How About a “Deb Ball?”
There seem to be a number of young girls about; Little did we think what that statement would mean. We put it on the “grapevine” and the screen at the movies (Pioneer Theatre) that if we had Debs we would have a Ball.
The girls were so keen that dress material and patterns were in town before we had really made a decision. Yes, they had partners arranged and so it was decided.
Mrs Tuxworth would be in charge of the presentation and training of the young people, Mrs Mill the supper, Mrs Griggs the fruit punches and cordials, Mrs Cornish the music and decorations, everyone else agreed to help. For six weeks, groups of ladies (and debs) made crepe paper wisteria, roses, vases etc. Wrought iron furniture was scrounged from everyone. The Debs were to walk through a picture frame. How could we fasten it to cement? – a carpenter Brother made one which fitted into the door frame. They were to walk from the hostel that meant a white frame – grey background. Could we borrow a screen from the Memorial Club if we painted it white? I think we could have had the Club! Trimmed with paper gladioli, the Deb setting was arranged.
How about the Debs? They had never danced nor had their partners. Mr and Mrs Fred Kittle and Mrs Tierney come to help. They rehearsed the entrance, the curtsy and dance for six weeks and although we said they were very good, none of us could visualise how they would look on the night.
There was a rail strike, our tables and chairs did not arrive for the outside area but they were offered from Hotels, Churches and School. The electrician put in the lighting for the outside area – it had just arrived, the painter finished the stage, the hall was scrubbed three times to chase the red Tennant dust, the hostel was spring cleaned, our new cupboards installed and the servery completed.
The flowers we had flown in from interstate as a sample were a failure but the milliners flowers arranged in a lace posy holder, trimmed with white and silver ribbons were so dainty. We must have two flower girls – who? Daughters of members it was decided, they trained with the Debs. Presentation flowers – we could not guarantee them keeping – so why not use wild flowers! And so they were gathered and arranged fan shape for Mrs Dean and a posy for Mrs Edwards – Matron of Honour.
Friends and mothers made the frocks and the girls arranged their own or one another’s hair. Mrs Cornish was called away as her mother was ill, Mrs Allen took charge of the decorations and the orchestra arranged for the night came and practiced with the Debs and so played for the full evening.
We had a licence for liquor to be consumed so Dad carried the esky. All was ready and we all felt that the badge should be CWA for co-operation. It makes things so easy to arrange and creates happiness. Our sincere thanks to everyone who helped in any way.
The Scouts earned Troop Funds by removing the grass, we cannot name them all and so came the time when all the lights were on, all the decorations up, the tables set, the mirrors were there for the girls, everything was ready. Home for a shower, I don’t think many had tea!
The Official table and Debs table were down one side of the hall. Those were dainty with white cloths – pride of place was the Deb cake made and decorated by Mrs Afianos. A pale green basket with pastel tinted roses, orchids and daffodils. The general frocking made a bright picture as the majority of the ladies wore full length frocks.
Our guests arrived, met the CWA executive officers and proceeded to the presentation area. The Queen (National Anthem) and then the long awaited announcement that the presentation of the Debs would take place.
The Anniversary Waltz should always bring back memories to the girls. First the flower girls, Sherilyn Courts and Aileen Bishop in long white frocks with hooped skirts stepped into the frame then slowly walked down the hall to present the flowers to Mrs Dean and Mrs Edwards.
They were presented to the NT Administrator and his wife, Mr and Mrs Dean. As they were presented they took up their positions around the hall so that when the last Deb had been presented they were all in place ready to dance in and for the public. All in full white frocks individually styled you could not believe these were the same people who had danced in mini skirts and casual clothes. There were damp eyes and several developed coughs as they were watched, they stepped out so daintily and so sure, with escorts so dignified and trim. We were proud of them and hope their social life will be a happy one.
The general comment was that there was such a happy atmosphere, you could sense it – the music was good, they said you you couldn’t help but respond when everyone was happy – the eskys meant social drinks with party atmosphere and back it came to CO-OPERATION.
Written by Mary Edwards, President – “CWA Calling”