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Ladies and gentlemen, take your partners please

Right before WWI, some friends got together in a farm shed at Marburg for a dance. In 1912 a small Marburg Show Hall was built and the dances found their permanent home.

The music mixes with the sounds of polished dance shoes sliding across wood floors. The resin box is in the corner and a team of volunteers are in the side room busily making sandwiches and cutting cakes.

It is 7.30pm on a Saturday night and the first bracket has been introduced by the MC.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen, take your partners please for the Marburg Waltz.”

The band is a local favourite and sounds of the fiddle can be heard just like it would have been over 100 years ago.

Robert Krause, 83, from Marburg attended the dance for the first time when he was a child and his parents were on the P&C Committee. He started regularly from the 1950s until four boys and 4am milkings on his dairy farm kept him busy for a couple of decades.

In the past few decades, he started attending regularly again and even had a stint as president on the committee.

“There have been some differences over the years. Right up until the 1950s it was a very family affair. All ages would attend. Then it went to purely young people except a few mothers who stayed to keep an eye on their daughters,” Mr Krause said. 

Christine Hines, Graham and Sandra Edwards putting together trays of sandwiches.

“We would average 300 people a night in the 1960s and 70s but then the pubs and clubs have drawn them away.

“Also it used to be a lot more local crowd, but now people travel from all over to attend.” 

The dancing style has changed as well with more modern styles added in.

“It’s a bit more sophisticated today, I wouldn’t be able to do some of them. But dancing is such a good activity physically and mentally,” Mr Krause said.

Mr Krause attributes the success of the dances over the years to the volunteers.

“Especially the ones in the kitchen. I have done every job there from sweeping the floor to selling raffle tickets and pouring tea, but I have never cut the cakes, the ladies wouldn’t let me, they said I would eat too many.”

Janice Muir preparing the cakes.

Keith Sweeney helps out with supper.

Jeanette and Allan Halls with their grand daughter Charlotte Else.

Jeanette, 72, and Allan Halls, 76, have been attending the dances on and off for half a century.

“I used to tag along with my sister and I would meet up with friends from high school there,” Mrs Halls said.

“Back then there was only enough room to have chairs for the ladies and the men would all stand along the back wall.

“I still enjoy coming, I love the atmosphere and seeing the young ones now and I hope more will come.”

These days the Halls tag along with their granddaughter, Charlotte.

Charlotte Else, 17, taking her grandparents’ lead, has been attending for a couple of years.

“I would come on school holidays when I was little, but now I come because I want it to keep going,” Ms Else said.

“It’s safer here, no drunks and its fun.”

Norm Reinke at the ticket booth.

Too much excitement for youngster Alex Richter.

While there have been changes over the years it has stayed the same, just enough to keep the regulars coming.

Where else can you go on a Saturday night to listen to a live band, watch and partake in beautiful dancing and enjoy bottomless cups of tea, sandwiches and cakes for $13?

Kathryn McCook and Peter Black take a whirl on the dance floor.

Kathryn McCook is one of the administrators of the Marburg Dance Hall Facebook page where you can find out which bands are coming up or see pictures from previous dances.

The hall was renovated in 1944 and the floor space was increased by about 75 per cent. Since then dancers have been two stepping, foxtrotting and waltzing every Saturday night rain, hail or shine.

The band is Cloud 9.

Ipswich First

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