Report from Victoria
Cobram Lodge Bar.B.Que at Thompsons Beach on the Murray River Victoria

The Secretary of The Shepparton Mosaic Lodge No.304, W. Bro Jeff McGregor invited me to accompany them to a Bar.B.Que at Lodge Cobram. At 6pm on Thursday evening the 23rd February, a 24 seat bus left the Shepparton Masonic Centre with members of the Four Lodges that meet there; some of the brethren were accompanied by their wives.

After a journey of approx.76klms, we reach the township of Cobram. Travelling through the township, and continued along the road for another 4klm, we arrived at Thompsons Beach, a large picnic park on the side of the Murray River, at 7-15pm

First delight of the evening happened while walking from the parking lot to the picnic area, we were entertained by a Koala Bear that was sitting in a tree, it decided to climb a bit higher up, then stopped, sat down, looked down at us, as much to say “well what are you looking at”. It is always a delight to see these endangered “Australian Icon” in the wild, as it is getting very rare to do so.

Lodge Cobram started their meeting at 6pm, completed their business, closed the Lodge and joined with their ladies in the park to prepare the Bar.B.Que. The cooking of the sausages, steak and meat patties had just started as we entered the park; our arrival was timed to perfection. Tables were nicely decorated and chairs were supplied, some people also brought their own tables and chairs, and drinks were B.Y.O.

The Cobram Lodge assisted by some of the other service organization of the town built the Rotunda in the park and it is adorned with the Square and Compasses. But unfortunately due to vandalism the Masonic Emblem has to be taken down and store after each functions that is held in the park.

70 Freemason and their Ladies came for the B.B.Que. They represented 7 different lodges, the Cobram Lodge; all lodges from Shepparton, a Lodge in Bendigo and of course me, from Lodge Enterprise No 400 in Newcastle N.S.W.

It didn’t take long for all to start to mingle together, renewing old acquaintance, discussing various subjects and generally, just having a great time. Later I took a little look around the park . The park, being on the side of our mightiest river, I ventured down to the water edge, to where this amazing sandy shore is situated. It is a good 20 meter wide strip of small grain sand approximately 200 meters long. This is where the word “Beach” comes into the name “Thompson Beach” It is of course the local place to go for a swim to cool off in the summer months, There were people swimming while we were there.

With the announcement “dinner is served”, all lined up, collected their plate, knife and fork and proceeded along the food table, adorned with plates of sausages, steak, patties, chicken and many dishes of salads, potato bake, pasta and boiled egg dishes. That was the first course, then came the desert, fruit salad or apple crumble both with cream or ice cream. The visitors gave high praise to the ladies of Lodge Cobram for their time and assistance in the preparation of the food and table set up.

During the festivities, an explanation was delivered called “The Working Tools of a well organized Bar.B.Que”, which are the 24 inch Tongs, the Common Scraper and the Mallet. The 24 inch Tongs are to prepare the meat, the Common Scraper is to knock off all superfluous knobs and the Mallet is to prepare the meat for the expert cook. See a video on our facebook Page of the full working tools.

The evening’s social event had been one of the many highlight of my visit to Shepparton and the Golden Valley in Victoria. All of the Lodge’s I have visited have welcomed me with open heart and hand, given me, as a Past Master the greatest respect whilst in Lodge and offered me nothing but their friendship and brotherly love whenever we met, in the street or at Lodge. This is Freemasonry at it best.

To see a Video of this picnic go to http://youtu.be/gicSPyfsFX0