Cubbyhouse on wheels

TRAVELLING DAYS... Diva, Sylvia and Ross Chapman having lunch at the Queens Gardens, Shepparton with their 'cubby house'. Photo: Deanne Jeffers.

ROSS and Sylvia Chapman are the proud owners of a vintage Austin, which is more than 100 years old. Some weeks ago, I met them travelling through Shepparton from their home in Brandon in Far North Queensland.

They have been “zig zagging” the country, on their way to the Austin 7 National Rally in Warrnambool. What caught my eye though, was their unique motorhome that looks like a little timber cottage on wheels.

‘Nan and Pa’s Cubby House’, as it is affectionately known, is built out of a rural fire truck and has a matching trailer to house their Austin. The Chapmans originally planned to build the truck to carry the Austin, but ultimately decided on a matching wood-paneled trailer would give them more freedom.

Ross is a retired cabinet maker, which shows when you explore the secret storage nooks in their motorhome. The ‘cubby house’ is decked out with solar panels and air conditioning to keep Diva cool while they’re on the road – travelling more than 100kms a day. The RV is fully capable of 4WD; however, the height makes low hanging branches a worry.

As for their love of Austins, Slyvia grew up on a cane farm up north where they had a similar Austin model. This car from her memories is presently being restored.

Ross and Sylvia have travelled since they retired and find immense joy in hitting the road and exploring the country. Sylvia’s advice to readers on travel is, “Don’t rush.”

Ross says, “Read the signs and don’t trust the SATNAV… It will get you lost anyway, and you’ll miss all the really good things.”

The Chapmans plan to be back home in Queensland by June, as Nan and Pop are expecting to welcome a new grandbaby.