WEEKLY DANCES AT ST. ANTHONY'S CATHOLIC CHURCH
IRELAND STREET, OONOONBA,
TOWNSVILLE, QLD
DURING WW2

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Weekly Friday night old time dances were held at St. Anthony's Catholic Church at Oonoonba, in Townsville during WW2. The dances were well attended by the various Australian and American military personnel camped in the Oonoonba area. The Friday Night dances were organised by Mrs Lilian Lister. She had thrown her home open to the Australian soldiers camped in the area. They would often listen to the radio news service to hear news of the war. Mrs Lister decided the men need some entertainment so started to organise the Friday nite old time dances.

She would prepare the hall on the Thursday night by moving the church pews against the walls, rubbing candle wax on to the floor and throwing sawdust from Rooney's timber mill on to the floor. She would drape the church altar with a huge green baize curtain. Her two daughters Vanda and Gloria would then help her to prepare large quantities of sandwiches and cake for the free supper.

Two kerosene tins were heated up for tea and coffee. They were then reheated later on after the dance for the washing up. Then on the Saturday the church had to be cleaned up and the pews repositioned for Sunday mass. Mrs. Rose Paradise would also sometimes help Mrs Lister.

Mr Eugene Collins was the Master of Ceremony at the dances and his wife Jessie played the piano. Mabel Anderson was the violinist. On some occasions there would also be a drummer. Entrance fees was 2 shillings for men and 1 shilling for women. All monies raised from the dance was presented to Father Feehley, the local parish priest.

 

Military Camps/Units at Oonoonba
(previously Fairfield) during WW2

 

REFERENCE BOOKS

"Fairfield and her Folk 1868 1995"
"Oonoonba State School, 1920 - 1995"
Editor Denyse Bonney

 

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 Peter Dunn 2004

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This page first produced 1 July 2004

This page last updated 04 July 2004