Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Ball of the Century

Some of the entrants for the Belle of Berwick Shire, Centenary Ball, September 14th 1962.
Click on photograph to enlarge it.

On Friday, September 14th 1962 the Ball of the Centenary was held at the Pakenham Public Hall to celebrate the 100th anniversary of local government in the Shire of Berwick. This was the anniversary of the creation  of the Berwick Road Board on September 29, 1862, the fore-runner of the Shire of Berwick. The Pakenham Gazette reported that more than 700 people crowded into the Hall, the frocking was magnificent and youth and age gaily came together to celebrate the achievement of the Municipality's first century and to give Century Two a joyful start on its way.

The Guest of Honours included the Shire President, Cr Dan Cunningham and Mrs Cunningham ; the Shire Secretary, Miss Beatrice Thomas; Mr A. Buchanan, M.H.R and Mrs Buchanan and Cr L.J Cochrane, M.L.A and Mrs Cochrane. The highlight of the night was the selection of the Belle of Berwick Shire. The judge for this honour was Miss Dot Jones of the Sun News Pictorial newspaper. There were 22 girls who had entered this competition each representing a town in the Shire.
I will list them here and if by chance any of the girls are reading this blog, then I would love for you to leave a comment about the occasion. Margaret Bishop, representing Dewhurst, Maree McMillan - Tynong, Bronwen Taylor - Pakenham Upper, Carol Gilbert - Officer, Diane Robert - Pakenham, Carol Entwistle - Nar Nar Goon North, Lorraine Brown - Cora Lynn, Sonja Little - Doveton, Jeanette Barnes - Beaconsfield, Maureen Fitzsimons - Beaconsfield Upper, Geraldine Dyer - Gembrook, Kath Cotter - Narre Warren, Kerry Fox - Narre Warren North, Patsy Cunningham - Nar Nar Goon, Beverley Price - Bunyip, Susanne Bassed - Garfield, Jan Lia - Maryknoll, Marlene Thorne - Iona , Marla Kennedy - Modella, Audrey Haysom - Five Mile, Annette Dean - Berwick and Coral Stone - Cockatoo.

The Pakenham Gazette reported that the girls had to dance the Pride of Erin and two Fox Trots and in addition to her pleasant manner the successful girl got good marks for grooming. The winner was Miss Diane Robert, who was representing Pakenham. The judge, Miss Dot Jones, said that choosing the Belle of Berwick Shire was a difficult decision and that Diane managed to look happy all the time, whereas some of the other girls looked as if the boys were treading on their toes. Diane wore a frock of watermelon pink cotton shantung with a chantilly lace bodice. She had a french roll hair-do and wore pearl ear rings.

Unfortunately the only photograph we have of the Centenary Ball (top) doesn't include the Winner, however it does picture eleven of the other belles.

As an aside, Dot Jones, as well as being the Belle of the Centenary Ball judge is more importantly one of the people responsible for the Moomba Festival. Dot and Tom McCaw of the Melbourne City Council discussed the idea for a festival over lunch. They then presented the idea to Councillor Maurice Nathan who promoted the idea of an open-air Festival. The first Moomba was held in 1955.

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