two man tent made of nylon. By the time we returned to Eucla on our way home we couldn’t erect the tent for fear of it being eaten by a swarming mouse plague. At least they didn’t eat the vinyl roof of the car.

In time came the magnificent Canadian Wood’s tents. We assumed they must have been good if they kept Canadians warm and safe from bears. And because they had that wonder of modernity ‘a floor’ we were safe from snakes on our dozens of trips to the high country and the mighty Murray River.

The 21st century brought a modern tent with two rooms, zippered windows and an inflatable double bed that actually remained inflated for several days. Unlike its predecessors that lowered you to the cold ground around 3:00am. Along with that luxury came the toilet tent and man’s greatest invention the porta potti. Every day the porta potti was ceremoniously removed from the tent so that we could all take turns to use the hand held battery powered shower with sun warmed river water. Such a luxury.

Now where’s that latte’?

Mum and the Caravanette 001
Mum cooking in the Caravanette

6 thoughts on “The Evolution of Camping

  1. Thoroughly enjoyed your great post. I remember the canvas smell and the luxury of graduating to a tent with external frame so there was no central pole to maneuver around.


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