Stories from a Caravan

Hayley Hillis and I interviewed and photographed people who live long-term in caravan parks in New South Wales.

This project developed from Hayley’s idea to present short life stories of these people. The portraits range from single mothers to retirees, most of who are optimistic, courageous and have interesting stories to tell. The stories range from events in the Second World War to life in the caravan park and trying to raise children. Eighteen men and women were interviewed, ranging from 20s to 80s in age. What becomes evident with these portraits is that the participants candidly and humorously share with us some of their intimate moments, their daily challenges and successes, their hope and their dreams.

Photographs and text by Hayley Hillis
Videos by Pippa Wischer


Exhibitions
2008, Home Truths, State Library of NSW, Sydney
2006, Masters Exhibition, Monash Gallery Caulfield, Melbourne

Publication
Home Truths, State Library of NSW, 2008 [594kb .pdf]

2006

Book website

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Categories: Digital Storytelling, Exhibitions
Tracey

I had nothing when I came here. Just my bag and two dresses I’d bought that day. It was the first place the housing department told me I could go to. It’s been a year now. I’ve got no view. I can’t look out. If I look through this window I just see him. He’s always there. I have to run...

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Russell

I ended up coming here to get counselling. I’m not a person to go and ask for help. My parents were killed when I was eleven and I got fostered out to three different families till I was seventeen and that didn’t go too good either. I’ve been having a lot of problems in my life dealing...

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Ray

I guess over the years I’ve seen a few caravan parks. When I was mining I lived in a lot of them up north. This place isn’t too bad. You meet all sorts. Ones that kind of rub you up the wrong way, but you’ve got to take the good with the bad. I’m an ex-serviceman. I did national military...

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Noeleen and Steve

We both come from caravans. We were living down in Melbourne. I built us a big twenty-six foot caravan which we sold when we moved up here. That was three years of my life building that. But we were sick of the city. So here we are. And it’s better here because we’re all older. We got this...

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Debbie

Having my own knick-knacks around is very important to me. Otherwise it would feel too empty, too impersonal. My ex-boyfriend has all my stuff. He refused to give it back. So I’ve had to start from scratch because I’m the one who left. I shouldn’t have walked out but something in my gut...

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Colleen

I was living in my mum and dad’s house in Adelaide because they moved to Ireland. Then they sold the house and my twin sister helped me move up here. She’d lived here before and knows the owners. I have three kids – two boys and a girl. We’ve been here twelve months in the park. It’s...

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Clinton

In some ways I made it a choice of my own to move into a caravan park. I’ve been here about 18 months. I moved down here to be closer to my daughter, spend some time with her. There’s two bedrooms in my van so she sometimes stays over. I’m not in the position yet to move into a flat ‘cos...

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Adam and Maree

There’s four of us here at the moment in this van. Us and two of the kids. Before we came here we’d actually been sleeping on the floor, so just having a bed to ourselves is a bit of a bonus.

With no money and a rusty old car, us getting up here was a bit of a struggle. When we got...

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