Queensland outback

Carnarvon Gorge

Moore Park Beach turtles

Sydney circular

Santa's trip

Formula One interlude


Caravanning News is registered with the National Library of Australia's PANDORA archive

September 2014

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For full list, click above

SEPT 21: Caravan destroyed by fire at fruit farm in Irymple, Victoria. Mildura fire crews prevented blaze spreading to second caravan.

SEPT 21: Caravan stolen from Melbourne and other vehicles among over half million dollar Aladdin's cave of stolen property uncovered at Canadian near Ballarat.

SEPT 21: Two police officers received hospital treatment after attempting to arrest two men during fracas at Aspley caravan park in Brisbane.

SEPT 20: Creditors of Victorian award-winning small family caravan builder Designer Vans, now in liquidation, will meet in Wangaratta on September 25.

SEPT 20: Arsonist blamed for blaze which extensively damaged interior of caravan parked in driveway at Seaford Meadows in South Australia overnight.

SEPT 20: Retro revellers can enjoy display of vintage caravans at Geelong Revival Motoring Festival in Victoria from November 28-30.

***  Click on BREAKING NEWS above to see full list of stories.


Cabins or motels ... a pet theory

REGARDING last month's story on Redlands' bid to attract caravans (see story here).

I grew up in Wynnum and Lota, near Brisbane, and many caravan parks are now closed.

Hard for people travelling to enjoy the city and the great experience of the Redlands.

There are two groups of people ... the grey nomads who do not want pools and kiddie things.

They want power and a dump point, campfires, peace and relaxation, hot showers, toilets and washing machine facilities.

They do not want to pay any more than $20 a night.

Then there are the younger families who want the BIG4 experience.

Maybe two parks could be considered, one by the council for grey nomads and tent sites with power and water.

Maybe tender out for a BIG4 at another location for the family thing.

Personally, I like the peace and quiet. While I haven't got a 'van yet, I do have my tents and the camping gear.

Another thing is people who are travelling with pets.

We did have three dogs and three cats but now have two Kelpies and two cats cage-trained show animals and are always staying at caravan parks and motels which are pet friendly.

Pet-friendly motels let us have our pets inside in the bathroom overnight.

But in Canberra we stayed at a caravan park in a cabin as it was very cold overnight ... and our poor pets had to stay on the verandah.

We only stayed two nights because we found the motels more helpful.

Able to put on the reverse cycle air conditioner so our motel room was warm for all of us.

We would stay at the motels again.

Cabins need to be pet-friendly to compete with the motels.

We paid $110 a night in Fyshwick, Canberra, for a non pet-friendly cabin ... but $89 a night for a two-bedroom pet-friendly motel room in Taree and $85 for a pet-friendly motel room in Woodburn.

Most people do the right thing. You could have certain cabins that are pet friendly. There is big demand for this.

Sharon Dutton.

Where are parks?

WOULD be nice if there was somewhere to stay.

Where are the caravan parks in the Redlands?

Except for Capalaba, there is none.

Neil Ainsworth.

Site impresses

ONLY just found your site and I am very impressed with your good work.

I live in Rockhampton where our free site is causing a fair bit of drama.

We don't free camp ourselves but it's good to have them available when parks are full.

Thanks for the current information you supply ... love it!

Peter Dunn.

$5-a-night fee no problem

REGARDING the new $5 fee for staying at SS Ellen Park in South Australia (see story here).

I would certainly feel better about staying there.

It is sometimes embarrassing to be seen as a freeloader.

But I do not like regimented caravan parks and prefer the openness of free range camping.

So paying a small amount suits me ... especially as I am a solo traveller and 'van parks charge me for my non-existent partner.


Why not?

WHY not ... we don't expect anything for nothing.

I wouldn't think anyone would complain about paying $5 a night.

Name supplied.

Fair enough

THE sooner we all pay a small cost recovery fee the sooner the heat will disappear from the various CCIAs' argument that we are all freeloaders.

Five dollars a night appears to be very fair and I look forward to using the location one day.

Neville Deuis.

Happy to pay

GREAT spot ... happy to pay!

Peter and Irene Rea.

A great site

WE have stayed at Lyrup, a great site with excellent facilities.

Five bucks a night is a good idea if it keeps this site open.

