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April 2019

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* Huge hunt for couple missing from Bright caravan park ... 80,734 people reached.

* Bumbling caravan crooks strike at Deception Bay ... 26,591 people reached.

* Workers locked out as Jurgens Australia hits troubled times ... 21,595 people reached

* Sunland Caravans dismisses allegations of financial problems ... 15,128 people reached.

* Caravan rolls on Mooney Mooney Bridge ... 14,975 people reached.

* Byron Bay council takes action against rogue campers ... 14,928 people reached.

* Brisbane RV goes into voluntary administration ... 12,261 people reached.


Question of responsibility after robbery

REGARDING the duty of care taken by some caravan park owners.

Last December my husband and I were in a cabin at a Tamworth caravan park and were robbed by three 18 to 19 year-olds.

They bashed into the cabin and, brandishing a knife, threatened to kill us and demanded money.

They managed to steal a watch, medicines, handbag, purse, mobile phone and charger.

The Incident was reported to Tamworth Police who made the cabin a crime scene.

It was also reported to the park owner.

A report was sent to BIG4 who forwarded our complaint onto the park manager, advising us they are not responsible for the parks.

It appears that individual owners are responsible for park security.

The park had no security gates, allowing cars to come and go as they please.

There were no CCTV cameras or buzzers to warn other patrons.

No written or verbal apology has been received from the park manager.

Other campers should beware of this problem.

Maureen and John Carney.

'Less than nice'

DOING shows is very expensive and at Melbourne in particular exhibitors are, in my opinion, treated less than nice.

Unless, of course, you are Jayco or similar.

We have exhibited for the past five years and not once has an organiser spoken to us in any way.

I think we will think twice about supporting the show next year.

Mark Oliver,
RV Trade and Fleet.

Taxing problem

QUEENSLAND is the top state for caravan ownership (see story here).

The reason NSW is so low is because of the rip-off amount of rego we are charged.

A lot of people register their caravans in other States because it is a fraction of the cost of NSW.

Suzanne Harve.


Frightening reminder of Chamberlain case

Toddler pulled from jaws of dingoes

Injured  infant boarding the rescue helicopter

By Dennis Amor

AN island paradise off the Queensland coast was in shock today after dingoes dragged a sleeping child from a campervan in the early hours. The 14-month old boy's cries awoke his father who leapt from the vehicle and wrestled the toddler from the jaws of two marauding dingoes in the Eurong area of Fraser Island shortly after midnight. A rescue helicopter from Bundaberg airlifted the injured infant to Hervey Bay Hospital where he was said to be in a stable condition. A Queensland Ambulance Service paramedic based on the island treated the child's injuries until the helicopter arrived. He was later being flown with his mother to the children's hospital in Brisbane. The boy  is understood to have suffered puncture wounds to the neck and a fractured skull. "The child's parents were woken by their son's cries, which were becoming more distant," RACQ LifeFlight said in a statement. The father had dashed outside to find the child had been dragged some distance from the campervan. "The father fought off the dingo and succeeded in getting the child away," it added. The family is believed to be from Brisbane. It was the third attack on the popular camping holiday island this year. A six-year-old boy was mauled in the same area in January. The latest incident is being described as an "eerie reminder" of the Azaria Chamberlain case in which the nine-week-old baby was taken by a dingo at Ayers Rock near Alice Springs. Have your say

Kui advert


Program aims to reduce tension on the road

Ken Wilson with Truck Friendly sticker

Mr Wilson

Story-photo: Dennis Amor

CARAVANNER Ken Wilson has launched a new program designed to improve the often strained relationship between fellow travellers and truckies.

His project has already received the backing of the industry's peak body the Caravan Industry Association of Australia and Caravanning Queensland.

Mr Wilson and wife Jenny, from Bundaberg in Queensland, have been avid caravanners for a decade and are often amazed at what happens on the road.

"We have all seen silly and dangerous driving and have witnessed firsthand the lack of understanding by many drivers on how to help the truckies," Mr Wilson told Caravanning News.

