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©2017 by Mill Pond Traditional Working Farm

Gypsy Vardos are hard to find in any condition, and are especially rare in Australia. This lovely Burton wagon is in the style of the famous caravan builder Thomas of Chertsey in Britain, and was comprehensively restored over several years in England before being brought to Australia in 2017. It is very sound and has the advantage of extensive retimbering and recent elaborate paintwork to a high standard. We have a client wish list for gypsy caravans so this won't last long. Interested buyers should email us on antony.davies@millpond.com.au or telephone 0438 126 987. The vardo is at Mill Pond Farm in Jembaicumbene via Braidwood NSW and inspection is invited by appointment.

 

The vehicle features Burton style coachwork with match-boarded sides and beautifully chamfered framing. The roof is curved and lined with match-boarding and covered in waterproof canvas which has been painted. The mollicroft roof has curved ends in the style of about 1910 and various colored glass windows, some of which open outwards. The vardo has one vertical sliding sash window on each side and another at the rear, with fixed upper sashes. The porch has curved steps and a framed lower door with carved panels, with a pair of glazed stable doors above. The side and rear windows have sliding shutters. There are beautifully carved and gilded scroll brackets at the front and rear of the body joining the roof. 

 

The wooden hub wheels have iron tyres and are in excellent order. The wheels are secured with nuts and pins. The shafts are suitable for about a 15hh horse but of course larger shafts could be fitted for a larger horse. Shafts are well framed and attached with the usual two forged eye bolts and an iron pin. There is a well turned cratch rack at the rear and a pot cupboard below. The wooden unders are neatly carved and well detailed, with a full double iron fifth wheel and a forged king pin, and the summers and other structural parts are decorated with chamfering. The springs are mildly corroded and we would recommend replacement of the rear leaf springs or adding fresh leaves to counter the tendency of Burton wagons to sag at the back a little and to sway on soft springs. No brake is fitted but we can advise on how to do this should the buyer want one.

 

Inside, the left side has a storage chest, fireplace with Queenie stove and mirrored overmantel, and bench seat with locker. The right side has a glazed two-height corner china cabinet, bench seat with locker and chest of drawers. The bed at the rear has a sliding frame that extends out over the interior furniture to make a double bed. The bed is not long, a little over 5' sideways across the caravan and 5'8" if you lie lengthwise, so not suitable for very tall people, but quite comfortable. There are two arched mirrors at the rear, and two glass wall lamps which have been electrified and two Australian style double power points. These can be powered by adding a lead from under the caravan. The inside of the match-boarded ceiling is well detailed and decorated. There is a vintage Axminster carpet.

 

The vehicle was restored from a ruin in Winchester by a restorer named Robert Hugg over several years, and work completed included a complete disassembly and reconstruction using the original as patterns. Consequently the caravan is very sound and has only minor framing blemishes that would in any case happen from time to time and are part of the general ongoing maintenance. If stored undercover it will survive as-is for many years. The caravan is a little over 10' high not including the detachable chimney vane.

 

A very rare opportunity!

Horse drawn 1914 style Burton Gypsy Vardo

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