We have paid $10 a night for a council site with nothing but a long-drop bush dunny as its only facility.

Also, $5 is a lot cheaper than $50 a night for facilities that are not needed.

I am referring to those resort-type cabin parks that sell themselves as caravan parks.



Sail sense?

WE are aged pensioners and have been fulltime caravanners for a couple of years, but have decided to treat ourselves to a cruise.

Off we go to Centrelink to dutifully report that we will be out of the country for a couple of weeks.

"Oh, you soon won't have to bother to tell us," a very helpful lady at reception told us ... "Unless you're going on a cruise!"

Now where's the logic in this?

We can take a holiday at, say, one of the Whitsunday islands which would cost a lot more than we're paying for our cruise.

We could even fly to Hawaii and not have to tell Centrelink.

But if we cruise there we would have to inform them.

Crazy? Nope, it's just government in action!




AL-KO ECS demonstration

New logo  AL-KO's invitation to caravanners

Experience anti-sway device first hand

IN AN Australian first, visitors to a major caravan show could experience first hand AL-KO's revolutionary anti-sway device in action. Caravan owners are being invited to sit alongside a V8 Supercar driver as the company's Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is put through its paces at the four-day Melbourne Leisurefest, which opens at Sandown Raceway on October 2. AL-KO marketing services manager Brad Hooper said it was one thing to watch a demonstration video or read about the benefits of the world-first technology. "But it's not until you're actually inside a vehicle experiencing AL-KO ESC activate during a swerve manoeuvre that you really get a sense for what a significant advancement AL-KO ESC is for caravan safety," he said. Visitors can register their interest by clicking here.

"We need a fairer registration system"

REGO BATTLE SET FOR PARLIAMENTKevin Anderson: caravan rego petition

By Dennis Amor
Have your say

A TINY NSW caravan club's battle for fairer costs to register caravans in the state has taken a major step forward, with news it will be debated in Parliament.

Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson (pictured) has lodged a petition, which gained support from across Australia, on behalf of the Tamworth and District Caravan and Leisure Club.

It contains more than 11,000 signatures and calls on the NSW Government to reduce registration charges for caravans.

The 29-member club wants the "unfair" fees brought into line with neighbouring states.

A caravan costing just $49 to register in Victoria would cost a whopping $738 in NSW where fees are based on weight.

There are approximately 279,000 caravans registered in NSW.

Mr Anderson said he was "proud" to receive the club's petition together with a submission to the government's recently announced plan for the biggest shake-up in NSW's light vehicle registrations in 90 years.

"The petition will now be debated on the floor of Parliament," he said.

"I look forward to bringing this issue to the attention of Parliament and I thank the Tamworth and District Caravan and Leisure Club for its efforts on behalf of other caravan owners in NSW."

Club secretary Pam Wilson told Caravanning News she appreciated  the MP's help.

"I would like to thank Mr Anderson for his support and for bringing this issue to the attention of Parliament," she said.

Mrs Wilson pointed out that Queenslanders could register their caravans for 34 percent of what it cost caravan owners in NSW.

Victorians would pay eight percent of the cost for registering the same weight caravan in NSW.

"Whilst it is welcomed that revenue raised from registration and traffic infringements is directed into upgrading roads, we still need a fairer registration system," she said.

Mrs Wilson added that the unfair fees in NSW often led to caravanners registering their vehicles interstate.

updated logo  Shift towards lower-spec budget caravansCoromal and Windsor caravans

