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I don’t often comment on my out of hours activities but attending the largest ball ever held in Australia was definately an experience. 3000 for a sit down dinner in the new Virgin Blue hangar at Brisbane Airport. Kirsten, Renee and I were ready to party last night.

The shear scale has to be commented on. How many semi trailer loads of china does it take to serve 3000? How much alcohol was consumed? I’d love to see the statistics. It is the first time I’ve experienced what that number of people looks like.

Everyone was in the mood to create the greatest party in the country. Dressed in ball gowns and stilettos – we were assembled to raise money for the Virgin foundation, known as the RedJet Foundation. The auction was not for the faint hearted..naming rights to one of the Virgin Blue planes was sold for more than $100k (we did not hear the name of the new plane).

The wait staff were unbelievably attentive, and it really appeared that no expense had been spared.

I want to meet the head chef, the meals were superb. One never really expects much in terms of quality of meal at a large event – let alone being in a hangar – no commercial kitchen in site. What was delivered was delicious, hot and ‘melt in your mouth’ tender lamb. The marinated strawberries with lemon zest cream, light fresh and decadent.

The entertainment did a superlative job. And Human Nature, the band have got so much better with age.

Even though we had been warned on the invitation to rug up. Few did, and the few gas heaters just had no effect. Being cold does bring people together (literally).

The piece missing in crowd management was the lack of toilets – (standing in a freezing queue for 45 minutes sort of dampens one’s party spirit). The other missing – was how to get home. Waiting for a taxi for hours, then giving up and jumping on a bus (any bus) which ended up near the city where we then walked in our high heels and ball gowns across the Storey Bridge. That is all part of the experience and experience does not always equal fun.

I have to say apart from these two areas of logistic management the party exceeded all my expectations. Well done to the team that took up this crazy scheme. This is an example that anything is possible if you dare to dream it.

Reader Interactions


  1. The Virgin Hanger party really was something.

    By the way, Bretts Wharf did the catering (but not the heaters and toilets) and as one of the partners in this business I can tell you that it was like running a military campaign — it consumed us for months prior to the night. (You can’t ring up your strawberry supplier the week before an Event of this size and place an order for over 1/4 tonne of strawberries.)

    There were 6 kitchens and 8 bars set up.

    We had to find 290 staff in Brisbane on a Saturday night, when there is barely a chef or waiter to be had … anywhere.

    However, the jungle drums in Brisbane are alive and well — previous Bretts staff came out of the woodwork, competitors lent us staff (we got 50 waitstaff from Spotless Catering) and literally friends and relatives were roped in.

    So … I was delighted about your compliments regarding the staff, since some had never waited a table!.

    Alastair McLeod is our Executive Chef (he was the one burtling about on the golf buggy) and the brief from Sir Richard Branston was that Bretts had to do restaurant quality food.

    (Bretts Wharf Seafood Restaurant is his favourite restaurant in Brisbane.)

    If you want to see more stats (and a story about something that could have brought down the whole Event, go to my blog:

    By the way, I have just discovered your blog (Alastair put my onto it) and am enjoying it greatly.


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