Big canvas tents from a bygone age

Bru9

Active Member
I'm talking about the 12person twin cabin monsters that weighed 60kgs, took two people 45mins to setup. They were popular in the 90s. We had one with two awnings on both ends, back then it was completely unheard of spending that much. Without a solid plywood box to house all the poles the thing was next to useless. And yes, two people had to carry this box.

In the early 2000s was in many ways for us the golden era. The first room served as sleeping quarters for 4, plenty of room to get dressed. The second room held our basic supplies and was used as our eating area to get out of the flys n bugs and protected from the awful rain.
The front awning had a front and side wall attached via velcro. This was our kitchen, my dad made a kitchen that you quickly assembled, full draws, sink, dish rack, place to hang cooking utensils. We even had a big upright ~150L compressor fridge. Ohhhh yeah this was a chefs playground! The fridge was bad in 35degree heat and only way to get cold drinks was to place them in the freezer.
Good ol gas lantern for lighting.
The rear awning served as a place to keep our bikes dry in rain.

For showering we had a wooden shaft bolted to trailer and it held our solar bags, blue tarps strapped on all around in a sq shape, nothing fancy, but it worked.

What was interesting was despite it's monolith size, it's footprint was not that big considering it almost did everything for us. Now I use a med sized tent and a tarp, which all require alot of guy ropes or else the wind just brings it all down. The big monoliths didn't, and got much of their brute stability from all the internal poles. I don't think you can get these tents anymore, certainly not that old school quality, for example the oztrail stuff more recently I saw was straight up cheap and thin.
It really makes me wonder, maybe a Nomad single room twin awning (which we also had) would in many ways be a better touring setup for two, what with the time it takes to setup a big proper touring tent and free standing tarp.
Maybe in many ways we really did have it better back then?
hmmm:confused:
 

rogerazz

4x4 Earth Contributer
I'm talking about the 12person twin cabin monsters that weighed 60kgs, took two people 45mins to setup. They were popular in the 90s. We had one with two awnings on both ends, back then it was completely unheard of spending that much. Without a solid plywood box to house all the poles the thing was next to useless. And yes, two people had to carry this box.

In the early 2000s was in many ways for us the golden era. The first room served as sleeping quarters for 4, plenty of room to get dressed. The second room held our basic supplies and was used as our eating area to get out of the flys n bugs and protected from the awful rain.
The front awning had a front and side wall attached via velcro. This was our kitchen, my dad made a kitchen that you quickly assembled, full draws, sink, dish rack, place to hang cooking utensils. We even had a big upright ~150L compressor fridge. Ohhhh yeah this was a chefs playground! The fridge was bad in 35degree heat and only way to get cold drinks was to place them in the freezer.
Good ol gas lantern for lighting.
The rear awning served as a place to keep our bikes dry in rain.

For showering we had a wooden shaft bolted to trailer and it held our solar bags, blue tarps strapped on all around in a sq shape, nothing fancy, but it worked.

What was interesting was despite it's monolith size, it's footprint was not that big considering it almost did everything for us. Now I use a med sized tent and a tarp, which all require alot of guy ropes or else the wind just brings it all down. The big monoliths didn't, and got much of their brute stability from all the internal poles. I don't think you can get these tents anymore, certainly not that old school quality, for example the oztrail stuff more recently I saw was straight up cheap and thin.
It really makes me wonder, maybe a Nomad single room twin awning (which we also had) would in many ways be a better touring setup for two, what with the time it takes to setup a big proper touring tent and free standing tarp.
Maybe in many ways we really did have it better back then?
hmmm:confused:
With five kids and friends we needed those big tents. however up the Murray we did not close off the front for kitchen we just cooked outside.
Snapshot - 36.jpg
Before that we had the old 12x12 auto tent.
Scan_20160124 (13).jpg
And yes gas cookers and gas lights.
Snapshot - 45.jpg Snapshot - 49.jpg
And before that was the old kero heaters and kero Tilly lamps.
Snapshot - 42.jpg Snapshot - 48.jpg
 

LongRoad2Go

Well-Known Member
Back in the 1960's/70's just about everyone knew someone who had one, or were hired from the local Club (RSL, Scouts, etc).

They were often marketed as 'auto tents' and sometimes just marquees. 100% cotton canvass, timber poles and heavy as all f---! They usually came in sections and were tied together with tabs, some even laced up.

Sometimes they can still be seen in caravan parks as annexes to permanent on-site caravans - mostly used as holiday homes.

They doubled up as a marquee in the backyard for 21st Birthday parties, Engagement Parties, etc just in case of rain. Festooned with those lines of coloured globes run on 240 power ... it was the hosts job to keep an eye open in case the heat generated by the globes fired up the canvas, and, to ensure inebriated guests didn't electrocute themselves! That was back when wood BBQs, tapping a keg of beer, and self catering by all the women-folk was the thing to do - no fancy function halls - they were reserved for weddings and funerals. Meat, sausages and onions were all served 'well done', with side salads on a flimsy paper plate that disintegrated as you cut the meat. The more cashed-up people had the canvas add-on that tied to the top of the Hills Hoist so it too could be used to shelter tables with food and drinks.

We had a lot of those occasions - great times.

Ah, the good old no pretentious days before backyards became 'courtyards' and all the multi-gender woke bullshit.
 

muffin man

Well-Known Member
Yep we had one bought in 94 and last used in 2010 and I said never again...gave it away. Fantastic once setup.
 

rogerazz

4x4 Earth Contributer
I still have an original 12ft pitch roof tent in its original. P.M.G. (Post Master Generals) bag. Now know as Telstra.
It was my Dad's, back in the early 1950's.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
I still have an original 12ft pitch roof tent in its original. P.M.G. (Post Master Generals) bag. Now know as Telstra.
It was my Dad's, back in the early 1950's.
Our family cruiser Ute in the 70’s/80’s was an ex PMG styleside. Red with a white roof. The tent was a patrol tent. Big centre pole setup, green roof, white walls no floor. That was where the ladies slept. We males were on camp stretchers under a tarp.
 

cam04

Well-Known Member
Jeez you's were posh.
Just spotted these pics while looking for something else. Pardon the quality but it’s about 1979. The PMG Ute and the whole camp with the Copeland canvas tent and the blue tarp area which was a kitchen by day and sleeping area at night.
Location is awinya creek on Fraser Island’s west beach that all the social media influencers have “just discovered” haha.
B101E943-A8DF-4EB1-AB37-A9DB89FBDB5C.jpeg
C906D685-46B3-4E7F-8F95-3C150FD6AACA.jpeg
 
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