Fleetwood Corp shares
still plumbing new depths

By Dennis Amor

SHARES in Perth-based caravan builder Fleetwood Corporation continue to plumb new depths, hitting a new year-long low of $1.82. Prices have now fallen for the last six trading days on the ASX and follows the recent revelation in the company's full-year preliminary results that profit had plunged 97 percent. The results showed that earnings were $5.5m, despite a 10 percent rise in revenue to $366.5m. Revenue from its RV division, which manufactures Coromal and Windsor caravans, was $136.5m, with earnings before interest and tax of $7.1m. The company's report said a significant rise in demand in the education sector had offset poor performance in the resources and recreational vehicles sectors. During the year, Fleetwood RV saw a shift towards lower-spec budget caravans and began importing Asian campers while improving its dealer network. Its Flexiglass subsidiary underwent restructuring and acquired NSW aluminium tray and auto accessory manufacturer Bocar for $4.75 million. The recreational vehicles division had continued experiencing "soft trading" conditions, reflecting weak consumer sentiment during the year. A fall in consumer confidence had led to the $5 million impairment charge against goodwill of the caravan manufacturing business. The report said revenue from canopies and trays had risen "marginally" despite a fall in the sales of new light commercial vehicles. The Camec subsidiary had continued experiencing pressure from competitors and a fall in volumes as a result of weaker production volumes in the RV industry. "While subdued conditions in the recreational vehicles market have resulted in an impairment charge in respect of the company's caravan manufacturing business, restructuring actions are starting to contribute operation and financial benefits," the report added. Speaking at an investor teleconference after the results were announced, managing director Brad Denison said it had been a challenging time. The market had done a "shift-back" from the boom years enjoyed before the global financial crisis, with the demand for expensive RVs now giving way to lower priced products, he said. Fleetwood's caravan business had been running at a "break-even" point for some time. "But we will be bringing exciting new products to the market at what will be an extremely competitive price," Mr Denison added. There were also "aggressive" plans to extend the dealer network. Have your say

Man arrested after Mount Morgan drama


A MAN, 29, was arrested after a siege on the Burnett Highway leading into the central Queensland town of Mount Morgan. A caravan, 4WD and properties were reportedly ablaze after a raging bushfire erupted during the drama. One report said a vehicle towing a caravan was also sideswiped during a police chase between Rockhampton and Mount Morgan which at times reached 170kph. The man was said to be in possession of a rifle with a scope and laser, ammunition and a handgun. Firemen under police guard battled to bring the fire under control. Mount Morgan's two caravan parks told Caravanning News they were unaffected by the siege. "Caravanners can still reach us by using the Gracemere Road," a spokeswoman at the Silver Wattle Caravan Park said. Police later revealed that the bushfire had damaged two caravans, two sheds and some machinery. A man has been charged with assault occasioning bodily harm, going armed as to cause fear, unlawful possession of a weapon, wilful damage, failure to stop a motor vehicle, driving without a licence and two counts each of acts intended to resist arrest and dangerous operation of a motor vehicle. Have your say

Simone Strobel bookIntriguing insight in caravan park killing

Simone book selling like 'hot cakes'

A COMPELLING new book probing the murder of a young German backpacker at a NSW caravan park is selling like "hot cakes" in nearby bookstores. It was nine years ago that fun-loving traveller Simone Strobel was mercilessly suffocated at the Lismore Tourist and Caravan Park. The Bavarian kindergarten worker's body was found six days later hidden under a pile of rotting palm fronds opposite the 2.5-star caravan park after boyfriend Tobias Suckfuell, also from Germany, reported her missing. Creative writer and mother-of-three Virginia Peters has now penned a book about the murder and its aftershocks. Local bookstores have told Caravanning News there has been an avalanche of interest and Have You See Simone? is selling well. More button

Safety warning on 5th wheelers
ALARM bells have been sounded about the safety of Australian RV Gooseneck 5th Wheeler trailers and Hijacker Fifth Wheel Assembly Hitches.
The public warning comes from NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe and follows fears they do not comply with Australian Design Rules. The vehicles were sold by Play Mor, Newcastle RVs and Newcastle RV Specialists during the last four years.

Aspen in bid to raise $40m for parks fund
ASPEN Group, which has a chain of 23 holiday and accommodation parks, recorded a statutory loss of $81.8m for the year
. Operating profit before tax rose 32.2 percent to $14.7m on 2013 results. A company statement said its non-listed Aspen Parks Property Fund has launched an entitlement offer to raise a minimum of $39.9 million. "The entitlement offer will strengthen APPF's balance sheet and provide capacity to undertake future acquisitions," it said. Aspen Group intends to subscribe for its full entitlement based on its 12.5 percent equity interest and has fully underwritten the balance of the entitlement offer. Aspen Group recently rejected a $5m offer from Ingenia Communities for Aspen's interest in the parks fund and to run it. Have your say

Nowra caravan show'Stunning success' leads to second show
LOCALS are reportedly delighted the Nowra Caravan, Camping and Outdoor Living Show will return to the New South Wales city.
BossMan Events has revealed that after the "stunning success" of the first show, there will be a second coming at the Shoalhaven Turf Club next month. "The venue lends itself to a Spring event, and with positive feedback from the locals and exhibitors we are more than confident we can build on the first crowd of over 6000," director Scott Reinemann said. More button

