Gloucester's Deb Ball 2018

Barbara Stuart, Kieren Moore, Louise Stuart, Kate Plater and Dot Hodgins reminisce over their debutante balls. Photo Anne Keen
Barbara Stuart, Kieren Moore, Louise Stuart, Kate Plater and Dot Hodgins reminisce over their debutante balls. Photo Anne Keen

When Gloucester’s Kieren Moore talks about his high school ‘deb ball’, he doesn’t get caught up in the formal history of the event, instead he gets excited about the memories.

“My sister did it in her year,” he said. “And I went as a partner in my year.”

“Lots of girls did it in my year and lots did it in her year.”

So fond are his memories of the event, he has been pruning his friends daughter for her coming of age which finally happens this year.

“I always told her she would do it,” he smiled.

Gloucester has a long history of holding debutante balls, with many of the past young ladies now having children of their reaching the required age of 16 to 18 years.

Historically, a debutante or ‘deb’ is a young girl of an upper-class family who has reached the age deemed appropriate for her formal debut into society. The tradition began as early as the 1600s in the United Kingdom and with the young girl ‘coming out’ on display to eligible bachelors with the prospect of marriage.

The tradition spread to the United States and Australia.

The Australian debutante wears a white gown and asks a boy to partner with them. 

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This year’s deb ball is looking to do away with some of the past traditions, while hanging onto a few, like the white dress. 

Kieren has enlisted the help of a few former Gloucester ‘debs’ who also want to keep the tradition alive. They are hoping to get the girls involved with the planning in order to give the event a little more freedom.

Originally there were only three girls interested, but after a call out on Facebook, the number has risen to 17.

There is no cost involved to take part other than providing the white dress, shoes and accessories. Tickets to attend the event cost $50 for a two course meal and supper on June 23 at the Gloucester Soldiers Club auditorium. Tickets are on sale at Cafe 57 and Gloucester Health Foods.

For young girls to take part, they need to be between the ages of 16 and 18 years, but don’t need to be in school. 

They will need to ask a male partner, either a friend or relative, he’ll need a tuxedo but there are no restrictions on age. 

They will need to commit to weekly rehearsals in order to learn the dances that will be presented on the night. If interested, contact Kieren on 0419937638 or drop into Cafe 57 on Church Street.