OCTOBER EXCURSION – MEN & MACHINES, COBBITTY

Cars and drivers had previously been registered by the Men & Machines officials (from online information supplied), so it was only a matter of fronting up to the gate of Macarthur Anglican School and getting a ticket with the particular coded section in which to park.

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However, with the 9.15 am deadline and the usual shocking traffic flow along Narellan Road it was a later than anticipated arrival time to reach the school, and the extended queue to get in wasn’t doing any of the exhibitors any favours – with regards to meeting the time limit.

However, all went well and the Zedders made the deadline and were directed to Area C to park.

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Jamie had spent some weeks organizing the excursion and negotiating with officials to get a good deal for the Z Car Club members (free entry for exhibitors instead of the normal $15 surcharge) –  and so it was unfortunate that a less than fulsome number of Zedders had shown up. The totals were six cars and ten members and guests.

And those that didn’t attend missed out on an excellent event. The many attractions included:

  • Numerous stalls selling everything from food , drinks , auto accessories, toys , models and other items
  • Helicopter displays
  • Monster trucks exhibition
  • Crash and bang demolition derby
  • Fly over of jets
  • Actual firefighting with a car on fire
  • Jet engine display
  • Scale automated train display
  • Slot cars
  • Dodgem cars
  • Huge display of vehicles including rare classic and vintage cars , a large collection of classic motor cycles including Harley Davidsons and even a vintage steam car with passengers in period dress.

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Each exhibitor was given a unique number which was placed inside the car in a viewable position and the general public could vote on the particular vehicle of their choice. Winners who had the most votes were awarded a trophy.

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All the Z car members and guests who attended thoroughly enjoyed the day and appreciated the quality of the displays. While the numbers of our club were fairly minimal, the public attended the event in their hundreds and within a short space of time the grounds of the school were packed.

This is an excursion well worth consideration by the Z Car Club in 2018.

SEPTEMBER EXCURSION – GANNONS (LIONS CLUB FESTIVAL)

As there was no convoy it was “every man (and woman) for themselves” to get to Lugarno (and not get lost in the tricky winding backstreets) – before the gates closed on the display vehicles. The main core of hardy Z car perennials were already in position early as the rest of the Z car members filtered through the gates.

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It was looking good; the line of Z mobiles extended across the park and represented probably the largest single exhibit. A few tardy Zeds sneaked in after the curfew. An impressive lineup of eighteen highly polished Zeds was the final total with an equally impressive total of twenty five members and guests in attendance.

The Lions Club had excelled itself for 2017 with over 200 stalls and over 300 classic vehicles on display.

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The list of classic and rare cars on display was endless with lesser known breeds such as Vauxhall, Volvo P1800S and rare Triumphs such as Dolomite. American “iron” was plentiful with stock standard and highly modified V8s with carburetors that could swallow a man whole (maybe slightly exaggerating).

Lots of Holdens including the pre FJ – i.e. the “Humpy” and of course a good representation of Falcons and some Customlines (including imported versions).

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The stalls were selling an impressive and varied range of goods including show bags and, the knights were back again (but no lances). The only real problems involved lining up in ever increasing queues to get something to eat (by virtue of the large crowds in attendance – a very long wait).

Overall, a very well organized event with interesting exhibits and stalls to cater for the entire family.

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Some of the Zedders took advantage of the allowable exit times commencing at 1.30Pm and headed towards the main gates. By about 2.30-3.30PM the classic cars were becoming scarce in the park – time to go!

Unlike 2016 it doesn’t appear that any Z cars won an award on the day.

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The Lions Club had excelled themselves in presenting the 2017 Gannons Spectacular and all members and guests representing the Z Car Club enjoyed the day immensely.

VALE – LES HAMPSON

Les joined the Z Car Club of Sydney approximately twenty years ago. He initially was appointed as Treasurer and Merchandising Officer. Les and his wife Maria were very active in supporting the club by raising funds through local raffles and other activities, and Les also secured a number of generous sponsors who also contributed significantly to the club.

The Z Car Club of Sydney at this time had a published quality coloured magazine and the membership was increasing. Les became Vice President of the club in 2005. Around this time the Z Car Club had approximately 120 members.