Parks join Ombudsman to improve workplace compliance
CARAVAN parks throughout Australia have joined forces with Fair Work Ombudsman to improve compliance with federal workplace laws.
The Accommodation Association of Australia has signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of its members aimed at creating and maintaining fair workplaces and a level playing field for employers. The Ombudsman will provide advice to the association about how it can help members to meet their workplace obligations as employers. Meanwhile, the association has agreed to tell the Ombudsman of any problems faced by the industry which could act as barriers to compliance. Have your say

Outrage over advert for non-qualified RV electrical installer
AUSTRALIA'S caravan manufacturing industry is under a cloud after one builder advertised for a non-qualified electrical and plumbing installer.
The Victoria-based company said it needed a "capable person" to install 12v/240v wiring and water plumbing to new recreational vehicles. The advertisement in SEEK added: "Trade qualification not required." Describing itself as a "long-established boutique" manufacturer, the company said it had a reputation for high quality outcomes. But outraged contributors to Caravanning News' Facebook page were not impressed. There were over 20 comments questioning the wisdom of employing an unqualified tradesperson. "How is this legal?" queried one. "I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to work on the electrics in my caravan (or any electrics come to that) who wasn’t qualified," retorted another. One contributor described it as "crazy". Caravanning News has chosen not to name the manufacturer. Have your say

Awards reflect industry's 'excellence'
TWENTY of NSW's best businesses and individuals serving the caravan and camping industry have been honoured.
They were recognised at the CCIA & MHIA Annual Awards of Excellence for their outstanding products and industry contribution. "The winners of our major awards really reflect the excellence in our industry and are businesses which have focussed on the needs of their customers," president Theo Whitmont said.

RVs at parkMandurah the RV capital of Australia
MANDURAH in Western Australia appears to be the RV capital of Australia.
Of all postcodes identified in a report compiled for the Caravan Industry Association of Australia, the city south of Perth had the highest combined number of caravan and campervan registrations recorded last year. The figure stood at 4516 ... a four percent rise on the previous year. Meanwhile, WA's Albany and Queensland's Bundaberg, Fraser Coast and Toowoomba rounded out the top five locations for caravan and campervan registrations. Postcodes with registrations topping 1000 included Gladstone (Qld) with a 12.7 percent increase. Cairns and Beenleigh (Qld), Bathurst, Dubbo and Tamworth (NSW) and Pakenham (Vic) all rose by more than 10 percent. Victoria had the largest percentage of registered caravans in Australia last year while Queensland the most registered campervans. Have your say

Higher park fees not ruled out
KEMPSEY Shire Council in NSW has decided to map out the future of its five coastal caravan parks.
It has called for tenders to draw up a business plan for Horseshoe Bay (66 caravan and tent sites), Grassy Head (150 sites), Stuarts Point (124 sites), Hat Head (300 sites) and Crescent Head (250 sites) holiday parks. The council is anxious to maximise their competitiveness, growth prospects and uniqueness. And this, it has admitted, would not rule out higher park fees. "Caravan parks need to cater to all demographics, but we won’t let them become inaccessible," a spokeswoman promised. Have your say

Finn the mascotFinn the dolphin takes up residence
A DOLPHIN named Finn has taken up residence at Darlington Beach Holiday Park in New South Wales.
The award-winning holiday park at Arrawarra Beach, just north of Coffs Harbour on the state's Mid North Coast, recently unveiled the surfing dolphin as its new mascot. Park manager Brendan Brady said Finn was named by a Facebook fan. "We think Finn is perfect. It represents the marine life living in our backyard, as well as the outdoor lifestyle we love, such as surfing and swimming," he explained. More button

Off-peak periods 'getting shorter'
A CARAVANNER has slammed soaring caravan park charges as "ridiculous".
In a letter to Central Queensland News, pensioner Dave Windle says: "Not all of us are loaded with money." He points out that he would use caravan parks more if their charges were "more reasonable". Mr Windle, who has been a fulltime traveller for over three years, complains that off-peak periods are getting shorter. "What the regular folks don't realise is they have peak seasons, shoulder seasons, pre-peak seasons where prices double, triple and sometimes quadruple for a small piece of dirt to park on, a little bit of water and power and maybe a shower. I understand that these businesses have overheads, but if they got realistic and dropped prices a little, their 32 percent annual occupancy might rise." Have your say

