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‘How We Made Our Armistice Ball’

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Actors performed a short play about WWI as part of Blackbutt’s Armistice Centenary Ball, which was one of the largest events held at Blackbutt Memorial Hall since it re-opened in October 2017

Captain Jenny Daetz CSC RAN – the first woman to command a Royal Australian Navy vessel – was the Ball’s guest speaker

November 23, 2018

Blackbutt celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Armistice on November 10 with a ball that attracted a stellar line-up of speakers and performers and drew more than 180 paying guests.

It was the largest event of its kind held at Blackbutt Memorial Hall since it reopened in October 2017, and an amazing result for a town with a population of about 1200.

This week Wally Jacobson, the Deputy President of the Blackbutt RSL Sub Branch, provided with this report about how this remarkable event was put together.

We found his report genuinely fascinating and we hope you do, too:

* * *

In February 2017, Trish Jacobson, myself and Eddie Thornton came up with the idea of holding a ball to celebrate the Centenary of the Armistice.

We had all been appointed to the Blackbutt RSL Sub Branch’s grants committee, and we applied for funding through the Queensland Anzac Centenary Grants Program.

To apply we had to supply quotes for our requirements to run such an event.

So we hand-picked our band, venue, hire company, graphic designer, audio and visual people and other items that would be acceptable in our application.

Then we formed a Blackbutt Centenary of Armistice Committee, a group made up of members of the Blackbutt RSL Sub Branch, Blackbutt/Yarraman QCWA Branch, and Blackbutt/Benarkin Lions.

Trish Jacobson (President of Blackbutt/Yarraman QCWA) was elected Chairman, Denise Ryder QCWA (Secretary), Pat Keily OAM RSL (Treasurer), and myself, Eddie Thornton and Rob Moult from the RSL as committee members, along with Marg Moult from the QCWA and John Atkins from the Blackbutt-Benarkin Lions Club.

We received notification of our success in getting grant funding in December 2017, and in February this year we set about the task ahead.

First off, we worked out our costings and calculated what funding we could raise.

We set the Ball’s ticket price at $47 and since the only sponsorship we received was from our grant and from Bendigo Bank, this meant the rest of the funds we needed would have to come from a raffle, ball tickets sales and the Blackbutt RSL if required.

The cost of the ball worked out at $95 for each ticket holder, so $47 per head was actually a very cheap night out!

A video address by the Honourable Brendan Nelson AO, the director the Australian War Memorial, was a special highlight of the night (Photo: Wikipedia)

I asked Mr Angus Lane OAM – a renowned Australian show circuit announcer and family friend – if he would be our Master of Ceremonies at the Ball and he gladly accepted.

We also invited Captain Jenny Daetz CSC RAN – the first woman to command a Royal Australian Naval vessel – to be our guest speaker and she accepted our invitation, too.

Then we made a special request to Dr Brendan Nelson from the Australian War Memorial if he could do an introduction to be screened at the ball.

He accepted and Dr Nelson’s talk was one of the highlights of the night for our guests, because his address made specific mention of the Blackbutt Armistice Ball and the community several times.

We also confirmed the booking for our entertainment (The Cool Nights Big Band from Toowoomba), and booked Dave Jones from South Burnett Film to look after the audio, lighting and visual effects.

After this, our plan was set, and all we had to do was put it into effect.

Our catering for the Ball was done by our hard-working Blackbutt-Yarraman QCWA, and Blackbutt RSL organised the bar and its staff.

All these workers gave of their time willingly and with great gusto.

The Armistice weekend arrived very quickly but when it did we were ready to put on a show to remember.

The Lions organised the Saturday markets and the community sausage sizzle at the RSL after our Sunday Remembrance Service, and we thank them for their efforts.

We’d also like to thank the SES and the Queensland Police Force for their assistance over the weekend.

As things turned out, the Armistice Centenary Ball was a huge success and fully sold out.

I hope the 180-plus ticketed guests and our tremendous volunteers enjoyed the night.

We had over five hours of continuous entertainment, with actors doing a play about World War I; swing music; a live piper several times through the night; sound effects; and a great Guest Speaker and a very professional emcee.

On behalf of the Blackbutt Armistice Centenary organising committee we hope everyone who took part enjoyed our celebrations and commemorations over the weekend, and we hope we given you all some great memories!

Wally Jacobson,
Deputy President,
Blackbutt RSL Sub Branch.
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