"Listening to comments and having conversations with truck drivers on the UHF often highlights their frustration."

Mr Wilson put on his thinking cap and after three years has finally come up with his Truck Friendly program, which is backed up with a special website and 300mm easy recognisable green stickers for the rear of caravans and other RVs.

He has consulted various trucking Industry groups and individuals, caravanning and motorhome clubs and associations to gain knowledge to share through the program.

Mr Wilson has so far financed the project from his own pocket but is now looking for sponsors.

The Caravan Industry Association of Australia is investigating the concept of Truck Friendly which chief executive Stuart Lamont said looked "very interesting as an adjunct to our Co-Exist campaign".

"Anything which assists in road safety and caravanners and truck drivers respecting one another on the road is a good thing." Read More button

Check appliances and be safe

Minister urges Easter campers
 and caravanners to be gas wise

Have your say

CARAVANNERS and campers are being urged to check their gas appliances before embarking on their Easter travels. Queensland Energy Minister Dr Anthony Lynham delivered the message to families about to enjoy the Queensland weather. "In the wake of a barbeque gas bottle explosion that injured a Brisbane teenager recently it is timely to remind everyone that liquefied petroleum gas and butane appliances are dangerous if stored, transported or used incorrectly,Ē he said during a media conference at the Broadwater Tourist Park on the Gold Coast. "While the incident happened at home, campers need to be even more vigilant when it comes to gas safety as equipment and gear can become damaged while it's collecting dust in the shed. When you're packing up the rig and family for the break, you should check if any of the equipment has been recalled since you last used it, secure all your gas bottles during transport and when you set up camp make sure gas connections are secure." Dr Lynham said that since last Easter, more than 10,000 butane cookers had been recalled nationally and campers should check the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website. He said that during the peak camping season it was particularly important for neighbours to look out for each other when setting up and lighting barbeques. "Campsites at Easter are packed, so don't forget to keep children and others at a safe distance when you light up. If any leaks are detected or suspected, turn the gas bottle off, move yourself and others away from the area and donít use the equipment again until all the gas has dispersed and it's confirmed to be safe. And any experienced camper knows it's worth it to keep a portable, dry chemical fire extinguisher nearby." (The gas bottle portrayed above is for illustrative purposes only and is not associated with any incidents)

The Austin familyInsatiable appetite for a life of freedom'

Teachers and their kids 'lapping it up' on the road

TWO teachers from Newcastle in NSW and their young family say they are "lapping it up" after setting off in their caravan for a mammoth road trip around Australia. Trent and Jessica Austin and their three children set off on their open-ended odyssey shortly before Christmas and are already about 7000 kilometres into the adventure. And, they admit, their new life not without its challenges, the biggest being adjusting from living in a four-bedroom house to a 22ft caravan. "Whilst it's daunting, we have a real sense of optimism and excitement for what the future holds," they told Caravanning News. "And we feel incredibly blessed to be in a position to make this investment in our family. We may be away for 12 months, 24 months or never return home." The couple said their "insatiable appetite for a life of freedom" followed a five-week holiday. To read a personal account of their adventure, click on Read More button. Read More button

Gabby MontagneseThe next chapter of a 'remarkable company'