Council workers John Hanley and Mick Jones in front of the new all weather Crookwell Caravan Park cooking facility

Council workers John Hanley and Mick Jones in front of the new cooking facility

Work forging ahead

Something cooking at Crookwell

WORK is forging ahead on a new all-weather cooking facility for guests at Crookwell Caravan Park in New South Wales. It is being built with the help of a $70,706 grant from the Public Reserves Management Fund Program. Upper Lachlan Shire Council is also contributing $10,000 of its own funds towards the project. As well as a BBQ and hotplates, microwave, fridge and tables and chairs, there will also be a wood heater for the cold Crookwell winter nights. It is hoped the amenity will help attract more guests to the park. "This new cooking facility is an essential addition to the caravan park and will be a great boost for local tourism," council general manager John Bell said. Work is expected to be completed early next year. Have your say

Award for Jayco dealer that 'values staff'
CARAVAN dealership Jayco Newcastle in NSW scooped a business excellence gong at the Hunter Business Chamber Awards.
Judges said the company had bounced back from a devastating $500,000 blaze in 2012 that saw it lose 11 caravans and part of its service centre. The company's 36 employees were retained as Jayco transitioned to a new facility at Heatherbrae. "What they have done to rebuild is amazing,’’ Hunter Business Chamber chief executive Kristen Keegan said. "It seems like the organisation has a really strong sense of team and really values their people." Have your say

Great Ocean RoadResidents win fight to block GOR park
RESIDENTS have won their fight to block a proposed caravan park on Victoria's iconic Great Ocean Road after claiming it could become a de facto "housing estate or retirement village".
Surf Coast Shire council has refused to issue a planning permit for a large-scale eco park on the outskirts of Torquay. Members of the local 3228 Residents Association were worried there could be a shortage of guests wanting to stay at the planned $105 million park due to its location. "There is a real concern that this park, being a significant distance from the town centre and from beaches, may also find that it could be financially unsupportable as it is currently proposed," the association said in a submission to the council.

Statistical spotlight on parks industry
AUSTRALIA'S caravan park industry is being asked to help bring statistics up to date.
The newly formed Caravan Industry Association of Australia has launched a comprehensive research project to address a lack of available industry figures. The aim is to collate information on available sites, occupied sites and revenue from them. It is hoped the results will provide insights into industry performance and trends. This will help the industry's marketing, lobbying and advocacy. It will also allow businesses to benchmark their individual data against national data. To take part in the survey, click here. Have your say

Jayco Camper TrailerCamper trailers still popular with families
CAMPER trailers are still popular, according to Australia's biggest builder of recreational vehicles.
"Small to tow and big to live in, they have been a favourite with Australian families for almost 40 years," a spokesperson for Jayco said. The Victorian company manufactures a range of Camper Trailers which are ideal for the road-tripping family looking for economy with class, he added.

Fleetwood acquires Bocar for $4.75m
FLEETWOOD Corporation, builders of Coromal and Windsor caravans, has acquired NSW-based Bocar for $4.75m.
Bocar manufactures aluminium trays and accessories for the automotive sector. The company was established more than 25 years ago. "The acquisition provides Fleetwood subsidiary Flexiglass with increased scale in New South Wales, and the opportunity to distribute Bocar products through its Australia-wide network," Perth-based Fleetwood said in a statement. The acquisition would be funded through the company's existing financing facilities with Westpac. Have your say

Wodonga expoStrong sales at Wodonga expo
WODONGA'S recent fourth annual Border Caravan & Camping Expo set a whole new standard for the size and variety of displays, organisers said.
Exhibitors reported an enthusiastic response to the spacious new layout and the greatly increased variety of products on display, with strong sales across the board. The Caravan Industry Association Victoria was more than happy with the result for its official industry show, with attendance close to last year's figures. More button

