Lifetime of Memories at Kerry Dance

Lynn Mortensen and Albert Schwarz
Lynn Mortensen and Albert Schwarz

When Albert Schwarz went to the recent 75th Kerry Memorial Hall dance, he vividly remembered being at the very first dance all those years ago.

On that night back in 1946, 10-year-old Albert travelled across with his family from Chinghee Creek despite the stormy weather which kept others away.

The story was much the same this year on 27 November, when Albert was among a small but strong crowd who braved soggy weather to celebrate the hall’s 75th anniversary.

Albert, now 85, wasn’t the only original dance goer at the celebrations. Bruce Stephens was 13 years old when he attended the first dance, and he was 88 when he attended the anniversary dance with his wife, Beverley.

As well as the old timers like Albert and Bruce, the dance hall was full of people young and old with connections to the Kerry community and the hall dance scene.

The youngest dancer there was Violet Dunne, 3, who came along with her family after performing in a ballet concert.

The anniversary celebrations included plenty of reminiscing, with dance goers able to have a sit-down supper for the first time since Covid restrictions began.

There was plenty of dancing too, of course, with local honky tonk pianist Mike Woollett keeping everyone on their toes late into the evening.

Albert, who attended the celebrations with Lynn Mortensen, recalled some of his earliest dance memories.

“I remember they boiled the tea out at the side of the hall in an old copper, the ones they used to put washing in, and supper was in the dance hall because they hadn’t built the supper hall extension yet,” he said.

“As far as I know there were about 200 people here at the first dance, and us kids used to sleep on the stage under the piano, when the dance was on.

“I’ve never missed a dance, all around the district. Even when we went around Australia we used to go to the dances. It’s just fun, isn’t it? A way of life.”

Social photos next edition, 17 December 2021.

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