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14 May, 2021

Doomadgee Gala Ball

CAIRNS-based group Empowering Women Empowering Communities (EWEC) is calling on locals to help the Doomadgee community’s first ever gala ball be remembered for generations.

By Tanya Murphy

Doomadgee locals Shyeisha Lorraine, Leeara Chong and Tennisha Waldon. Photo by Yolonde Entsch

EWEC is asking locals to dig out unwanted ball gowns, men’s suits, shoes and accessories and donate them to the community ahead of their inaugural NAIDOC Week Ball in July.

EWEC Founder Yolonde Entsch said the items would help the community look and feel amazing at the ball which is expected to attract up to 600 guests.

“We are definitely still looking for dresses but also for men’s suits and formal wear because we really want to make sure that the men feel and look their best and feel proud to stand beside the lady that they’re taking to the ball,” Ms Entsch said.

 “Then just general accessories… the clutch bag, you know, whether that’s sort of something pretty in the hair, makeup or anything that any one of us would need to kit ourselves out for night of glamour.

“I’m wanting to create an experience that they will never forget.

“You know that look that people get when they see something that they just almost can’t believe.”

News of the ball first broke last week when Ms Entsch’s Facebook call out for dress donations went viral amassing more than two million views.

Offers of support came from as far away as the USA, not just for dress donations but for services as well, with celebrity stylist Dale McKie putting his hand up to help.

“Dale dresses Guy Sebastian and his wife and other celebrities,” Ms Entsch said. “It’s incredible, he just contacted us, he saw the post and he said I would love to be a part of this if you think the community would have me.”

Ms Enstch said they have even had a Sydney photographer who is holidaying in Mount Isa at the time of the ball offer to drive up and capture the event.

The ball was the brainchild of local Councilor Elijah Douglas who said it was something he had always wanted to happen for the community.

“This is our first ever NAIDOC Ball, we’ve never had an event like this before and it would mean a lot to myself and my community if we get a lot of support and make it a night to remember,” Cr
Douglas said.

“A lot of people don’t really have many dresses to wear or only wear them every once in a while, so it’d be good to see everyone all dressed up and coming along and having a good time.”

A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help with the cost of things like transporting equipment and staging to the very remote community for the ball.

“I want to create an experience like what we would expect here in Cairns, but I want to create that experience in Doomadgee because so many of these people have never even travelled much further,” Ms Entsch said.

“You need to ship practically everything into a very remote community which I would say is at times an isolated community, just to get a stage there is $12,000, to get a dance floor there would be similar,” Ms Entsch said.

Clothing donations can be left at the Women’s Yarning Place in Manoora or posted to Yolonde Entsch at P.O. Box 14, Bungalow Q 4870. Monetary donations can be made at:

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