For my Hamilton’s WW1 research, I’ve read many Hamilton Spectators from the war years online at Trove. With all the doom and gloom that the war brought to the newspapers of the time, articles like the following make me smile and remind me why I enjoy reading old newspapers.
The title of the Fancy Dress Ball was “The Girls Who Stayed Home” as advertised in the Hamilton Spectator of 22 November 1915. All proceeds were for the Local Wounded Soldiers Fund.
The article, from the Hamilton Spectator of 19 November 1915, jogged my memory and I was sure I had seen photos of the event while searching for illustrated newspaper articles about Hamilton at Trove. Newspapers such as The Australasian, Table Talk and the more recent addition to Trove, Punch, had fantastic photos and they often included country social events.
Punch reported on the Ladies Fancy Dress Ball held in the Hamilton Town Hall on 22 November 1915 with great photos. I’m always impressed with the detail put into fancy dress costumes 100 years ago and before. Once limited to images from books and newspapers, the rise of film in the 1910s, however, brought new inspiration. That was evident at the Hamilton Fancy Dress Ball with Charlie Chaplin in attendance.
The portrait style photos are the real treasures and as names were provided, if lucky, you may find a family member. This mysterious gypsy at the Hamilton fancy dress was Miss Eva Wright.
As predicted, a number of the ladies went dressed as gentleman. The following photos show three of those ladies. Organisers were particularly vigilant on the night to make sure no cheeky men, pretending to be ladies dressed as men, did not pass through the doors.
The ladies above were from left: Miss Withers – “Tennis Boy”, Miss Eva Strachan “Middy” and Miss L. Meagher “Half-past two in the Morning”. To read the full article with all the photos click here
Next time you are visiting Trove, try a newspaper search for your family names and/or towns, but limit your search to the illustrated articles. You may find a photo of your great-great grandmother dressed as a pirate. Now that would be a treasure.