He was also significantly involved in the organising committee of the NDN in 2005.

In 2008 Les became President of the Z Car Club and then Vice President in 2009.

Les again took over the Presidency of the Club in 2014 which he retained until his unfortunate passing this year (2017).

Les was one of the pioneers of the Z Car Club of Sydney who supported the club and its members with a passion and made a significant contribution to ensuring the club’s survival when other similar clubs were unable to continue to function due to lack of interested supportive members.

Even when Les was experiencing extreme ill health he would make the effort to attend excursions with his “pride and joy” – the impressively customised, beautifully polished red 260Z with the tan leather upholstery.

Les should be remembered for his unflinching support of the club through turbulent times and his tough minded and feisty leadership which ensured that the Z Car Club of Sydney would remain one of the most recognised car clubs of Sydney.

Rest in peace Les.

AUGUST EXCURSION – SHANNONS

What a perfectly orchestrated day!  Weather was near perfect, the Zedders were all assembled within the time deadlines on Liberty Road and everybody was enthusiastic. Bazza led the way through the entrance into Area B. It took a while as cars from numerous other marques were also in the entrance queue. As instructed the Shannons stickers were stuck on the top right hand side of the windscreen – which was good for the officials but not so good for tallish drivers. However, once inside it was noted that there were quite a number of vehicles being displayed with the stickers on the left (Boo Hiss!).

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Settling in and shuffling the Z cars into position took a few minutes (where’s Les – the parking officer?). Within a short time all the cars were in place – neat and parallel. Terry erected the Z Car Club insignia, bonnets were opened to reveal the powerplants and a last minute rub down of the paintwork completed the routine.

Well, it was quite a fantastic sight; there were eighteen gleaming Z cars on display – all perfectly groomed and up to the usual high standards of the club. Attendance was excellent. With some guests of Andrew’s there was a total of 26 members and guests in attendance.

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There were simply acres of cars on display – of every make imaginable. All the stylish American makes such as Pontiac, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Ford and Studebaker and some of the rarer makes such as Hudson. The British cars were well represented with a range of Mini Minors, Morris Minors, Austin 1100s and 1800s. Of course numerous Holdens and Falcons and an extensive range of well-preserved Customlines. Also noted was a range of Bolwells, including the rarer Bolwell Nagari.

Some of the group ascended the stairs nearby to get some light refreshments. It was great to see Richard Handley again – who looked in great health. Unfortunately not the same could be said for poor John who had got into a fight with a chainsaw when he was pruning tree branches. He’s OK – but nearly gave himself a “hare lip”. It was pleasing to see the permanent suite of toilets and washbasins provided rather than those awful Portaloos.

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A bit of a panic set in as it was suddenly announced over the loudspeaker that it was time for the Z cars to get on the track. This was unexpected as it had been a very late start in 2016. Drivers scrambled to their cars and took off around the circuit. Ray was completely unaware as he was still upstairs, and if it wasn’t for Robyn shouting at him would’ve missed it entirely. As it was he was way behind the Z car group and got onto the track behind a gaggle of Citroens including some 2CVs (that’s right – the high powered 2 cylinder beasts!). Covertly passing most of the Citroens and two buses – he still couldn’t catch the Zeds. A somewhat red-faced driver in the yellow Zed!!

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While Darko was giving some hints to Courtney and Anthony on regulating fuel supply to a Z32, Andrew, Terry and Ray took a walk around the area. Andrew noticed a “Ferrari 275 GTB” and spoke to its owner. The car had been built on a Datsun 240Z chassis and was running an LS1 V8 engine from a Holden. The owner showed Andrew an album of photographs taken of the construction of the car which had taken a considerable time to build and some substantial funds. Terry and Ray looked at a beautifully restored Studebaker GT convertible which had taken the owner some years to complete.

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It was a little after 2:00PM and the Zedders noticed that there were quite a number of gaps appearing in the different car group’s displays – which meant people were leaving. As the day progressed the Zedders started to slowly leave Eastern Creek. It had been a very successful excursion that everyone had enjoyed enormously. Great effort had gone into preparing the Z Cars for the day and it showed. The displays of the other marques were impressive and the stint on the racetrack rounded off a near perfect day.

