An 80 year-old Old Paradians’ Association-marked matchbox – an apparent throwback to the Association’ Annual Dinner of late 1936 – has been handed in to the College archive.

The matchbox was in the keep of Vicki Doherty, who recently contacted the association with news of the rare find. Vicki advised that whilst there was no apparent family connection with the Association, “in a recent clean-up I came across an old match box from the 1936 OPA Ball and it seems a shame to throw it out”.

“Would anyone be interested to have it?,” Vicki graciously inquired.

Vicki didn’t have to ask twice, as the archivist Rodney Prusa (1981) confirmed he wasn’t aware of the existence of such an item.

Adhered to the front of the matchbox is an aqua label upon which the original association crest and accompanying words “OPA Ball 1936” are featured.

It is presumed that matchboxes like this one were availed to those who attended the event held at the Palais de Danse, St Kilda, on the evening of Thursday, July 30, 1936.

The following report, which appeared on page 17 of The Paradian magazine in August of that year, offers a great insight into what was clearly a significant occasion for the many involved with the Old Paradians and College communities.

O.P.A. Ball Most Brilliant for Years

What must surely ranks as the most brilliant Catholic social function of the year, the Old Paradians’ twenty-third Annual Cabaret Ball, held at the Palais de Danse, St. Kilda, on Thursday, July 30, was a triumph of the organisation, and the most successful effort for several years.

Nearly 1000 guests crowded the Palais, which was a blaze of purple and green. Brilliant lighting effects showed to advantage the college banner, set in a drop canopy of high-hanging purple and green draperies, while at the other end of the hall a large coloured representation of the familiar college exterior, set in a huge golden frame, attracted general favourable comment.

With the band also in a setting of purple and green, the college colours were also prominent in the table decorations.

Preceded by a guard of honor comprising debutantes of former years, a record 48 debutantes made their bow to the president of the Association (Mr. J.A. Gorman) and Mrs. Gorman.

Guests of honor included the Principal of the College (Rev. Bro. T. Garvey), Rev. Frs. G. Collopy, S.J., A. Martin and Marsh, and Rev. Bros. Keniry, Hanley, McSweeney (North Melb), Marlow (St. Kevin’s) and Rahill.

Other special guests were representatives of the past students’ associations of St. Joseph’s College, North Melbourne, St. Kilda C.B.C., St. Patrick’s College (Ballarat), St. Patrick’s College (Sale), Xavier College, Assumption College (Kilmore), St. Patrick’s College (East Melbourne, C.B.C. Abbotsford, C.B.C. Middle Park, Newman Society, Vaucluse, St. Aloysius’ College, Academy of Mary Immaculate, Presentation Convent, Windsor, and the Cathedral parish.

Mrs. Gorman, who was again responsible for the organisation of the debutante set wore a gown of geranium pink crepe chiffon, showing touches of blue and mauve at the waist and shoulder drapings, with a spray of pink roses at the neck.

The debutantes who carries posies in purple and green were – Misses Bon. Davies, Terese Brady, Kath O’Farrell, Nell O’Kane, Eileen Hogan, Dot. Brown, Pat Dunne, Nell Marsh, Myra Kirwin, Mollie Jordan, Betty Jordan, Margaret Hedigan, Mary Flanagan, Mary Foley, Sheila Hedigan, Maisie Hodgens, Ursula Godfrey, Josie Leavy, Iris Jackson, Doreen Ryan, Violet Nelson, Rita Nelms, Lorna Rorke, Lucille Shannon, Marjorie House, Lucy Coghlin, Dorothy Dacy, Lola McAnuff, Mary Bergin, Lola Corkill, Neil Kiniry, Rita Wilkinson, Mary Kerin, Mary Power, Sheila Moloney, Yvonne Ewer, Mollie Carey, Joan Quinn, Pat Roberts, Nancy Bergin, Irene Cassidy, Jean Rigby, Leonore Musson, Collette Comans, Peggy Burns, Brenda Fitzpatrick, Vic. Rubins and Eileen Kirwin.

The executive has every reason to congratulate itself on the signal success of the ball, and on an attendance of 300 more than last year. Congratulations have been showered on our capable and energetic secretary, Mr. Wadee Amad, and on the ticket secretaries, Messrs. Jim Tierney and Tom Cleary, who have again demonstrated their efficiency, while the efforts of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Gorman also command special praise.

The other members of the executive which, assisted to an inestimable degree by a loyal ladies’ committee, was responsible for the organisation of the ball, were the assistant secretary (Mr. Alf. Williams), treasurer (Mr. Jack McAnuff), and Messrs. Greg. Belleville, Tom Hoey, Tom McCarthy, Cecil Cantwell, Percy Matthews, Keith Barker, George Beeden, Gus. Butler, Fred. Denton, Ivan Franich, Frank Mount, Cyril Power, Ned Power and Jack Tyrrell.