News

The gown that has blessed three generations of brides

BEAUTY: Polly Leahy, Marnie Leahy and Marie Gore with the dress they all wore to their debutante balls.
BEAUTY: Polly Leahy, Marnie Leahy and Marie Gore with the dress they all wore to their debutante balls. Julia Baker

WHEN Marnie Leahy stepped out in a vintage gown at Miles debutante ball on Saturday night everyone let out a collective gasp.

The 17-year-old is the third generation of women in her family to wear the mint-condition debutante gown, worn by her mother and grandmother to make their debuts.

Her grandmother, Marie Gore, first wore the dress in Chinchilla in 1961 followed by Marnie's mother, Polly Leahy, more than 20 years later in 1988.

"I made my debut here in Chinchilla in the town hall, which was the old soldiers hall, and there was no cement or anything out the front of the hall and the dirt was about that deep so my cousin, John Bender, picked me up and carried me in," Mrs Gore said.

The dress was created by local seamstress Rita French, who still lives in Chinchilla, for a local bride and consists of a satin petticoat, a three-layered tulle skirt worn over a hoop, a gathered tulle overlay with hand-sewn flowers and a bodice of guipure lace.

"She made it for a lady who was getting married and the husband was working on the railway with my dad, so this man came out and said to me 'I hear you're making your debut' and he said 'have you got a dress?'... that was the start of it and then I wrapped it in a flannelette sheet and put it in a port and carried it around with me for years," Mrs Gore said.

"Someone said to me 'the tulle must be rotten by now' but it isn't and when I was sewing the flowers back on to the tulle the other day my hands were so sore."

Mrs Gore said the dress was a "show stopper" and that it was "absolutely wonderful" her grand-daughter had carried on the tradition and chosen to wear the dress to her debutante ball.

"She tried it on and it fitted like a glove except for the petticoat, so all I had to do was let it out at the waist a bit," she said.

"Payton, Marnie's younger sister, she gave Marnie a lecture the other night about roughing up the dress because she wants to wear it yet."

Miss Leahy said she didn't know her grandmother had kept the dress until it came time for her to choose a debutante gown.

"To be honest when Mum said 'you can wear my dress'... I was like 'it's going to be really old' because I hadn't seen it. Then I tried it on and I was in love with it," she said.

"I felt very special, everyone was coming up and saying it was so pretty."


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Local Partners

Musical is one for the ages

Tickets for tonight, Friday and Saturday evenings, and is a show not to be missed.

Working class? Man, Gympie's got the show for you

Jimmy Barnes

Aussie rock icons coming to Gympie for 150th celebrations.

Tables turn as rescue crew takes on gruelling mountain

EPIC CHALLENGE: Hundreds of runners will tackle the 4.2km run from the heart of Pomona to the top of Mt Cooroora and back on Sunday.

They are usually the people coming to the rescue of adventurers

VIDEO: Girls can feel safe at Splendour

Punters at Splendour in the Grass 2016 at Byron Bay.

High visibility police will be among the crowd at all times

EXCLUSIVE: Behind the scenes with police at Splendour

VIDEO: Police confirm an increase in the number of people attempting to conceal drugs inside their body at Splendour in the Grass music Festival.

New Thor: Ragnarok trailer is everything you could want

Thor and his brother Loki seem to be on the same side.

Another Thor trailer has landed, and it's hot

Check out the 22 women who'll chase the next Bachelor

Meet the women vying for Matty J's heart on The Bachelor.

The 22 women of the Bachelor have been revealed

'What gig?' Drummer left out of Powderfinger reunion

Former Powderfinger drummer Jon Coghill works as a presenter and journalist for ABC Sunshine Coast.

Former drummer learns of reunion gig after the fact

FINAL PHONE CALL: Princes’ regret over last words to Diana

Prince William and Prince Harry have opened up about their mum, Princess Diana, in a new documentary. Picture: ITVSource:Supplied

Two princes regret rushing the last phonecall with their mother

OPINION: Splendour reached peak glitter

Courtney Smoulden and Dylan Barker sporting some of the extensive glitter available at Splendour in the Grass 2017 near Byron Bay.

2017 is, officially, the year of Splendour in the Glitter

Karl Stefanovic breaks his silence on divorce, new love

Karl poses for Stellar’s July 23 issue. Picture: Steven Chee Source:Stellar Magazine

Stefanovic on his marriage breakdown, new girlfriend

Financial scandal destroys alternative community

Families who gave thousands to be a part of an alternative community at Mt Burrell, west of Murwillumbah, are now trying to recover their investment. Picture: Jamie Hanson

Dream Utopia turns into a nightmare

Mum buys $900,000 apartment for her 8-year-old son

Tania Katsanis beat another couple of homeowners to secure the winning bid.

The apartment was a 'bargain' as the property market bottoms out

Townhouses planned for Nicklin Way site

CBRE's Brendan Robins and Rem Rafter on site at Wurtulla.

Prime 1.5ha Sunshine Coast property set for town homes development

Owner tells of ghostly goings on at old Mackay pub

GHOST STORIES: Several people have died at the Mirani Hotel

Owner says pub is 'definitely haunted'

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!