JULY EXCURSION – CAMDEN HISTORICAL TOUR

On arrival at the Preston’s McDonalds around 9.45am there were only three eager faces showing in the frosty conditions – Bazza, Robyn and Ray. Because of the cold conditions, it was decided to go inside and have a cup of coffee while waiting for the other Z Car Club members.

Half way through the cup of coffee, something magical happened.  Z Car members and guests started pouring into McDonalds from all directions. As this was thought to be a somewhat “low profile” tour the response was rather jaw dropping. In the space of twenty minutes, twenty three members (and guests) and sixteen vehicles had descended on Maccas.

All Z car categories were represented – from 240Zs through to 370Zs. There was even a very rare Austin Healey 3000 amongst the mix. As the McDonalds tables were cemented to the floor and could only accommodate up to six people, members had to form their own groupings.

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There was no rush, as the second point of call was the Camden Historical Museum which didn’t open until 11.00am.  Members ordered light breakfasts or coffee, and, as some of the members hadn’t attended some of the excursions for a while – there was some catching up to do.

Around 10.40 am it was decided to head for the Camden Museum. The most direct route was via the Camden Valley Way. This involved leaving McDonalds through the service station next door; turning left and doing 180 degrees turn at the first roundabout.

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The lights at the Camden Valley Way intersection took a while to change and because of the narrow road, traffic trying to turn left was banked up behind those wanting to turn right. However, finally enroute on the Camden Valley Way, Ray had to “surge a tad” to get ahead of the group as he was supposed to be leading the convoy. Glancing in his rear view mirror, all Ray could see was Vanessa and Darko and no convoy. Apparently some red lights had caused a dislocation of the convoy. With nowhere to pull over, it was necessary to keep travelling at a reduced speed while waiting for the convoy to catch up.

Finally, as the outskirts of Camden were reached there was room to pull over to allow the convoy to catch up. Robyn rang Craig to check his location and everyone was heading in the right direction along the Camden Valley Way. After a few minutes, the rest of the members caught up and the convoy drove into Camden. Parking was available behind the Camden Library or in the streets outside. Fortunately, parking was plentiful at this time of the morning.

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The Z Car group entered the Camden Historical Museum (no admission charge) and was impressed at the quality of the exhibits. The museum had been progressively updated, and those that hadn’t visited for some time were pleasantly surprised at the changes. Exhibits included memorabilia from the Great War, antiquated devices such as a pedal driven dentist drill, very old telephones and wind up gramophones. There were also old currency notes, carpentry tools and a host of interesting memorabilia. To study everything in detail can take up to two hours.

As such, the members were running a little late for lunch at the Camden Hotel. Thank goodness a table had been booked – the Camden Hotel was packed out, with large numbers of people looking for empty tables. The Z Car group occupied two large tables and everyone was accommodated comfortably. Meals were reasonably priced (lunchtime main course specials were $10 – $15) and of good quality. Wines tended to be a little expensive depending on what was selected.

It had proven to be a very interesting and enjoyable day. The excursion had an excellent attendance and the friendship and involvement of those who attended made the day a complete success.

JUNE EXCURSION – NOWRA FLEET AIR ARM

The arrangements for this excursion were to either go directly to the Nowra Fleet Air Arm or meet at the McDonalds restaurant at Albion Park Rail to form a convoy. A small knot of members and guests arrived at the McDonalds restaurant prior to the 9.00 am departure time. The weather was fine but coolish.

All Planes

A phone call from John confirmed that he was enroute, so the group had time to get another cup of coffee and try to warm up a bit. Ray rang a few members who had indicated that they were attending but hadn’t showed up. This was to ensure that no one got left behind and got lost. The departure time had now moved on to 9.30am.

John arrived and that appeared to be it. This was a little disappointing as the excursion had been advertised for a number of weeks and several reminders sent out. The head count at McDonalds (including guests) was eleven with seven cars. This was a far cry from the twenty people who had expressed interest in attending. Never mind, we were going to have a good day regardless!

