Guide to the Dances and Balls Souvenir Collection
Collection Number: Souvenirs 18
Title: Dances and Balls Souvenir Collection.
Date range of collection: 1903-
Scope and content note: The Dances and Balls Souvenir Collection contains dance cards, invitations, programs and notices for dances and balls with military themes in Australia and overseas since 1903. The collection features events organised by units serving overseas and in Australia. There are also a number of items in the collection relating to events held in Australia and other countries on the behalf of servicemen or in their honour. A small part of the collection is focused on commemorating anniversaries and significant events. This collection focuses on dances and balls held during the First World War, the Inter-War period and the Second World War. Some of the items in the collection do not have dates provided.
Provenance: Items in this collection have been collected since 1914 and come from a variety of different sources and donors.
Extent: 8 wallets, approximately 88 items.
Location: Published & Digitised Collections, Research Centre, Australian War Memorial.
Related collections: Concert and Theatre Programs, Entertainment for the Troops, Menus, Reunions
Processing history: Access:
- Military Units
Dances and balls are social gatherings, usually formal, that have traditionally been organised to celebrate historical and special events, for fundraising or in honour of groups of people. Dances and balls remain popular events in civilian society and were among the forms of entertainment pursued by servicemen overseas. Entertainment of the troops and the range of available recreation was widely regarded as important for morale with dances and balls helping to fulfil this expectation. Dances and balls were also a strong link and reminder to civilian life and assisted in counteracting the craving of servicemen for the familiarity of social events enjoyed at home. On the home front, a large number of organisations such as the Australian Red Cross Society, Australian Comforts Fund and the Salvation Army co-ordinated a range of activities including dances for evening entertainment. Everyone was involved in fundraising and women were strongly involved in wartime volunteer work. Commenting on the effort of women during the First World War, Mr Heney wrote "....They devised picnics and dances and outings for the sick soldiers in their midst and for the young people who must be kept from missing altogether the things which pertain to happy youth." Dance cards were a common accompaniment at balls and dances from the nineteenth century well into the twentieth century and were generally only given to ladies. They came in a variety of designs, either simple or elaborate, and were often accompanied by a small pencil attached by a cord to the card. The front cover of the dance card told the occasion for the event, the location, the date, sometimes the price of the ticket, and often the name of the band that would be playing that evening. Dance cards usually contained a list of the evening's dances with spaces provided for the names of the gentlemen to whom the lady had promised them. (http://www.mixedpickles.org/dancecards.html). References:
Ernest Scott, Australia During the War (Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 1938)
J G Fuller , Troop Morale and Popular Culture in the British and Dominion Armies 1914-1918 (Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1990)
Rosemary Clark, The Home Front: Life in Australia during World War II (Australia Post, Australia, 1991)
Mixed Pickles Vintage Dance Co, Mixed Pickles Vintage Dance Cards: About Dance Cards (http://www.mixedpickles.org/dancecards.html)
|Series number||Title of Series and Date|
|Dances and Balls, 1800-1913|
|Dances and Balls, 1914-1919|
|Dances and Balls, 1920-1938|
|Dances and Balls, 1939-1945|
|Dances and Balls, 1946 - present|
SERIES 1: Dances and Balls, 1800-1913
This series contains programs and tickets for military dances and balls held prior to the First World War.
|1/1/1||Australian Light Horse Australian Light Horse Military Ball, Brighton Town Hall - 2 October 1903.
Australian Light Horse Military Ball, Brighton Town Hall - 8 December 1905.
Concert and dance, Brighton - 1 August 1906. (9 items)
SERIES 2: Dances and Balls, 1914-1919
Description: This series contains programs, invitations, dance cards and tickets for dances and balls organised and attended by Australian servicemen serving in France and Belgium during the First World War and on troopships returning to Australia in 1919. A number of these items also relate to dances and balls held in Australia and the United Kingdom attended by Australian servicemen, events held in their honour and fundraising events. A small number of the items in this series from 1919 relate to the commemoration of peace and the signing of the Armistice.
