THE DEBUTANTE ball has been revived all in the name of community with nine young women to take part in the coming of age celebration this weekend.
The girls, aged 16-19-years-old, will be the centre of attention at the Queanbeyan NAIDOC Debutante Ball this Saturday.
They will wear beautiful, floor length white gowns and take part in formal dances. There will also be primary-school-aged flower girls and page boys.Coordinator Louise Brown said this event was a "coming of age" rite of passage for the teenage girls including her own granddaughter Justine Brown, 18-years-old.
She said it would not be possible without funding by FAHSCIA.
"There are a lot of programs for young men and boys but the girls don't have as many opportunities to build up their self esteem," Ms Brown said.
"It was a tradition for the girls to do something just with the elder women. They would've done something like dancing, that's what was done back in the day and men weren't allowed to be there.
"The girls have been partnered up and will perform dances like the Pride of Erin and Gypsy Tap in front of special guests Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall and sportswoman Katrina Fanny.
"We have to thank the dance teachers Irene Ryan and Robyn Vest who have volunteered to teach the group," Ms Brown said.
"They've been practising for a month or so, the first week they weren't sure which way to walk but they've improved since then."It has been a decade since the last Indigenous debutante ball was held in Queanbeyan and although it is a fairly modern concept there will be traditional touches.
"We've invited elders and someone will give a 'Welcome to Country' speech," Ms Brown said. "The entertainment is all indigenous. A young fella will DJ for the young ones but they'll also be a band to play some rock'n'roll and country."
"We brought it back mainly for the community, our Aboriginal community in Queanbeyan and because it's happening in a lot of Aboriginal communities in the state.
"Queanbeyan High School student Justine said she is participating in the Ball just as her mother and aunty did at her age."I remember being a flower girl at my aunty's ball. I remember this room [at the Queanbeyan Kangaroos Football Club] and having a lot of fun," she said.
"I think it's every grandmother's dream to see her granddaughter parade around in a dress."
A self-confessed tomboy, Justine is more accustomed to the basketball court or winning premierships with the Queanbeyan Whites Football team.But she's swapped her rugby jersey for a white, floor-length gown covered in ruffles with a modest spilt and spaghetti straps.
The year 12 student said the thing she has enjoyed the most is getting to know all the other girls during the six-week preparation.
"We all come from different schools and it's good to meet other Indigenous girls my age. We've gotten to know each other during the period of training and I've made new friends ... we probably wouldn't have met any other way," Justine said.
"Most communities don't do Debutante Balls so it is an honour for all of us to be part of one."