Barry

Ray had the route mapped out, but news had come through that there was a large car show at Berry and the direct route to the Nowra Fleet Air Arm would involve the convoy becoming involved in a large traffic jam. Daniel (Courtney’s guest) volunteered to lead the convoy to Nowra by a different route bypassing any traffic issues. Driving very carefully and resisting the urge to mash the accelerator of the over boosted twin turbo Z32; Daniel did a fantastic job of leading the convoy on a very picturesque journey along the coastal roads. The route involved passing through Gerringong and Gerroa with magnificent 180 degree views. It turned out to be a very enjoyable drive even if there were fewer members than expected to enjoy it.

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Finding the entrance to the Nowra Fleet Air Arm proved to be a little tricky. However, when it was found, the convoy was forced to wait at a very annoying red traffic light at the entrance for at least five minutes. Apparently the road could only allow one lane of traffic at a time, so the convoy had to wait for the oncoming traffic to pass. Finally free the convoy proceeded for a couple of kilometres and arrived at the Nowra Fleet Air Arm museum. A quick look around indicated that there were no hidden waiting members – so we were it!

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Most of the members and guests hadn’t visited the museum for some time and were quite surprised at the improved displays and the layout generally. There were considerably more exhibits with a large variety of different planes and a substantial number of helicopters on display.

Apart from the self-activated videos there were some very interesting simulators. This involved climbing into the cockpits and activating the controls which progressively showed activities on a three dimensional display screen i.e. as if you were flying the helicopter or plane. There was so much information available on the displays that the group spent a considerable time at the museum.

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Lunch was at the Shoalhaven Ex Servicemen’s Sports Club which was situated a short distance from the museum. The club had very pleasant views over its impeccably maintained golf course, and the club had a very pleasant ambience overall. The Z Car Club was provided with a well located (reserved) table with excellent views. Meals were of a very good standard and well-priced and the staff provided a great standard of service.

Despite the smaller numbers than anticipated, all those attending the excursion thoroughly enjoyed the day.

MAY EXCURSION – WINGS OVER ILLAWARRA

Last minute notification from the WOI officials (e-mail received Friday evening) that the display vehicles had to be inside the grounds by 8.30AM and more importantly that the gates would be locked (for display vehicles) until 5.00PM – didn’t create much enthusiasm amongst the Z Car Club of Sydney members. As the members had to be informed of the changed hours before the event the return E Mails showed a number of cancellations.

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A hardy nucleus of members descended on the meeting place – McDonalds at Albion Park. Waiting in the queues for coffee and sustenance seemed to take forever. As such, food was gulped down and coffee was consumed a la “Bob Hawke’s record Ale drinking performance”. The only difference being the coffee was rather hot! A quick run to the Z cars, contorting bodies to fit through the low slung vehicles ignoring bad backs and ruined knees!

Start the engines, into gear and attempt to form a convoy to leave McDonalds – and wouldn’t you know it – Captain Pathetically Slow in the high powered Toyota Camry just has to push into the middle of the convoy blocking most of the members.

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Half the convoy had left and were turning at the traffic lights as the straggling other half managed to escape from McDonalds and took off in pursuit. A surge of speed was rewarded by catching up to the Z car in front (I hope he knows where he’s going!). Turn left at the lights and yes the flag marshals were there! After scanning the barcodes and entering the enclosure the Z car members recoiled in horror! After spending hours cleaning and polishing their Z cars to the pinnacle of perfection they were ushered to their display area. Not lush grass (as in previous years) – but all dirt!! Within minutes all the cars (including other clubs) had a heavy layer of dust covering their “pride & joy”.

Some members, because of the late finishing time had opted to park in the public car park and pay the extra entrance fees in order that they could leave at an earlier time. As such it took a while to catch up with all those who attended. The final count was 16 members and nine cars. However, the weather was improving by the hour. The earlier strong winds had abated and were now mere breezes and the sun was shining.

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After the opening ceremony the air show commenced . The first part included the Red Berets, RAAF Roulettes and a flyby by the de Havilland Caribou. This was followed by a Hercules, Neptune, Fokker DR1 and a Mustang.

