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Title: Fancy Dress Ball Programme, Palmerston Town Hall Manuscript Collection 1895
Alternative Title: Fancy Dress Ball
MS 69
Author: Price, F. A.
Alternative Title: Fancy Dress Ball
MS 69
Publication location: Unknown
Publisher: Unknown
Publication date: 1895-09-04
Notes: In the 1890s, the social life in the town of Palmerston was a hierarchy constructed around racial identity, position and work, probably in that order. At the apex was the Government Resident followed by the international and then overland telegraph staff, other senior government officials, and finally the traders and retailers. Palmerston high society was small but select. That said, the town of Palmerston was sprawling, cosmopolitan and multicultural. Its residents included Indian, Sri Lankan, Malaysian, Southeast Asian, Pacific Islander and Japanese townsfolk who together with the large numbers of Chinese and Aboriginal people made up the majority of the population of the wider town. Probably none of these would have been welcome at this Fancy Dress Ball, except perhaps as servants or wait staff. Nonetheless, reports of the period suggest that then as now, most of the people of Palmerston knew how to have a good time one way or the other. But on this occasion, even the Government Resident was dazzled by the display and the dancing continued until the small hours. Justice Charles Dashwood, resplendent as William Tell, declared ‘his surprise at seeing so fine a spectacle’. Despite the hot September night, a jolly time was had by all: With the solitary exception that the night was extremely sultry, the most captious critic could hardly find fault with the Fancy Dress Ball which took place on Wednesday night under the auspices of the Dramatic club. Mr Price had all his arrangements perfect as usual, and the Hall was a picture of colour and tasteful adornment… The old Palmerston Town Hall lies in ruins, destroyed in 1974 by Cyclone Tracy, but today preserved as memorial to commemorate the disaster. This rare piece of nineteenth century ephemera offers us a narrow portal revealing some of the ghosts of a glorious and romantic past who still dance in the space.
Description / Abstract: Simple hand drawn and coloured-in dance programme, Palmerston Dramatic and Musical Society organised the Ball
Physical Description: 1 sheet : col.
Language: English
Subject: Balls (Parties) -- Northern Territory -- Darwin -- 19th century
Subject Location: Darwin
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Appears in Collections:Historical Publications

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