Subseries 1 : Dances and Balls -- Troopships A to Z
|2/1/1||HMAT Bakara Kangaroos Ball - 22 September 1919. (1 item)|
|2/1/2||HMAT Friedrichsruh A Coy Dance - 31 July 1919.
Dances - 13 August 1919.
C Coy Dance - 15 August 1919. (3 items)
|2/1/3||HMAT Nestor AIF Fancy Dress Dinner and Carnival - 4 December 1919. (1 item)|
|2/1/4||HMAT Shropshire Grand Fancy Dress Ball - 16 April 1919.
Grand Fancy Dress Ball - 16 April 1919. (2 items)
|2/1/5||P & O SS Soudan 16 Quota AIF Grand Fancy Dress Ball.
Fancy Dress Ball (2 items)
Subseries 2 : Dances and Balls -- France and Belgium
|2/2/1||Australian Army Service Corps 10th AASC WAAC Grand Social, Gordon Hut - 26 January 1918. (1 item)|
|2/2/2||Australian Mechanical Transport Companies Number 3 MT Coy Grand Ball, Marchienne-Au-Pont - 26 April.
1 Australian MT Coy Grand Final Ball, Chatelet - 16 April 1919. (2 items)
|2/2/3||Australian Field Artillery 4 Brigade HQ AFA du Bal - 6 February 1919.
Du Bal held for the official opening of the Second Divisional Artillery Sergeants' Club - 5 January 1919.
2nd Division Artillery Sergeants Club - 3 February 1919.
5th Brigade Headquarters AFA du Bal, Thuin - 29 January 1919.
10 Battery Ball, Thuin - 4 January 1919.
10 Battery AFA Ball, Thuin - 4 January 1919.
11 Battery AFA Du Bal, Thuin - 8 January 1919.
11 Battery AFA Ball, Hotel de Ville - 31 March 1919 (3 items).
12 Australian Field Artillery Concert et Bal, Hotel De Ville - 13 January 1919.
104th Battery AFA du Bal, Thuin - 3 January 1919. (12 items)
|2/2/4||Infantry Battalions 14 Brigade Australian Infantry Ball, Marchienne-Au-Pont - 22 April 1919.
6th Battalion AIF Officers' Mess, Couillet - January 1919.
9 Battalion AIF Ball, Chatelet - 25 March 1919.
The Digger's Ball, 17 Battalion Recreation Room Committee, Cafe du Casino Montigny-le-Tilleul - 7 March 1919.
26th Battalion Ball, Marchienne-Au-Pont - 22 January 1919 (2 items).
AIF Armistice Dance, Australian Infantry Base Depot, Sergents Mess Havre, 26.11.1918 (10 items)
|2/2/5||Signal Companies Corps Sig Coy Farewell Dance AIF, Ham-Sur-Heure, Belgium - 25 March 1919. (1 item)|
|2/2/6||Australian Machine Gun Battalions 5th Australian Machine Gun Battalion Dance. (1 item)|
|2/2/7||Australian Corps Central School Australian Corps Central School Grand Fancy Dress Masquerade Ball, Casino Le Crotoy - 15 March 1919.
Australian Corps Central School Rue Invitation Dance to QMAAC [Queen Mary's Army Auxillery Corps], Casino Le Crotoy - 22 February 1919. (2 items)
|2/2/8||Australian Graves Detachment Australian Graves Detachment Military Ball Peace Celebrations, Villers-Bretonneaux - 19 July 1919. (1 item)|
|2/2/9||Groups Gwynfa Camp Wax Dance, Somme - 12 February 1919. (1 item)|
Subseries 3 : Dances and Balls -- Australia
|2/3/1||Charities Women's Branch of the Over-Seas Club Children's Hospital Ball, St Kilda Town Hall - 16 July 1918.
Australian Comforts Fund Dance, Rippon Lea - 17 July 1918. (2 items)
|2/3/2||Returned Servicemen and Peace Celebrations University of Melbourne Students' Representative Council Reception Ball to Returned Sailor and Soldier Undergraduates, St Kilda Town Hall - 15 August 1919.
Malvern Branch of the RSS&SILA Ball - 18 September 1919.
