FURTIVE: The executive of Bremer Forum - (from left) Jenny Sellars (vice-president), Toni Risson (president), Rose Arnold (secretary) and Lorraine Foran (treasurer) – enjoy the group’s 17th birthday at The Ipswich Club. Contributed
FURTIVE: The executive of Bremer Forum - (from left) Jenny Sellars (vice-president), Toni Risson (president), Rose Arnold (secretary) and Lorraine Foran (treasurer) – enjoy the group’s 17th birthday at The Ipswich Club. Contributed Contributed

Bling and furs at Ipswich Club

THERE were plenty of reasons for the Bremer Forum to celebrate when the organisation held a traditional soirée at the Ipswich Club recently.

It was the group's 17th birthday for a start, but the forum has helped members enhance their skills at public speaking and overcome a fear that strikes most people when called on to talk in front of a group.

Forum president and MC for the soirée evening Toni Risson is a member who has derived great benefit from her involvement.

"It is purely a club that trains people to get over their public speaking horrors," Ms Risson said.

"They reckon it is the number one fear...that people would rather die than get up and give a speech in public.

"I joined Forum a few years ago because I am a writer and when I had to do interviews on television and radio, do book launches and speak at various venues I had to find a way to overcome nerves.

"This club has been great for me from that respect. It has a friendly atmosphere, not a critical atmosphere."

Ms Risson, who is a confident public speaker now, said the Forum Association was founded in Brisbane during the Second World War "to equip women for the public roles they were suddenly asked to fill".

"Forum gave them the confidence to speak in public with style and eloquence and the skills to chair meetings and hold public office," she said.

Anna Walker and Portia Risson.
Anna Walker and Portia Risson.

There are 16 clubs in Queensland, two of which are in Ipswich. Seven of the clubs were represented when Bremer Forum hosted its soirée.

'Soirée' is a French word for an intimate evening gathering usually in a private home. Ms Risson described a soiree as "a glamorous, somewhat avant garde affair held for a specific purpose: to hear a radical new thinker, watch a dancer, listen to music, poets, speakers..."

Photos taken from the event reveal exactly that as 49 people enjoyed canapés and finger food on the club veranda while listening to Edwardian music and jazz, before a rewarding evening of short speeches and fun-with-words games.

"People got into the swing of things and brought their old furs, lace, and lots of bling. It was beautiful," Ms Risson said.

The Bremer Forum usually meets in Trades Hall but because this was the 17th birthday of the group Ms Risson wanted to do something special, so she hired the Ipswich Club.

"Soirées were all the rage 100 years ago when George Brockwell Gill was planning to build for the Bottomley family the house now known as the Ipswich Club," Ms Risson said.

 



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