Debutante balls were a regular occurrence throughout Australia and were held by the churches and other local organisations, along with the other balls and dances that made up the social calendar of the community. Originally, the Debutante Ball was a part of European high society where the young ladies of good families were introduced into society and made available for marriage. The word "debutante" is derived from the French word "debuter," which means, "to lead off." Debutante balls have also been known as cotillions or coming out parties and in Australia as Deb Balls. In Latin American countries they are known as "Quinceanera" ceremony, "Baile de Debutante" and the "Fiesta de Quince" and are held when a girl is fifteen.
Debutante Balls still occur in Australia, however the high school formals for years ten and twelve students have probably taken the place of the regular local debutante balls in many areas.
If you have any photographs in your collection of local Debutante Balls or any other ball, dance or social we would love to scan your photo and add it to our collection of local history photographs. The photograph on the left is of a Debutante Ball in Kiama around 1940 and the above photo of a Jamberoo Debutante Ball of 1961.
Do you know the names of any of the ladies in these Debutante ball photos? Please contact us at Kiama Library with your information and photographs.