A debutante ball, sometimes called a coming-out party, is a formal ball that includes presenting debutantes during the season, usually during the spring or summer. Debutante balls may require prior instruction in social etiquette and dancing.

Debutante Balls became an important annual event at Sacred Heart College from the 1920s. The idea of a debutante ball was to formally introduce young women in to society in a civilised manner. Partners were known to the families of the girls and the Sisters ensured that a strict code of conduct was enforced during functions. Despite this, dancing and perhaps even eventually marriage was certainly encouraged. The debutante balls were organised by the Sacred Heart Past Pupils Association which was later known as the Old Collegians Association. Girls making their debut would be officially 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 gowns, although photographs from the 1920s show shorter hems were the fashion, as were Nellie Stewart bangles (popular gifts at the time associated with Nellie Stewart, famous singer and actress). More colourful satin dresses were worn in the 1960s. On occasion flowers were worn by the girls near their left shoulder or in their hair, and earlier debutante balls show girls holding delicate fans in their hands.

Early balls were held in the Corio Club Hall in Villamanta Street whilst others later held in the 1950s were conducted at St Mary’s Hall in Myers Street. The balls were colourful spectacles and hundreds of guests watched as the debutantes were introduced. Streamers of blue and gold were hung from light fittings and school pennants decorated the stage on which flowers intermingled with the green foliage of pot plants.

Formal photographs were taken by a professional photographer and these photos with full descriptions of the dresses worn by the girls would be published in the Geelong Advertiser.

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