The latest news

The premiere of our documentary on Cook’s biography through a cultural lens will feature on the Historical Dance Society’s online series.

This is a free event, click here to book through Eventbrite.  Please note, it’s on at 4:00am Brisbane, Australian time.  We’ll keep you posted for the Australian premiere!


2020 Jane Austen/Australian Regency Ball.

Thanks to everyone who came to our inaugural Jane Austen Ball at Dayboro.    It was a lovely evening with a strong sense of community in the beautiful, heritage-listed hall.  Thanks to our band, Philip’s Dog who played as splendidly as always, and our special guest, Dayboro pianist Coral Keogh.

Photos!  We’d love to share your photos of the ball on the website and Facebook.  Please send them along!
Click here for the gallery of previous balls


Tickets now available for our Jane Austen Ball.  Click here

Check out this article about Dr Heather and early colonial dance in the latest Ausdance QLD magazine.

IN/FORM Issue #3, 2020

Published on Aug 21, 2020

Issue #3 of Ausdance QLD’s magazine IN/FORM focuses and celebrates the amazing array of members across our dance sector.

Our band, Phillip’s Dog, provided a snippet of music for  “French Science on the High Seas: Voyages of exploration and discovery” for National Science Week.

Catch our article in Signals, the quarterly magazine of  the Australian National Maritime Museum.

Dancing with Cook

Soft airs and hornpipes with the great navigator

“Captain Cook wisely thought that dancing was of special use to sailors…it was to this practice that he mainly ascribed the sound health which his crew enjoyed…(Blasis, 1830)


One perspective of James Cook which has rarely been examined is how music, theatre, and dance were interwoven into his life and served to venerate him after death.  He used music and dance to keep his crew healthy and to establish peaceful communications with people he encountered on his voyages.  His own life was commemorated in dance.

See pages 30-33 in the online edition.


Download the pdf.  Dancing_with_Cook_Signals131

On the radio

The 1839 illegal masquerade ball

With dancing being banned in nightclubs in Brisbane due to Covid restrictions, Kate O’Toole on ABC Radio contacted me to chat about other times when dancing had been banned in Australia.
The interview on 10 July, covered the story of an illegal ball in Sydney in 1839.


THE MASQUERADE.—Inspector Price was going the rounds about twelve o’clock on Friday night, his ears were assailed by a most horrible fiddling and drumming, which he found proceeded from a house kept by a person named Norman who has a room fitted up for the express purpose of giving fancy balls. After stationing a couple of Constables at the door Price went up stairs, where he found about fifty persons assemblcd, of all ranks, and with all kind of dresses on. Great war the confusion at the Inspector’s approach, and how to get out was the question with many which was solved by some who jumped out of the window, and others making the best of their way down stairs. The first person on whom the Inspector fixed his eye upon was a little shop-boy dressed as Jim Crow, looking very much like a dirty chimney sweep on a May-day, who was immediately handed into custody ; the next was a young man who receives a salary of ten shillings a-week, and was dressed in a sort of petticoat with a scarlet jacket trimmed with gold lace who described him-self as being dressed in ” Greek custom,” who ” not having anything to show for his freedom,”‘ was placed with Jim Crow. Four nymphs of the pave who were dressed as Don Giovanni, Constantin, Squalling Fan, and Paul the Pet of the Petticoats, were taken for disorderly conduct, and the whole party were handed to St. James’ watch-house where they were confined until next morning, when they had the felicity of being marched to the Police Office. Saturday being a holiday, Mr. Windeyer would not enter into the case, but ordered them to be admitted to bail for their appearance this morning, and about eleven o’clock they were turned out amidst the admiring gaze of a large concourse of people. We are glad that the Police appear to be determined to put an end to these nuisances, and we trust the Chief Constable will not fail to lay an information against the keeper of this house for keeping an unlicensed place of entertainment, the penalty for which is £50. The same ” concern” was fined £30 last week, for illicitly retailing spirituous liquors.

ACCIDENTS, OFFENCES, &c. (1839, January 28). The Sydney Herald (NSW : 1831 – 1842), p. 2. Retrieved February 19, 2020, from


The National Folk Festival is selling the merchandise made for their (cancelled) 2020 festival – including this mug, with artwork based on a photo of our dancer/teacher, Rosie (dancing with Peter), taken by Melbourne Ceili Camera.
Now that’s cool!


We started back dancing on 14th of August and featured this dance called ‘The Black Nag’.  Here is an amusing animated version.

Dancing again in Brisbane

Moreton Bay Council and Queensland Health has given us the go ahead with a Covid-safe plan.

Coming dance dates
28 August
11 & 25 September
23 October
10 October Jane Austen/Australian Regency Ball [at Dayboro] 13 & 27 November
11 December

Friday evenings at The Farmers Hall, 30 Main Street, Samford, QLD 4520
Time: 7:30pm   Cost: $4.00.
Subsidised by Moreton Bay Council’s Healthy & Active