Almanac Club Review: The Cobdogla Club

I need to apologise to the wonderful Kimba Area School Year 9 class of 1992 whom I took on a week-long camp to Burra, Barmera, Renmark and Clare.


Planning the event I booked some aquatics at Lake Bonney and was struggling to find another activity when I stumbled across the Cobdogla Steam and Irrigation Museum. It somehow seemed reasonable. Recently in the car my youngest Max said to his brother Alex, “Why would you ask Dad a big-brained question when we know he’s a small-brained man?” and dwelling now upon that early-90s afternoon, I see this as a terrible pattern on my behalf.


I should’ve taken the Year 9’s to Lake Bonney and demanded they jetty-jump for six or seven hours. Provided they had their swimming jeans.



We had a tour guide: an aged man of terrifying, non-infectious passion and an ability to lecture at length matched only by his ability to not sense the crushing boredom he was inflicting upon his audience. If teenaged violence had erupted that day in Cobby, no judge would’ve convicted anyone.


He spoke to us for 45 excruciating minutes on the world’s only working Humphrey pump with charcoal-fired gas producers. During his unbroken monologue I found myself wondering if I’d turned off the iron, how the Nicaraguan soccer team was travelling and what Allan Border might’ve had for breakfast that very morning. I’m sure the actual inventor of that wretched pump would’ve nodded off himself.


So, again I’m sorry. I owe you a drink.



However, just up the road is the Cobdogla Club which is one of my favourite places. We were there last Thursday and this happened to be Schnitzel Night. If you live in this part of the world the pubs and clubs have it neatly organised so that every night of the week is Schnitzel Night, although this could be both a dietary blessing and a curse.


On the front door is a friendly sign asking the patrons to not swear, and in 2020 when the casualisation of this practice is rampant, I like the sign and get the boys to read it.


Inside is spacious and rustic. The boys rush to the free iPads which is fair enough as they’ve endured a horrific ten-minute car ride from the holiday park without a device.


The drinks menu is broad and the wine prices seem frozen at 1995. A glass of white (no, not Hock) is $4.70, and the lack of Coopers on tap is disappointing, but XPA cans are a fiver.


The salad and veggie bar is always a treat. Brussel sprouts are what Max calls, “balls of leaves” and I inhale six. There’s corn, carrots, and cauliflower and broccoli bake. It’s terrific.


We talk of the coleslaw. It can’t be easy being coleslaw, especially if you’re mostly cabbage and therefore overly pale and grim. Next to the rich colours of the beetroot and the Asian noodles you, poor coleslaw, look more ghostly than the long-gone inventor of the Humphrey pump, sitting quietly across the fields, in its dusky horror.


The schnitzels arrive quickly and are a generous size. They’re tasty, perfectly cooked and in another demonstration of the Cobby Club’s timelessness, the meat isn’t on top of the poor fecking chips (making them squashed and sweaty) as happens in too many places, forcing diners to go through the mindless ritual of rescuing their fried potato friends.


Who started this nonsense? Bring them to me, and I will scold them for 45 excruciating minutes, in an unbroken monologue, about the profound annoyance of this, and how in a world crying out for simple, uncluttered joy we must keep our schnitzel and our chips separate.


But, of course, this doesn’t happen at The Cobby Club, and that’s one reason we’ll be back next year.





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About Mickey Randall

No, instead I get out my Volleys, each with the inescapable hole, just by the little toe. What if someone bought a pair of Volleys and they didn’t develop these holes? The absence of holes would itself make a psychological hole.


  1. Brother Mickey,
    I am with you on the picket lines, the trenches, the steps of Parliament House. For we must stand side-by-side and fight the scourge of our chips being flattened beneath our chicken parma. It is a national disgrace.
    Yours in solidarity,

  2. Unlike Pokemon Go, shoes without socks and deconstructed toast in cafes I fear the snitty on chips trend is here to stay, Smokie. Linked arms and steely gazes.

  3. Luke Reynolds says

    With young boys myself, can relate to the horrific 10 minute car rides without devices.

    I’ll eat nearly anything. But just can’t go coleslaw. Give me a Greek salad/potato salad/pasta salad instead.

  4. Thanks Luke.

    Here’s a rare observation: I prefer the British version of coleslaw which includes carrot, cheese and occasionally walnuts and/or raisins. It might be their only example of culinary leadership, ever.

  5. Did you wear your jetty jumping jeans? Did the cauli/broccoli bake have a nice crust? I will buy you a special plate that has separators so that your chips an schnitzel don’t touch each other. Another great read Mickey.

  6. Someone- thanks for this. Sadly, my Amco swimming jeans are long gone. The bake was a treat despite its nutritional value being reduced by the cheese. I look forward to the special plate and trust it will be a Skippy version.

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