Debutante Balls

Debutant Balls became an important annual event at Sacred Heart College from the 1920s.The idea of a Debutant Ball was to formally introduce young women to social society in a civilised manner.The families of the girls knew their partners and the Sisters ensured that a strict code of conduct was enforced during the functions. Despite this, dancing and eventually marriage was certainly encouraged.

The Debutant Balls were organised by the Sacred Heart College Past Pupils' Association, which was later known as the Old Collegians' Association. Girls were presented to the Association President and the Dean of St Mary's Church. The girls wore elaborate and elegant full-length white or off white dresses. More colourful satin dresses were worn in the 1960s. On occasion flowers were worn by the girls near the left shoulder, in their hair or held in their hands. In earlier Debutante Balls, girls also held delicate fans in their hands.

The early Debutant Balls were held at the Corio Club Hall in Villamanta Street, whilst others in the 1950s were held in St Mary's Hall. The balls were colourful spectacles and hundreds of guests watched as the debutants were introduced. Streamers of blue and yellow were hung from light fittings and school pennants decorated the stage, on which autumn leaves intermingled with the green foliage of pot plants.

Very formal photographs were usually taken by a professional photographer and many Debutant Balls reached the pages of the Geelong Advertiser.



Debutantes 1939
Standing (from left): L. Mahony, J. Lane, P. Ryan and J. Sadler. Sitting: N. Fitzgerald, M. Brown and A. Beasley.


Debutantes 1927
Group includes: Pattie Gallagher, Kath Poynton (later Sr. M. Ita), Verna McCoy, Beth Barrs, Maimie Kearney, Mollie O'Halloran, Vyrna McDonald, Evelyn Kennedy, Isabelle Eastwood, Mary Burns, Coral McLean, Marjorie Cusack, Ida Sporton, May Turner and Annie Campbell.



Debutantes 1960
Back row (from left): Anne O'Connor, Carmel Clatworthy, Pauline Cronin, Pauline McAdam, Patricia McAdam, Margaret Hoare, Raema Gibson, Margaret McCoy, Rosemary Lewis, Dianne Symes and Margot Gebbie. Middle row: Kathleen Kingston, Patricia Thomson, Kathryn Costelloe, Jill O'Loughlin, Kathleen McMahon, Anne Broadfoot, Colleen Goonan, Geraldine Roberts, Margo Umbers and Diedre Sayers. Front row: Virginia McDonald, Joan Richards, Mary Vergona and Sandra Purser.

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