SCHOOL formals for teenage girls are fraught with angst for parents at the best of times. There are the wallet-breaking costs of the graduation dress, the dangers of illicit alco-pop consumption or the clumsy, hormone-fuelled advances of boys at after-party celebrations.
However, even the parents of daughters attending one of the Gold Coast's top private girls' schools, including the mayor, would never have been prepared for their darling ones being shepherded en masse into the Nomads Motorcycle Club headquarters, home to the notorious outlaw gang. Students from St Hilda's, aged 17 and 18, were bussed to the mystery location after attending their formal at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
Oblivious to the potential dangers, the girls arrived at the headquarters of the Nomads at Carrara, about 15 kilometres from the centre of Surfers Paradise. The company hired by the senior class to organise the party kept the location secret to deter any party crashers at the weekend.
On Monday, the office of the anti-bikie campaigner and Gold Coast mayor, Tom Tate, confirmed that his daughter Emily had partied with her year 12 schoolmates inside the Nomads stronghold. It was unknown whether any bikies were present.
''Emily did not know where it was,'' the spokeswoman said.
''The students had no prior knowledge of the location … and as teenage girls I doubt they realised even after they arrived.''
It is not clear how many students from the elite school attended the party.
Cr Tate targeted Gold Coast's bikie gangs earlier this year after a Bandidos member, Jacques Teamo, was shot at Robina Shopping Centre and a female bystander was hurt. He said he would drive warring bikie gangs out of the city with a crackdown on building and safety codes.
''It's our right to feel safe from these outlaw motorcycle gangs in our city, in our homes and in our shopping centres,'' he said in April. ''I'm not going to put up with these dudes. They've crossed the line and we're going to stitch them up.''
Cr Tate has been touring Asia and was in China at the weekend, his spokeswoman said.
St Hilda's declined to comment, other than to note it was not responsible for the after-party event and was not involved in its organisation.
In 2007, students from Emmanuel College held a formal after-party at the Rebels clubhouse, and in 2006, the Bandidos Mermaid Beach clubhouse was the venue for a similar event for students from The Southport School.