COUNTRY CHARM: Authors Nicki Laws and Ann Alcock launch their book at Bell.
COUNTRY CHARM: Authors Nicki Laws and Ann Alcock launch their book at Bell. Derek Barry

Bell literary lunch for Frocks, Country Halls and Deb Balls

FROCKS, country halls and deb balls are not only part of our heritage, but they also form the title of an important and delightful new book by Goombungee author Nicki Laws and Toowoomba photographer Ann Alcock.

Nicki and Ann were at Pips N Cherries cafe in Bell on Saturday for a literary lunch about the book.

The book is a fascinating look at Queensland country halls - all of them in the Darling Downs region - and is also the story of one woman's passion for dancing, the gowns she had made and a glimpse at two modern-day debutante balls.

Nicki and Ann visited 20 small country halls across the north-east Darling Downs to see their charms and meet the people who keep their floors polished, teapots filled and doors open.

The centrepiece of the book is the story of a lifelong friendship between Dulcie Mason, who loved dressing up and going to balls, and the late Thelma Beutel, of Acland, who put together the sequins, brocades and lace in the frocks Dulcie wore.

Other unforgettable characters include Carmel Green and her late husband Ronnie, who performed on the road in their band Ronnie and the Ramblers.

The authors said the halls have gone through much in their lives and were far from lifeless structures.

"Each country hall has its own personality and we hope the photographs show them at their best," they said in the book's introduction

Frocks, Country Halls and Deb Balls can be purchased online by Googling the title and can be ordered at bookshops.


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