Proud Traditions since 1985 Bev Lawson
 Bev Lawson & John Avery

Illawarra Police Charity Ball

The Illawarra Police Charity Ball - the longest continually running police ball in NSW - is this year celebrating a major milestone with its 34th annual event. The ball is not purely a police event. Each year an average over 300 people attend representing a broad cross-section of the Illawarra, from emergency service personnel to business representatives and members of the community.

The ball is regarded as a community celebration which aims to provide a great night out, while at the same time raising much-needed money for local charities. This endeavour is assisted each year by generous sponsorships and donations from a variety of businesses throughout NSW. To date, the ball has raised over $500,000 for local charities and will continue building on this tremendous amount.

The Illawarra Police Charity Ball began with one woman's vision

In 1985, then-sergeant Beverley Lawson, of the Wollongong Patrol, wanted to hold a function that would see local police and the community come together for a fun and social evening. The central purpose of this function however, would be to raise much needed money to support local charities.
The first charity ball was held on Friday, August 1, 1986, at The Fraternity Club, Fairy Meadow, with 200 people in attendance. Raffle prizes included a $1000 travel voucher from Ansett, a microwave oven and $200 worth of house paint. Guests were entertained by Con and the Latin Beats. Importantly, proceeds from the night aided the Bulli Hospital palliative care ward and the Wollongong Cancer Awareness Support Group. Both causes were close to Bev's heart, she being a cancer survivor who, at the time, had six months left to complete of a five-year remission. But she said the charities were chosen to coincide with Cancer Awareness Year, not because of her personal experience.

''When we were considering these options, I thought about people having to travel to Sydney daily for their treatment; I really don't know how some of them get up there, or more specifically how they cope,'' she said at the time.

''We would like to make the ball an annual charity event and if there are charity groups in the area who would like to be considered, we would be pleased to hear from them,'' she added.
In 1996, Bev Lawson became the first female Deputy Commissioner of NSW. At the time of her death from a stroke in January 1998, aged 57, she was Australia's highest-ranking female police officer, reaching Deputy Commissioner, and someone of whom the Police Service of NSW was immensely proud. Bev Lawson and her family were strong supporters of the charity ball, even as she rose through the ranks of the NSW Police Force.
Her vision of a community working together to benefit those in need still remains strong and has been adopted by the current committee.

In 2019, the Illawarra Police Charity Ball will celebrate its 34th anniversary on Friday 26th of July at 6.30pm for 7.00pm start at Novotel Wollongong Northbeach, the venue testimony to the growth and popularity of the event since those early days at the Frat.

Today, the ball has established itself as a great value for money night out, and a must attend social event in the Illawarra.

Please note the earlier starting time. Be there at 6:30pm for a 7:00pm start.


2019 Beneficiaries

Illawarra Women's Domestic Violence Court Advocacy Service and NSW Police Legacy.


Warrigal Charters Wollongong from 11.30pm to 12.30am will be doing a shuttle from the Novotel Wollongong Northbeach to CBD Wollongong and then heading South.