Community & Business

18 May, 2022

Debutantes ready to shine

YOUNG ladies from across the region are picking out beautiful white dresses and practising their waltzing skills as the Debutante Ball season kicks off again for 2022.

By Ellie Fink

Last year’s Debutantes dance at the Mareeba ball. Photo Brendan McRae Photography.
Last year’s Debutantes dance at the Mareeba ball. Photo Brendan McRae Photography.

The annual tradition has been around for generations, bringing the community together to “welcome” girls into society. 

Although the meaning of the ball has altered as society has progressed, communities still honour the event as a way for participants to make friends, learn to dance and learn etiquette. 

This year, the St Thomas’ event at Mareeba welcomes new coordinator Kaye Peterson who has had 11 years’ experience on the Debutante committee. “I’ve been a part of the committee the longest, so when (the last coordinator) Mary Steffeuni left for Brisbane, I took on the job,” she said. “We have about 13 girls lined up already this year, but we postponed the event in hopes that Covid restrictions would ease and we could have a normal event. “Luckily, they have eased and now we have our first practices scheduled and we are ready to go.” This year’s theme for the St Thomas’ ball is “the roaring 20’s”, with Ms Peterson’s experience in decorating inspiring the golden theme, with a promise of “lots of golds, black, white and feathers”. 

Girls aged 16 to 18 from the Mareeba area who would like to participate are welcomed with their parents to the first parents meeting on 25 May at 5.30pm at St Thomas’s activities hall. The first practice will kick off 29 May at 4pm at the St Thomas’ Hall. 

St Josephs’ Atherton has already commenced practices for their event, with 15 girls from grades 11 and 12 learning traditional dances twice a week. Committee member Deana Nasser has been working alongside the couples to help them complete their deb and believes it is an amazing experience for everyone involved. “It is a great feeling to be part of this annual event and to see the girls and their partners progress throughout the weeks learning to dance and interact with each other,” she said. “While the important outcome is that we get good attendance numbers on the night and generate some great fundraising funds for the school, the ultimate outcome is that the Deb Ball gives young people the opportunity to dress up, enjoy themselves and take part in a very special community event. “Unfortunately, our registrations have closed for this year’s Deb, but we welcome help from volunteers to decorate and set up the hall.” This year’s theme is the Great Gatsby, with the ball to be staged on 4 June at the Merriland Hall. 

Torimba will be hosting its first debutante ball in Ravenshoe since 2015, with local girl Taylah Dalgety coordinating the event for 18 June. With a gold, white and maroon formal theme lined up for the night, the event will welcome students from around Ravenshoe, Millstream and Mt Garnet, with a special invite for those home schooling to join in. “I am hoping that this year’s event lights a new spark for the debutante ball to be held in Ravenshoe and I hope to encourage young people to be involved in this event and or other events like this,” Taylah said. “Coordinating any event for the first time is very daunting and stressful but having the support and networks available it eases the pressure a little bit. “For me it is something I have wanted to do so I am enjoying the challenge. I hope that everyone involved enjoys their own experiences for what I hope to be a beautiful night and only hope and pray this is something I can, or someone, can run in future


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