A palpable atmosphere was evident as an impatient & excited queue formed outside the double doors of the Function room upstairs in the Wynnum-Manly Leagues Club, Qld. Inside, the final touches were being made to the table centrepieces, Birthday Cake table, and Silent Auction items were assigned Numbers & were being propped, primped & prodded into place for the best vantage points to show off their features.
At precisely 11am, the doors were opened & after an anxious wait outside, the first of 50+ titillated Doll-enthusiasts (& in some cases, their long-suffering partners) rushed through, having signed in, purchased Raffle Tickets & hurriedly donned their Name Badges, ready for a day of promise & surprises. They were NOT to be disappointed!
Once inside, the festive feeling was boosted with the ‘Brigalow Country Music Band’ playing amidst a scene of the many decorated dining tables, a wonderful display of ‘Attic Dolls’ (lovingly created by talented Members for the special Birthday Competition), the fabulous multiple cake-stand tiers of ‘Doll-Baby’ cupcakes decorated with lashings of sugar-whipped fondant & edible golden glitter, and last but not least, the wall-to-wall trestle-tables of gorgeous dolls, Teddy bears. furnishings, tea-sets & various doll-ephemera up for bids in the Silent Auction to be held later in the day.
President Lyn Ryan, dressed to impress in her ‘red & purple ladies’ outfit, opened the proceedings with a rousing speech & outlined the exciting Agenda for the day.
We were exceedingly fortunate to be able to welcome our Founding Member, Norma
Goodall (2nd left), accompanied by her daughter Neryl who was able to bring her to share in this very special day from her Aged Care Home residence. Norma began the whole concept back in 1976 by writing to various ladies who were interested in dolls with a view to forming a ‘club’ in Brisbane as we were lacking anything like that of the Plangon Club of South Australia. They were invited to her home & the Brisbane Doll Society Incorporated was born. Norma was tremendously excited to be with us, and had been asking her daughter for days beforehand – ‘Is TODAY the day???”. Well, TODAY it finally WAS!! Life Members Patricia Dagnell (2nd right) & Marjory Fainges (far right) joined Lyn in welcoming Norma to the day’s festivities (pictured).
Norma gave a lovely speech & was then asked to present special gifts to the youngest Members of our Society – 11 year old Georgina Holland & 16 year old Michaela Pringle, who were absolutely thrilled to be meeting our most esteemed Doll Society Member. Marjory Fainges (Author of many doll knitting books & Australian Doll Identification / History) & Betty Cook also joined Norma at the podium as they were also long-standing original Members who had made substantial contributions to both our Society & the doll-world, especially within Australia.
Following this, Norma was given the consummate honour of unveiling the newly created Brisbane Doll Society’s Quilt, carefully designed & assembled by talented Member Dianne Mitchell (pictured). Similar to the old one, the new quilt comprises individual squares made by current & surviving original Members to represent themselves, and
includes their names & date of joining the Society, cornered with beautiful machine-embroidered motifs stitched by Dianne to frame the borders of the entire ensemble. Hanging beside the original quilt, it was a truly proud moment for everybody & excitedly embraced by the Members.
A sumptuous buffet lunch was served, followed by speeches and presentations of wonderful doll-related gifts to the many weary & marvellous Committee Members & helpers who had gone to such great efforts to ensure success on this most special of days.
Each current Member then received a fastidiously-created 12cm tall, 40th Anniversary ‘Ruby’ porcelain doll, dressed in a hand-crocheted white dress with ruby-hued sash & beaded necklace, mounted on a wooden stand with a specially commissioned Commemorative Plaque for our 40th Anniversary. Sixty (60) dolls were hand-poured, painted & fired by our wonderful Workshop co-ordinator Julienne Entwistle, dainty, pretty dresses meticulously crocheted by Beryl McGlynn, and the necklaces painstakingly threaded by Marj Fainges with a few other helpers along the way. The wooden stands were made by the marvellous Anna Skaanvad, our tireless and multi-talented Treasurer. As can be seen from the photograph, the end result was simply stunning and a lot of ‘Oohs’ and ‘Aahs’ were to be heard as each Member collected their precious gift.
Presented to each Member along with the dolls, was a glorious hand-made individual
‘Doll-baby’ cupcake featuring edible glitter & a whirl of wicked vanilla fondant (made by Member Trish Fleming’s clever daughter Raelee Holland), and a very Special Anniversary Edition of ‘Doll Chat’ – our Club’s Magazine (normally Quarterly). The special ‘Doll Chat’ features a President’s Report, a list of past Committee Members, jokes, poems and various informative doll stories as well as many articles of our Members’ personal ‘Doll Journey’ which makes for some enthralling reading!
Our Attic Doll competition drew some absolutely awesome entries by Members whose hitherto-unknown creative talents rose to the fore!! After months of laborious activity during meeting workshops, the dolls had been taken home, dressed & coiffed to the hilt, and the workmanship demonstrated in their final display was outstanding, to say the least. Voting ensued, and the Winners received their well-deserved awards. It was certainly a pivotal moment within our Society, which is more about COLLECTING dolls, rather than MAKING them, but the Members did not fail to produce gorgeous, quality Attic Dolls, of which the original Attic Doll Author, Australian Linda Carroll, would no doubt be thoroughly impressed! (see pictures).
Various other prizes were drawn including a Lucky Door, lucky seat spot, other minor prizes and the major raffle prize – an amazingly constructed Bisque ‘Parian’ doll, painted & dressed to closely resemble the beautiful old doll of our Society’s Logo (as featured on our Club Badges, stationery & every cover of Doll Chat magazine). This was won by a very lucky Member, Nancy Klaproth.
Finally, after a few false-starts, and many a confusing moment, the Winners of the Silent Auction having been compiled & tallied, were able to pay for & collect their coveted purchases. The auction brought a fierce but playful competitiveness amongst some of the Members, vying for their favourite dolls, and feverishly outbidding each other right up to the final moment before bidding cut-off was announced.
Everybody seemed most content, happy with their doll purchases, and the last sight to be seen of most Brisbane Doll Society Members was of them tucking as many dolly-goodies from the fabulous day into over-stuffed bags & boxes and declaring that a truly marvellous day indeed, was had by all!!!