Armistice Ball, Malvern Town Hall - 11 November 1919. (3 items)
|2/3/3||General Dance held at Masonic Hall - 22 October 1919.
Nomads Club Dance.
The Wattles, St Mary's Hall, St Kilda. (3 items)
Subseries 4 : Dances and Balls -- United Kingdom
|2/4/1||Farewells and Peace Celebrations AFC Farewell Ball, Leighterton Station - 10 February .
AFC Cheerio Farewell Dance - 29 April 1919.
Grand Australasian Peace Ball, Piccadilly Hotel London - 26 May 1919.
The United States Navy Enlisted Personnel to Our Comrades in Arms Grand Ball and Reception, Royal Albert Hall - 28 November 1918. (4 items)
|2/4/2||Christmas Beyond Seas Association Christmas Entertainment and Dance, Royal Albert Hall - 25 December 1918. (1 item)|
|2/4/3||General Dance at Battersea Town Hall - 16 January 1918. (1 item)|
SERIES 3: Dances and Balls, 1920-1938
Description: This series includes programs and tickets for military dances and balls held in Australia during the inter-war period from 1920 to 1938. These relate to events organised by peace-time units and to commemorate significant events.>
|3/1/1||Unit Dances and Balls, 1920-1938 Sergeants' Mess 3rd Australian Field Artillery Brigade Dance, Perth - 16 August 1930.
Gunners Ball, Swan Barracks Perth - 18 September 1931.
11/16 Battalion PBI Ball, Swan Barracks Perth - 30 October 1931.
Australian Flying Corps Association Second Annual Ball, Glenelg - 20 July 1932.
2 Field Brigade RAA Regimental Dance at the Drill Hall, Windsor - 21 August 1937. (6 items)
|3/1/2||Special events, 1920-1938 Coronation Military Ball - 27 July 1937. (1 item)|
SERIES 4: Dances and Balls, 1939-1945
Description: This series includes programs, tickets, invitations, notices and menus for dances held between 1939 and 1945. Items in this series relate to events organised by military units and attended by Australian servicemen serving in Australia and the South Pacific during this period. There are also items related to events in Australia with military themes.
|4/1/1||South West Pacific General Headquarters South West Pacific Area Dinner Dance, Recreation Hall "BATAAN," Port Moresby - 21 January 1944. (1 item)|
|4/1/2||Australia Penrith's Win the War Ball, Log Cabin Hotel - 28 August 1940.
Forces' Dance, Liberal Club - 18 May 1944. (2 items)
|4/1/3||Military Units in Australia No 2 Infantry Officers' Training School Bonegilla Dance, St Patrick's Hall Albury - 16 July 1941.
No 2 Infantry Officers' Training School, Bonegilla.
No 2 Infantry Officers' Training School Dance, Bonegilla - 20 September.
106 AGH Sergeants' Mess Social Evening, Red Cross Recreational Centre - 28 August 1943.
106 AGH Staff Dance, Red Cross Recreational Centre - 24 January.
67 Dental Unit Dance, Red Cross Centre - 4 April 1945.
Evening organised by the students of DMTTS and members of 67 Aust Dental Unit, Red Cross Recreational Centre - 29 February.
Katherine Area Regimental Ball, YMCA Building - 31 July 1943.
B Coy 2/27 Australian Infantry Battalion, Kairi Hall - 4 January.
2/4th AIF Infantry Battalion Association 1st Annual Cabaret Ball, 7th November 1945. (11 items)
|4/1/4||Other Countries Canteen Ball, Waldorf-Astoria in New York - 13 April 1944. (1 item)|
SERIES 5: Dances and Balls, 1946 - present
Description: This series includes tickets and programs to dances and balls held in Australia since the Second World War. These include dances and balls held as annual events and to commemorate military anniversaries.
|5/1/1||Returned Soldiers League RSS&SILA Kings Cross Sub-Branch Annual Ball - 1952. (1 item)|
|5/1/2||Royal Australian Navy Royal Australian Navy 75th Anniversary Ball 1911-1986, Sydney Town Hall - 18 June 1986. (2 items)|