Smaller sites sacrificed in upgrade
UPGRADES at a popular council-owned Sunshine Coast caravan park in Queensland will include a reduction in the number of small sites.
They are being sacrificed as part of a $520,000 upgrade at the 3.5-star Coolum Beach Holiday Park. The work includes replacing 70 smaller sites with 46 larger ones to cater for a rise in the number of larger RVs on the road these days. Meanwhile, an unpowered tent area is being added to the park's eastern dunes area. It is hoped the upgrade will turn the holiday destination into an all-weather camping and caravan park. Work is scheduled to be completed next month and follows the provision of a new amenities block in 2012. Have your say

Melbourne LeisurefestIndustry pumps $1.4b into economies
BOOMING caravan and camping industries pump $1.4 billion into the Victorian and national economies, according to the Caravan Industry Association Victoria.
Chief executive Rob Lucas said they employed over 5150 people in Victorian trade businesses and were "significant contributors" to the economies. He said Victoria also had "lots of places" to experience and visit, including over 500 caravan and holiday parks. Mr Lucas was speaking as work forged ahead on staging next month's major Melbourne Leisurefest at Sandown Racecourse.

Green light for free-camp trial
DESPITE fierce opposition, Ballarat City Council has given the green light for a 12-month trial allowing free overnight stays for RVs at Pioneer Park.
Caravan park owners were against the plan, which will allow free-campers in self-contained RVs to stay for two nights at Wendouree. The council has warned the trial could be discontinued if travellers misuse the area or if local caravan parks prove it is having a "damaging impact" on their businesses. Councillors also approved a year-long trial in which four caravan parks will be paid $10 every time non-guest travellers use their dump points. They are the BIG4 Ballarat Goldfields, BIG4 Ballarat Welcome Stranger, BIG4 Ballarat Windmill and the Eureka Stockade holiday parks. Have your say

Trawler to become kids' attraction at caravan parkSomething fishy about park's new attraction
THERE'S something fishy about a proposed $750,000 water park at a New South Wales caravan park.
Work is well underway on the sprawling castaway-themed attraction at the award-winning BIG4 Sunshine South West Rocks Holiday Park. Its centrepiece will be an old 50ft fishing trawler which is being transformed into a replica wrecked and partly submerged tall ship in a lagoon-style pool. The somewhat worst-for-wear trawler was rescued from the shores of nearby Port Macquarie. More button

Ratings and masses raise most concerns
THE vast majority of questions and complaints handled by the Caravan Council of Australia involves ratings and masses of caravans and camper-trailers.
General manager and professional automotive engineer Colin Young said others concerned associated secondary issues of handling and stability along with tyre and vibration problems. The association has now issued an information sheet which it hopes will help manufacturers, owners and potential buyers to ensure their caravans perform well on the road and avoid uncomfortable or dangerous situations. More button

Jayco 5th WheelerImposing package a dream to drive
YES it is big ... but it doesn’t drive big.
What seems like an imposing package, the 28ft Jayco 5th Wheeler is incredibly maneuverable, fuel-efficient and a dream to drive. That's the view of Melbourne Truck Centre fleet sales manager Roger Lake who recently took a Jayco 5th Wheeler on an 820km trip along the NSW coast. More button

Caravan industry gives kids better start at school
THE Caravan Industry Association Victoria has donated $5000 to the Border Trust’s Back to School Gift Voucher Program.
This continues the association's tradition of giving to local charities on behalf of the Border RV & Camping Expo. CIA Vic chief executive Robert Lucas said the association was delighted to support the trust in helping school students meet back-to-school expenses. "This program provides $50 Target vouchers to assist students and families with the essentials of school life, which makes a real and meaningful difference," he said. Border Trust is a community foundation which encourages individuals, families, corporates and other organisations to make donations to help the communities of Albury, Alpine, Corowa, Greater Hume, Indigo, Towong, Tumbarumba and Wodonga. Have your say

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Editor: Dennis Amor
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Queensland 4671


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Weapons in caravans unnecessary

I WOULD like to comment on month's Gun-toting Caravanners story (see story here)

Every time this is dragged out, people think that once you leave the city and get out into the bush there must be an axe murderer behind every tree.

This furphy causes some to think that taking a firearm illegally stored or some other weapon will be of benefit.

It makes others afraid once they leave the confines of the city.

What on earth do they think they will do if they pull a firearm out on a burglar?

I do get angry when I read of any suggestion about carrying a firearm or other weapon in a caravan.

It leads some to think it necessary.