Walkinshaw in full control
of New Age Caravans

By Dennis Amor

IT'S official ... the Walkinshaw Group now has full control of leading caravan manufacturer New Age Caravans. Ryan Walkinshaw said in a statement that his company had been "working steadily in the background" to develop new aspects of New Age and was looking forward to accelerating the outputs from his design and engineering teams. As part of the change in ownership, New Age founder and chief executive Gabby Montagnese (pictured above) will also take on a role on the board of New Age Caravans. "What Gabby has achieved is truly remarkable and with her continued support we look forward to building on her legacy and creating the next chapter in this remarkable company," Mr Walkinshaw said. Ms Montagnese (pictured) commented: "One of the reasons I originally partnered with the Walkinshaw organisation was to bring new design and engineering innovation to the market. I look forward to working with the board and executive team to keep developing and evolving." The Walkinshaw name first came to prominence in Australia when Tom Walkinshaw first started racing his Factory Jaguar XJS at the Bathurst 1000 in 1984, followed by a three-vehicle assault on Mount Panorama in 1985. This foray was the catalyst for a growing presence in the Australian automotive landscape, eventually seeing Walkinshaw becoming the engine room behind the iconic brands of the Holden Racing Team and Holden Special Vehicles. "We pride ourselves on pushing the limits," Mr Walkinshaw said. "And as we continue our automotive transition and achieve growth in what is a challenging market we believe this spirit and attitude will serve us and our customers well in delivering a unique caravan and camper product under the New Age banner." No details of any financial arrangements were revealed. Have your say

Adventurer caravanAdventurer renamed after Jayco complaint
VICTORIA-based Essential Caravans has decided to rename its semi-offroad Adventurer caravan after an approach by Australia's biggest RV manufacturer.
Jayco complained it already owned the brand name and called on Essential, who has been using the name for nearly seven years, to "cease and desist" from using it. "In the interest of equanimity and maintaining positive relationships with all those in the caravan industry, we have elected to comply with these requests from Jayco," Essential Caravans and Design RV managing director David Wilson said. All future orders and subsequent builds will be renamed Outlander. "While the Jayco version and Essential version of Adventurer are both very different, for the sake of minimising any market confusion or disruption we have complied willingly with all requests from Jayco," Mr Wilson said. Have your say

Mount IsaMore parking spaces for RVs visiting the Isa
CARAVANNERS have welcomed Mount Isa's decision to provide more parking space in the central business district.
The new facilities are opposite the Kmart Plaza at the foot of Frank Aston Hill. The city council has provided enough parking spaces for up to 15 RVs. Access is via Ada and Shackleton streets and the exit is along Gray Street.. Only daytime parking is allowed and overnight camping is banned. The $85,000 project formed part of the council's parking review across the city. Have your say

Cobar Grey Mardi Gras festivalCobar park prepares for blast from past
COBAR Caravan Park in central western NSW is bracing itself for an influx of guests when the town steps back in time.
The inaugural Cobar Grey Mardi Gras is expected to attract hoardes of tourists, including grey nomads, when the festival celebrates the 1950s, 60s and 70s from April 12 to 15. "Bookings have been pouring in," park manager Gaile Talu told Caravanning News. "It's a great attraction for bringing in lots of tourists." The copper town's festival will feature a street parade, rockabilly dance classes followed by a dance night, exhibitions and sport days, plus art and craft workshops. Cobar Shire Council said the event would give tourism operators an early Easter boost and attract the tourism dollar of grey nomads. Have your say

Family robbed at holiday parkJay feeds family after robbery
A KIND-HEARTED businessman stepped in after a young family was robbed of all its cash at a Hervey Bay holiday park in Queensland.
The sneak thief made off with a wallet and purse containing $1000 as Sunshiine Coast holidaymakers slept in their cabin during a weekend away at the Ingenia holiday park in Torquay. And when he heard the sad story, Ricardo's Italiano and Seafront Fish and Chips owner Jay Hodmain stepped in with free meals for the duration of the family's holiday. "We wanted to help as much as possible," he told Caravanning News. "Being in that situation would be terrible. We didn't want them to go away with negativity from that experience and not come back ... we wanted to turn it around for them and give them a Hervey Bay positive experience." Read More button

Caravan rollovers bookNew book aims at preventing rollovers
PROLIFIC writer Collyn Rivers has published a new book aimed at preventing caravan rollovers.
Why Caravans Roll Over - and how to prevent it is described as a "down-to-earth but technically accurate" guide to all aspects of caravan and tow vehicle stability. The former RAF ground radar engineer and motor industry research engineer said the reasons why tow vehicles and caravans jackknife and roll were "many and complex", but knowing why and how could help prevent them happening. He also points the finger at caravan manufacturers who, he claims, have "gone raving mad" with weights. Read more button

