It was a step back in time when we visited the Taupo Museum last week. There was an iconic little New Zealand manufactured caravan on display and I was keen to see it. The museum had the opportunity to purchase this caravan and set it up in the style of the 1950s and 60s. The manufacturers plaque screwed on to the caravan stated “Anglo Imp, 10ft 6in X 6ft 9in, made in Melville, Hamilton”.
Although a bit lacking in the mod cons we take for granted these days, it was well set up and surprisingly roomy inside. A vintage table cloth lay over the small table which was set with plastic plates of the era.
The two burner gas hob would have cooked up many a meal for the family. Perhaps just a pot of new season’s potatoes and freshly podded peas in the evenings to accompany the BBQ sausages which Dad was cooking outside? I didn’t notice a fridge but there were plenty of older style kitchen utensils on display. The knitted tea cosy adds to the home away from home feel.
The seating area at the back of the caravan had an assortment of magazines and a newspaper from the era. The striped wool rug would be just the thing to wrap around yourself when the evening cooled down, and the hanging pennants showed all the places the family had visited. .
And I just loved this – a fine selection of swim suits hanging out to dry after a bracing dip in Lake Taupo.
This little beauty was the essence of how Kiwis went camping in days gone by. We camped on the beach, or beside the lake, with a camp table, chairs, and sun umbrella set up outside. The kids spent all day frolicking in the water, or playing in the sand dunes, arriving back in camp for meals, tired out from spending the day in the healthy fresh air. No doubt sun burnt too, we didn’t tend to wear sun hats or use much in the way of sunscreen in those early days. Mum prepared the meals and Dad cooked on the BBQ. The kids were in charge of going to the camp kitchen to make the breakfast toast. Then after the meals were eaten they carried the family’s dishes back to the camp kitchen in a plastic bowl, a tea towel over their arm, to do the last chore of the evening. Those were the good old days!