Around 12.30PM the Supermarine Spitfire and a Hurricane appeared as well as the famous Wolf Pitts Pro.

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Following on was a Wirraway and the daredevil Russian Roolettes raising excitement levels in the crowd.

The Focke-Wulf made an appearance and other aircraft including a Jet Provost.

The Wolf Pitts Pro and two Pitts S1-S thrilled the crowd with their daring aerobatics at 3.30PM.

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Around 4.00PM some of the car club members were getting quite restless (not ours) and starting lining up at the locked enclosure gates. Inevitably the display cars were able to leave a little earlier.

The WOI air show was probably one of the best for a number of years with excellent weather for most of the day and all those Z car members attending enjoyed the day. However, there were some reservations regarding the “all dirt” display area and the 5.00pm exit time. Let’s hope the WOI organisers review these two issues for 2018.

APRIL EXCURSION – GOSFORD REPTILE PARK

A three pronged attack for this excursion – meet at the Crossroads at Casula, then pick up members on the Pennant Hills Rd – while some members travelled directly to the Gosford Reptile Park (if more convenient). Traffic lights to the M7 seemed to change in a split second with only two cars getting through and the rest of the convoy remaining behind. Ray finally found a safe place to pull over on the M7 and, after a few minutes the convoy was formed again. The double demerits in force seemed to affect the speed of the traffic flow and while not exactly “granny speed” the traffic seemed to stick specifically to the speed limit – which meant being continually blocked from overtaking.CARS 2

Time wise, the convoy was running a little late – and Robyn started resembling a switchboard operator as a number of calls were dealt with from members waiting on the Pennant Hills Road. The presence of Police patrol cars on the M7 did nothing to enhance the traffic flow and speeds dipped back to l00kms/hr or less. Ultimately the start of the Pennant Hills Road was reached. A flurry of phone calls determined that there was a congregation of Zedders at the second Shell Garage. The first Shell Garage was reached. There was then some anxious peering through the thickening traffic and some tailgating of the members of the convoy as the procession slowed to seek out the second Shell Service Station. There they were! Homs honked, lights flashed and waving out the windows stimulated the missing members to join the convoy. There was a slowdown of traffic as the entrance to the Ml was reached.CARS

Finally, the traffic started to pick up speed – yes the magic ll0kms/hr sign appeared. But the right hand overtaking lane was travelling more slowly than the other two lanes!! To prove that not all clowns are found in a circus – a clown in a Commodore was sitting in the overtaking lane at 15-20 kms/hr under the limit!! It took some time before he could be overtaken on the inside. The convoy was then able to resume a realistic speed and the ETA started to look better.

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Ultimately Somersby was reached and the Retile Park signs appeared. The convoy slid into the car park of the Gosford Reptile Park. What wasn’t known at this stage was that Vince’s Z had failed to start (Rolls Royce speak – “had failed to proceed”) and Vince was still at the second Shell Garage (waiting for the NRMA). The group of Zedders congregated at the main desk ready to pay for their admission (group discount). However, Ray was bluntly informed that admission costs had to be paid in one transaction – a bit over $500. Terry fortunately had the club chequebook and was able to pay for the members (later reimbursed by all members during lunch). With the supplied maps members moved off to view the numerous displays.

The first show was the Galapagos tortoise feeding exhibition. Some interesting facts emerged from this. Apparently Captain Cook travelled with these enormous creatures on board – as they could go for extended periods without food or water and could provide up to 60kgs of fresh meat for the sailors and could also live for 150 years – perfect for long voyages.

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The following Reptile Show involved demonstrations of crocodiles, snakes, birds and Lace Monitors and was very humorously presented involving some of the children from the audience – and provided substantial insights into little known facts regarding the animals. The static exhibitions in the body of the main building were excellent and provided information on a variety of species including snakes, spiders, lizards, alligators, skinks, chameleons and crocodiles.

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At this point Vince (and his rejuvenated Z) arrived – and as it was near lunch time the Zedders left the Reptile Park and headed to the Gosford Golf Club. It was now possible to get an accurate head count of Zedders present. With the late arrival of Vince the final total was 20 (with 13 vehicles).