CobramMore RV parking planned for Cobram
GREY nomads heading for the Victorian town of Cobram will soon find it easier to park.
The State Government has made a $500,000 contribution towards a near $1 million project aimed at revitalising the town on the southern banks of the Murray River. The welcome funding will be spent on a new piazza, upgraded parking for tourists and improved walking paths around the town, which is twinned with the NSW town of Barooga on the opposite side of the river. The project will also provide additional parking in Federation Park including long bays for motorhomes, caravans, boats and campers. Minister for Regional Development Jaclyn Symes said more than 2.5 million tourists visited the Murray River region each year. "With these important upgrades we will breathe new life into Cobram, making it an even more appealing spot for locals and tourists alike," she added. Have your say

Williams River Caravan Park signPark closure 'may sound death knell for town'
LOCALS have questioned a council's wisdom in closing a popular caravan park at Clarence Town in New South Wales.
Residents and businesses have warned the shock decision to pull down the shutters at Williams River Holiday Park could sound the death knell for the small community in the State's Hunter region. But Dungog Shire Council argued it had no alternative after a review of the park identified "safety and compliance" deficiencies. It has promised to investigate the potential for free camping sites in the town. Read More button

Airlie Beach

Helping region get back on feet

Govt pumps $1m into cyclone-
ravaged areas to attract tourists

Photo: Dennis Amor

THE Queensland Government will spend $1 million promoting North Queensland as the southern grey nomads prepare to head north for the State's winter sunshine. The funding is particularly aimed at Townsville, the Whitsundays and the Tropical North to support tourism businesses in the wake of the recent devastating monsoon. Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said the funding was "especially important" heading into the Easter break and into the winter months when people living in the cold southern states dreamt of escaping to the warm, tropical climate of north Queensland. "The clean-up has well and truly begun and now it's time to help the region get back on its feet," she said. "Townsville, the Whitsundays and Tropical North Queensland are three of our most important destinations for tourists. The tourism industry is vital in these regions, supporting thousands of local jobs and pumping millions into the economy." Have your say

Boroma caravanBoroma Roamers plan next get-together
OWNERS of Boroma caravans are continuing to keep the brand name alive.
The now defunct manufacturer produced what was regarded by many as the Rolls Royce of caravans. But it shocked the industry when it was forced into liquidation in 2008 as sales plummeted and jittery customers cancelled orders during a global economic downturn. Loyal owners of its caravans refused to let the brand name die and have successfully organised annual get-togethers ever since. Members of the Boroma Roamers club are now planning their next rally at Glen Innes showgrounds in NSW from October 10 to 12. Have your say

Victorian SupershowSupershow attracts 49,000 visitors
THE six-day 2019 Victorian Caravan, Camping and Touring Supershow attracted over 49,000 visitors, its organisers have revealed.
Caravan Industry Victoria chief executive Rob Lucas said the event featured world firsts, with the 250 exhibitors showcasing more new products than ever before. "We had good weather throughout the show which assisted with everyone's overall enjoyment," he added. Attractions included the highly successful new AL-KO Innovation Hub which presented not one but two world firsts, being the OzXcorp Smart Caravan and the OzXcorp Gasless Recreation Platform and Centralised Energy Management System. Read more button

Mudjimba holiday parkCoastal parks brace for bumper Easter
THE Sunshine Coast's council-owned caravan parks are bracing themselves for a bumper Easter.
There has been a surge in bookings for sites and cabins as holidaymakers shake off the miseries of the recent bad weather. And the Queensland council has warned that locals will have to be quick to snap up the few sites available at its six caravan parks, which it describes as the "perfect staycation option for the Easter break". Read More button

