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Dance Halls of Early Victoria,
Nightly Entertainment

Start Time:

  • Miners got off work between 8:00 and 8:30

End Time:

  • Between midnight and 2:00am


  • Admission 25 cents (approx. 1 shilling)
  • Dance 50 cents each
  • Drinks 50 cents each
  • Champagne $10 per bottle (rarely purchased)


  • Fiddle
  • Violin
  • Bass violi
  • Brass instrument
  • All the above OR a just a five


  • Waltz
  • Cotillion
  • “Lancer”
  • “Julien’s Quadrille”


  • drunk
  • noisy
  • rowdy
  • obsene, lewd language
  • stomping to music
  • congregations of large disorderly crowds

A master of ceremonies called out the dance figures, similar to today’s square dance caller.  The customers were required to “stand drinks” for himself and his partner, so at the end of each song, the MC ordered everyone to “waltz up to the bar.”  Apples were popular bar food between drinks.*  Since sex was a taboo subject in Victorian Victoria, how the couples transitioned from dancing to more private affairs is not explicitly known.  Dr. Evans court case testimony implies more clandestine activity when he states that that he “saw white men and Indian women come out of the house and go round the building and under the house”.*  The public also recognized dance houses as being places of “prostitution and kindred vices”.*