Walpole’s fab ’48 fancy dress ball

A children’s fancy dress ball held in Walpole was a story of public interest for the Albany Advertiser on Thursday, October 21, 1948:

As a grand wind up to their fine sports day on Friday, a Fancy Dress Ball was conducted for all children from near and far in the Walpole Hall on Saturday night, October 9.

The Anning Bros. Orchestra from Tingledale provided good music for dancing, games and a Grand March.

A large crowd of parents, grand-parents and friends came to enjoy the fun and frolic of what proved to be a very successful and entertaining evening.

A special programme had been arranged to provide simple musical games for the little folk early in the evening, and they appeared to appreciate this.

When a Barn Dance was played fathers and big brothers partnered small maidens while little boys were guided by mothers and elder sisters.

The many costumes provided a colourful spectacle and interest and amusement waxed high among the onlookers as the children performed the Grand March, for, at the same time, their costumes were being judged by Mesdames Swarbrick, Sen., Keally and Mr Paddy Cockrane.

How could it be a serious matter while here was a curly headed little aborigine stalking (only in a lion cloth) with boomerang and spear at the alert, and there a diminutive Bo-Peep with crook, shepherding her real live lamb (who still carried his tail behind him) and based his approval for all to hear?

Walpole children's fancy dress ball 1948

“The many costumes provided a colourful spectacle and interest and amusement waxed high among the onlookers …”

The prize list was as follows:

Best dressed pair, Spanish couple, Mitzi Amos and John Chatley
Most original pair, Jack and Jill, Beverley Ravenhill and Phillip Anning
Best dressed girl, Gypsy, Lorraine Nocklolds
Best dressed boy, Sheik of Araby, Ron Palmer
Most original girl, Rule Britannia, Pat Shotter
Most original boy, Aborigine, Frank Cooper
Best carried out, Robin Hood, John Tapley
Special prize for a pre-school child, Bo-Peep, Lorraine Hull and her pet lamb

Others in fancy costume were:

David Anning, Father Christmas; Bill Clarke, Safety First; Phillip Dawson, Mexican Boy; Peter Shotter, Pirate; Alan Hatfield, Sunny West; Pat Anning, New Guinea Girl; Margaret Tapley, Rainbow; Kathleen Butler, Fuzzy-Wuzzy; Dennis Anning, Indian Boy; Merle Anning, Red Cross Sister; Maxine Amos, Militaire; Mavis Cooper, Marguerite Daisy; Elaine Dawson, Springtime; Pat Amos, Shepherdess; Margaret and Doris Butler, Nurse and patient; Edna Allen, Cigarette Girl; Marian Stewart, Red Cross Nurse; Tiny Tapley, Night Fairy; Ivan Edmonds, Baker’s Boy; Eileen Marshall, Gypsy; Alex Marshall, Chinaman; Gordon Brass, Chinaman; Hazel Marshall, Mexican Girl; Edith Edmonds, Red Riding Hood; Trevor Ravenhill, Drummer Boy; Patsy Burton, Hawaiian Girl; Donny Burton, Cowboy; Frank Ebbett, Snowman; Merel Ebbett, Powder Puff; Haydn Dawson and Evelyn Gardener (from Denmark), Red Indian Brave and Squaw.

Two tiny tots in costume were Hazel Cooper as little Red Riding Hood and Donald Dawson as a footballer.

Barbara Brass was to have been dressed as a Christmas Cracker but unfortunately her costume was lost from the truck on the trip to town.

It was also a shame that at the last moment Mrs Tapley and some of her little family were unable to come.

After the distribution of prizes each child was given a shilling, a bottle of cool drink and a bag of sweets.

A most important item of the evening was the presentation of trophies won at the Inter School Sports, and these were handed to the Champion School and athletes by Mr. Paddy Cochrane.

A very good repeat performance of a play “The Emperor’s New Cloak” was produced by the children of No. 3 School, followed by a demonstration of four folk dances given by the children of No 1 School, accompanied on the piano by Mrs E.J. Clarke.

After the children and adults had supped and all were in a mellow mood, Mr Frank Thompson was asked to act in his well known capacity as auctioneer and valuator for disposing of certain unsold articles left on the J.R.C. Stall, with Mr Simmich as his clerk, and Mr Marshall as mannequin model.

Mr Thompson so skilfully and glibly plied his trade that unsuspecting old or young gentlemen found themselves clasping a sun bonnet, or bib, or thing-a-me-tight not originally intended for their particular type of figures or complexion at all.

However, ’twas all in the fun of “the fare” and most people seemed to enjoy themselves judging from the various comments heard.

It was indeed a grand night for all three generations present.

This post was adapted from an article that appeared in the July 8, 2015 edition of the Walpole Weekly. Thank you to Lee Hunter and the Walpole, Nornalup & Districts Historical Society for supplying it.

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