Jayco Journey caravanJayco Journey owners heading for week of fun
A GROUP of Jayco Journey owners is planning a national getaway to Victoria.
More than 150 members of the Facebook-based Jayco Journey Owners Australia will be heading for the event which begins at the Apex RiverBeach Holiday Park in Mildura on May 24. Halls Jayco in Mildura is putting on a slap-up dinner for everyone and Jayco Australia will provide entertainment. "It's going be an amazing week of fun," spokesperson Gillian Neck told Caravanning News. The group was founded in January 2014 and now has a Facebook membership of over 6500. The site allows owners of Jayco Journey pop-tops and full-size caravans to hold discussions on the models and share their travels with other members. Have your say

WomenMore women turn to camping, caravanning
MORE women are embarking on caravan and camping trips, according to the latest statistics.
Data from the Tourism Research Australia National Visitor Survey has revealed that in the year ending September 2018, 5.2 million caravan and camping trips were taken by the fairer sex. And they chalked up a total of 24.4 million nights during their travels. The numbers have increased significantly in the last five years. Read more button

Deception Bay signBumbling bandits beat hasty retreat
POLICE were hunting bumbling bandits who attempted to rob a caravan north of Brisbane.
They gained access by climbing through an unlocked window of the RV at a caravan park on Deception Bay Road, Deception Bay. But the clumsy raiders knocked over a table and in the commotion were forced to make a quick exit by climbing back out of the same window. Police said it was unknown if anything was stolen but a forensic examination had been conducted and investigations were continuing. Have your say

Dogs and caravan parks

Elimiinating stress and worries

Valuable advice for successful
 dog-friendly caravanning

SUNRISE Caravans north of Brisbane has released some invaluable advice for successful dog-friendly trips. "Having a caravan allows you the freedom to travel as you please, and take your canine friend with you," the Burpengary company said. "But there are some important things to remember. Most dogs are quite happy to travel in the car, but caravanning is a different experience." It suggests a series of shorter trips, noting how long it takes for the canine to become restless. "This way you can schedule in stops for toilet breaks and leg stretching," Sunrise said. Home comforts, including bedding/blankets, favourite toys and treats, added a sense of familiarity and could help a dog to relax. Caravanners should check that their pet's identity chip is working and ensure vaccinations are up to date to avoid the risk of sickness. "Be sure to check for dog-friendly parks and restaurants in advance," Sunrise said. "This will avoid last minute searching, or being asked to move on. You won't want to leave your pet alone, so planning your trip will eliminate stress and worries." Have your say

Gold Coast Caravan ExpoGold Coast expo a 'van-tastic' success
CARAVANNING Queensland has hailed this year's Gold Coast Caravan and Outdoor Expo a "van-tastic" success.
More than 15,000 'cara-fans' flocked to the event, a 26 percent increase on past years and proving that the caravanning lifestyle is well and truly appealing. Families, nomads and young enthusiasts alike enjoyed displays from more than 120 exhibitors showcasing almost 500 recreational vehicles. Caravanning Queensland general manager Jason Plant said the lifestyle appeal was very much a contributing factor to the event's success, together with an incredible line-up of exhibitors and products. Read more button

Gerry Ryan: CIAA awardNew award honours Gerry Ryan
The Caravan Industry Association of Australia has introduced a new award to honour Jayco founder Gerry Ryan.
The Gerry Ryan OAM Award for Innovation recognises Mr Ryan's longstanding contribution to the industry. The association says innovation is defined as "the implementation of creative ideas in order to generate value. Value can be measured in increased revenue, cost savings, efficiency gains or social improvement such as safety". Have your say

Stars at Rottnest Island resortStar-studded start for Discovery resort
DISCOVERY Parks, which operates over 60 caravan, lifestyle and tourist parks around the country, is feeling starstruck.
Its latest park, opened just weeks ago on Rottnest Island in Western Australia, has already attracted some famous faces, including Hollywood's Chris Hemsworth and his family. They dropped in for a holiday and were among the first guests to stay in one of the resort's superior family glamping tents. Other Hollywood heavyweight Matt Damon visited for the day and Boomtown Rats lead singer Sir Bob Geldof also made an appearance. Read More button