The reality is, unless you are SAS trained and wide awake, any weapon you pull will be used on you.

You do not know how they will react. They may be high on speed and even more unpredictable and prone to violence without thought of the consequences.

What about the elderly retiree sleeping out in his caravan on his way around Australia?

What chance has he got? Every chance, because the burglars are too busy working over your street and will never venture out along the roads looking for a low yielding target.

Personal protection? Getting out of the city will do it.

What do people living cities do for self defence? How many have been awake and alert enough to clobber the burglar?

In comparison, how many more have been bashed by the burglar? If you are burgled, far better to lay quiet and let the thief have your wallet than end up being bashed.

Leave anything that could be used as a weapon at home, or well concealed out of sight and reach.


Safer inside

I REALLY feel unsafe now.

We've been free camping for years and have never felt unsafe nor have we ever been harassed.

We don't carry any sort of weapon, just have a rule that if anything does happen it's safer inside a 'van than outside.

Don't care if anything gets stolen (never has been) as long as we are both safe and unhurt.  We have often camped in the bush alone and never feel the need to camp near people.

Karol Fisher.

Somewhat bizarre

FOR a magazine promoting caravanning I find this article to be somewhat bizarre, and one that plays on the stereotype of a frightened older generation.

If they were so frightened then they would not be travelling.

The thread in the caravanners forum that this article relates to was, to my reading, overwhelmingly against carrying the sort of weaponry described in the article.

Instead, most members advocated the use of a commonsense approach to their safety, fully aware that weapons can easily be turned against the owner.

This fact was reinforced by some members who were ex-police and had seen the results of this in their working lives.

It is a shame that the author of the article took such a narrow reading of the comments in the forum (ie the person who had travelled with a 12 gauge shotgun for 25 years went on to say it was surrendered in the buy-back scheme of 1997, so not quite recent information).

Some of the information in the second half of the article on the legal issues was worthwhile.

But I found the first half to be little more than sensationalism and not worthy of a caravanning newsletter, many of whose readers are said nomads, whether gun-toting or not.

Helen Allan.

Comment chuckle

WHILE I am not an advocate of carrying firearms in our travels I did get a bit of chuckle from the article's comment:

"The claims come as more and more caravanners shun the safety and security of caravan parks and opt to overnight in free-camps and rest areas."

Being an avid reader of Caravanning News, I have noted the constant reports of the safety and security in caravan parks, murders, fights, disputes, police involvement, robberies, fires and drug labs etc etc ... even an unfortunate CP owner who died from being run down in her own park.

However, I would hasten to say these reports represent just a small minority of CP dwellers as do the the gun toting wild west cowboys that frequent the usually very safe freedom-camp sites.

It is most likely more dangerous to walk down the main street of the town I live in any day.

Arthur Bugden.

Great way to go

A NEW travel centre is planned for the Bruce Highway in Queensland (see story here).

Good great way to go ... there should be more of them, but maybe 36hr or 48hr would be better.

Anyway, it’s a start.


Fears over river site

I LIKE the idea of the service station incorporating some caravan sites.

But I do hope it doesn't mean the adjacent free park at Calliope River is under threat. It's a wonderful spot to stay overnight and the 15 sites planned at the service station would not be sufficient.

We stayed at the river very recently and counted over 100 (yes, one hundred) 'vans during our stay – just one night.

Elizabeth Edwards.

Fifteen not enough

WHILE this is a good idea, 15 spaces are not enough.

We stopped at the Gympie rest area one Sunday night two years ago and there were more than 15 campers there.

People stop in the middle of the night to rest. It was pretty much full. Having toilets is good. Happy to pay for a hot shower.

Sharon Dutton.

Setting precedent?

THE rumpus over Ballarat's free camping plan is interesting (see story here)

If councils give in to pressure from the park owners' lobby and restrict free campers will this set a precedent? For example:

Will the fast/takeaway/dine-in food industry lobby to have family BBQs removed from public/council parks?

Will the gymnasium industry lobby councils to ban exercising on public/council land?

Will the automotive/fuel industry lobby councils to stop people walking and riding bikes on council streets and roads?

Will the commercial function industry lobby to prevent people hiring public halls to cater for themselves?

Just a few scenarios that come to mind ... how many more are there?

Daryl Carson.