Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Debutante Ball: Outback Queensland style

Mitchell's Anglican Debutante Ball -- held on Saturday 27 October 2012 at the Mitchell Memorial Hall -- was a grand affair that demonstrated yet again the strength and vibrancy of the community existing in and around the small outback town of Mitchell, Queensland, Australia.

Ten Debutantes, each attended by a flower girl and page boy, were presented individually on stage.  The formalities began with a reading of Dorothea McKellar's 'My Country', a poem reflecting life in the outback where this year's February flood and the bush fires of the past week are foremost in the mindset of this community.

Yet the people here are strong and positive, evidence being in the presentation of ten beautiful teenage girls, their handsome partners and charming young attendants -- all on the eve of their life here in Mitchell and beyond.

Surprisingly formal for this day and age, these young people willingly dressed the part, courtesied, bowed, cut a special cake, and danced a series of old-style dances with skill and grace.

A crowd of around 300 people of all ages gathered together to support the Deb Ball.  We were the guests of John and Cathy Beitz whose daughter Hannah was one of the Debs.  My greatest pleasure was to see Hannah make her entrance and watch her presented  -- and then to see her deliver an excellent speech on behalf of all the Debs.  In addition, Doug and I enjoyed talking to our many friends, some of whom had sons, daughters and grandchildren involved in the formalities.  

I decided it would be fun to learn at least one of the dances so I googled 'The Pride of Erin' and we learned the dance here at home, much to the amusement of our two dogs!  However, when it came to dancing 'The Pride of Erin' they did it differently in this part of Queensland and so, in the end, we didn't end up showing our skill on the dance floor! We enjoyed a few other dances though. 

In ten years time, many of these flower girls and page boys will be making their own Debut: in the same hall, in front of the same community.  In ten years time, many of these Deb's and their partners will be returning to this community with tertiary qualifications and long-term partners from 'away'.  So the generations roll on, each strengthening the one before -- in their own way, in their own time.

This ball symbolises why we love living in Mitchell.  It's about strong community and friendly down-to-earth people.

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