Caravan Compliance DayCaravan Compliance event hailed a hit
 CARAVANNING Queensland, QTMR Compliance, RACQ, Queensland Police's Moreton District Crime Prevention Unit and industry engineers joined forces recently for a Caravan Compliance Day at Redcliffe north of Brisbane.
Forty-eight RV owners voluntarily turned up to have their caravans and tow vehicles inspected for gas and weight compliance. Experts were on hand to give advice on road safety, tips when travelling, outback road safety, security of homes when away and much more. A spokesperson said the day proved to be a "huge success" and more compliance days will be planned for the Moreton District through out the year. Dates aqre still to be confirmed but will be advertised. Have your say

Nambour expoOver 160 exhibitors set to display products
MORE than 160 exhibitors will be showcasing their products when the Queensland Caravan, Camping, Fishing and 4x4 Expo gets underway.
The three-day event beginning April 26 will be held at the Sunshine Coast Council's Nambour. Showgrounds and will feature new cars and 4x4s, caravans, camper trailers, family vans and hybrid vans. Division 10 Councilor Greg Rogerson said the expo was one of the region's major events. "This is a great opportunity for people to head to Nambour Showgrounds to talk one-on-one with a range of exhibitors displaying the latest products and services in one location," he said. Read more button

No campingGroup slams industry's 'toolkit'
A GROUP of caravanners and campers has issued an 18-page rebuttal of the industry's latest advice for caravan park operators.
The 550-member Facebook-based Save our Low Cost Camping site has accused the Caravan Industry Association of Australia and Caravanning Queensland of "aggressively targeting" councils throughout Australia to close down or not develop free or low-cost campsites. They claim this is the purpose of their Non-Compliant Camping Toolkit for Caravan Park Operators publication released to caravan parks only (click here for a link to the document). "This is a very serious threat to our lifestyles and if allowed to continue will ultimately see all low-cost campsites closed and their use become a thing of the past, leaving us with no choice other than a caravan park or to cease travelling," the Facebook group said.  Have your say

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Letter man

Support for nationally accredited
towing licences

REGARDING last month's story on the towing plea bringing abuse (see story here).

I support a towing endorsement on licences, regardless of licence class.

This must cover all forms of towing including box trailers, boat trailers, horse floats, camper trailers and caravans etc of all shapes and sizes.

It must be adopted nationally with a reasonable lead time.

Courses must be nationally accredited, at a reasonable cost and discounted for those on a pension.

I feel this would be a possible way forward.

But my greatest fear is that it would become hodgepodge and a nightmare as the States try to put their marks on it.

Trevor Smith.

Never, never

In all my years of driving I have never, when on the speed limit, had a caravanner sit two metres off my rear bumper, flashing his lights.

Never had a caravanner pull out to overtake, forcing me off the road.

Never had a caravanner cut corners and force me off the road.

Never had a caravanner simply change lanes, forcing me to take evasive action.

However, all these have happened to me by "professional" truck drivers who have had training and hold a heavy vehicle licence.

In my 25 years with the NSW Ambulance Service, I have seen many stupid and dangerous acts.

One thing I can tell you is truck accidents are far more serious than caravan accidents.

The only reason there are not more truck accidents is because usually other motorists get out of the way when trucks force their way.

Ian Garnham.

Bridge woes

REGARDING Melbourne's notorious low bridge (see story here).

We were lucky enough to notice the bridge in time to turn right to get on to another road.

Better signage is needed to take you to the loading area for the Tasmanian ferry.

Sue Kirk


A GROUP has been spreading what I regard as untruthful and libellous lies about Sunland Caravans (see story here).

I own one and they make the best of the best award-winning caravans, with an unsurpassed reputation for building and service.

Why the group is able to spread harmful rumours without being prosecuted has me bewildered!

Wal Garland.


COMMENTING  on Jurgens being back in production see story here).

This has been going on for a long time.

I'm glad I don't work there any more.

The uncertainty of it was very unsettling.