The Gosford Golf Club proved to be quite a surprise – with lovely picturesque views over the golf course and good quality food. Overall, the excursion proved to be very successful and all members enjoyed the day.

NISSAN DATSUN NATIONALS: 15th -17th APRIL

This was successfully organized by the Datsun Club over the three days.

The Z Car Club of Sydney was ably represented by Craig acting as a Flag Marshall, Ern as Skid Pan Director and other Z Car Club of Sydney members including Barbara, Brian, Andrew, Terry, Jamie, Barry and Darren.

Everyone who attended thoroughly enjoyed the experience. As mentioned in our April Meeting Minutes Andrew scored a chance to do a few fast laps of the circuit with James Flett in his very quick Datsun 240Z.

Craig has provided a number of photos taken of the event which will give an insight of the highlights of the three days.

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MARCH EXCURSION – MACARTHUR

The starting venue for this excursion was McDonalds at Narellan although some members would join the convoy at different points in the planned route. First impressions were very encouraging – a substantial number of members and guests were gathering and enjoying either breakfast or morning tea.

The continuing inclement weather had unfortunately defined some of the attending vehicles . Those feeling that their “pride and joy” Zeds would be safer at home brought a variety of alternative vehicles although there was still a good representation of Z cars present. James upped the ante by bringing his Porsche Carrera 4 which added some extra prestige to the event.

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At precisely 9.45 am Jamie indicated that it was time to commence the excursion “Gentlemen, start your engines!” The convoy turned onto the Old Hume Highway and took the turn to the Northern Rd. As is usual , with all excursions, the convoy got segmented at the traffic lights and with nowhere to stop – the lead cars had to keep going. Fortunately, it was merely a case of following along the Northern Rd so none of the members got lost. Eventually, the stragglers caught up with the main body of the convoy and the rejuvenated group headed towards the Wollondilly Heritage Centre.

The weather was still very unpredictable, however, and alternated between dry spells and sometimes heavy downpours. In spite of the rain it was a relaxing drive through Theresa Park and The Oaks with a mixture of older and newer buildings and pleasant views. Just after 10.00am the convoy arrived at Wollondilly Heritage Centre and, it had stopped raining! The Zedders then joined the other group of members who had gone directly to the Wollondilly Heritage Centre.

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As the group assembled at the main entrance, John Hyland, one of the Heritage Centre’s volunteers gave an interesting overview of the history of the Burragorang valley and the establishment of the Wollondilly Heritage Centre itself. The Zedders then commenced to inspect the Heritage Centre’s displays. There were some impressive and interesting historical displays in a number of buildings scattered throughout the grounds.

A video was shown of the preparation for the building of the Warragamba Dam This entailed the flooding of the Burragorang Valley, which unfortunately involved the removal of a number of generational families who had lived in the valley for more than 120 years and the destruction of a number of historical buildings (including the local church). An attempt was made by the Government to remove some of the gravestones from the local cemetery and to save some memorabilia from the site.

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At this time, the rain had commenced again. The next part of the excursion was to visit the Burragorang Lookout. This was a short drive of about 10kms from the Wollondilly Heritage Centre. The weather worsened on the way, but the real concern was the fog which had started settling in to the area. The Zedders parked at the lookout but were disappointed to observe that the fog had completely blocked the magnificent view over the Burragorang Valley.

The next stop on the excursion was the Picton Hotel for lunch. On arrival, a head and car count was conducted (this was the first real opportunity to do this). Twelve cars and eighteen people (including guests) was an excellent response considering the formidable weather. Meals were of a good standard and reasonably priced and this rounded off an interesting and enjoyable day.

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The success of this excursion was due to the meticulous, step by step planning by Jamie, the participation of so many wives of members (which provided an excellent balance) and the overall contribution of genuine friendship by all those who attended.

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Footnote from Jamie:  PS it took a bit of persuasion to get the keys of the Blue 370 back from Corey who was starting to get very comfortable in the cockpit. If you know anyone who would be interested in this vehicle it has 900 km’s on the speedo and is heavily discounted at 49K drive away. If you can help find a home for it, Moss Vale Nissan will donate $500 to the Z car club as a donation. Contact Jamie 0426 191 900