Wattle Day is celebrated on the first of September
Wattle trees are in abundance by the first day of spring, throughout Australia, in the bush, in gardens, on the side of the road. The much loved Wattle tree has a time of splendour, showing off, its green and yellow or golden glow. Wattle is the national floral emblem. It was eventually decided that we should have a ‘Wattle Day’, on the 1st September, the beginning of spring.
- Through history’s pages Wattle has been held in high esteem, but for the first Australians, ‘the original land owners’, they considered a number of species of Wattle to be sacred. It was an important source of food, fuel and medicine. They would grind the pods to make bread; known to consist of protein, complex carbohydrates and good fats; the bark was used for skin irritations, and the wood was used for making certain wood-crafts, like utensils and boomerangs.
- On the 17th Anniversary of the discovery of Tasmania, Hobart celebrated on the 19th November, 1838, with sprigs of Silver Wattle blossoms.
- Later in 1899 a ‘Wattle Club’, in Victoria, headed by Mr A J Campbell, a field naturalist; decided on their second year, to do a bush-walk on the first day of spring.
- However, the first official ‘Wattle Day’ was celebrated in 1910 in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide and in 1915, the National Wattle Day League, was established to organise the official celebration.
- Gaining more significance during WWI as Wattle sprigs and Wattle badges were sold to raise money for the war effort by organisations like the Red Cross. Wattle became a commemorative symbol to remember the men and women who fought for our freedom in war.
- It is also, I believe a symbol of the Australian nation and its people; the Aussie way, character, new life, common purpose, mateship, hope, working together towards a better future, courage, generosity, good humour and prosperity.
- Wattle is on the Australian Coat of Arms, as our National floral emblem, and it was planted along the Remembrance Drive, 320 kilometres of highway from Sydney to Canberra, as a memorial to the Australian war heroes.
- We see the essence of Wattle in the green and gold of our Australian athletes, and sports teams in their green and gold uniforms, the ‘Boxing Kangaroo’ flag, and anytime when Aussie’s wear their green and gold to show support to fellow Australians.
- Only a small percentage of the community these days celebrate Wattle Day, though it is coming into a revival again. It is not only a wonderful way to celebrate spring; it represents all that we hold most dear as Australians. Why not wear a sprig of Wattle, or dress in the green and gold, enjoy a walk in the bush and take in some wattle splendour, make a Wattle seed cake and have morning tea, but above all, take a moment to reflect and be thankful for all we have in this beautiful country we call home.
In my book, ‘Emily’, I love to share about nature; I developed a fictional wildlife park, ‘Green Coastal Wildlife Park’, to teach people about the wonders of the environment, aboriginal culture, the Australian bush and beach, native plants and animals and the connection of each, and the characters of the book, as well.
Emily the book is available from Amazon and other online stores.
by M.A.Loveday (Lecturer and Guide on Wildlife. Lover of Nature, Author)
References: Personal, Wikipeadia, and www.wattleday.asn.au