Cordeaux Dam Oz Day Picnic

04 February 2022 / Words and Photos by Rod Nicholas

Cordeaux Dam.

Never heard of it.

It’s 200k from home but there’ll be lamingtons.

Right, we’re going.

And so, planning our run to the all-chapter picnic began.

A small contingent of four cars moved out from Bungendore on a warming Wednesday morning. Lids down, caps on, we headed out for a roundabout trip through the scenic countryside to Tarago, then onwards through sleepy Bungonia to Marulan. The roads were in generally good condition, some better than others, although the recent wet conditions had ensured there were a few nasty potholes to avoid. The short stint from Bungonia to Marulan was ‘interesting’; the heavy trucks travelling to and from the Boral Quarries at Marulan had seriously impacted the relatively new road surface – OK while we travelled in the centre of the road, but pretty awful if forced into our own lane by oncoming traffic.

Marulan to Bungendore on the Highland Way was its’ usual pleasant trip, and the coffee and cakes at our stopover were well received. From there it was a shortish hop through Exeter to connect to the Old Hume Highway to Yerrinbool. It's hard to believe the narrow, bumpy, tree-lined Hume Highway was once the main link between our major capital cities – fun to drive now there’s little traffic but as a highway – wow!

Back onto the (new) Hume Highway/Freeway to Picton Road and then the Dam. It wasn’t hard to find our group – MX-5s everywhere and banners flapping in the light breeze.

It didn’t take long to realise there were members from just about every chapter at the picnic, sixty or thereabouts all up. Not surprisingly, they were a friendly mob, and our little group was quickly absorbed into a bigger circle of chairs while the lamingtons were passed about. Damn good they were too – big, light and fluffy. While some members chatted, others set up a deceptively competitive game of cricket on the lawns under the gumtrees. We watched from afar as wides were bowled, stumps went a-wandering and runs were trotted.

No one seemed to avoid the callup for The Great Thong Throwing Event. I watched as members tried various throwing styles. The ‘frisbee’ seemed popular, even if it occasionally led to a floater that went anywhere but forward. I thought the ‘knife throw’ would be the one to set the record. Nope, unless it was the record for ‘nearest to my foot’. Nursing a slightly wounded ego, I watched the rest of the tournament with mild amazement as Bryan Hicks hurtled the thong deep into the park.

With hardly enough time to finish my third lammo I was called to step into the Canberra Chapter’s Jenga team. A four-way competition, the tension rose as the easy bricks were removed and an unsteady construction project teetered and totted on the table. Ducking occasionally from the flying blocks as Sydney’s Dante Boyd took his turns (Dante’s enthusiastic style demonstrated comprehensively that teenagers are no longer intimidated by their seniors), I carefully studied the construction before each of my turns. Well and good, but there were more wobbles than a Collingwood final by the time my last effort brought the whole shebang crashing down. A bit of a hoot actually.

We took the opportunity to wander down to the Dam for a peek. Another of Sydney’s water sources, the dam was almost full to overflowing, and the whole picnic/recreation area was rather pretty – green and inviting.

The numbers dwindled as the afternoon drew to a close and folks mosied off home. Facing a boring two-hour plus drive home, we too headed off down the Freeway.

We will return to this fun day next year. The company and weather had been better then fine, the trip up was a lot of fun, and the drive home – though long and boring – was uneventful. A great day.