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Australia Day becoming more inclusive but still the wrong date

1 September is an alternative date worth considering for Australia Day celebrations. This is also National Wattle Day, a springtime celebration that offers a rich history and meaning for all Australians. National days say something about the identity and values of the people who celebrate them. This year the government–owned National Australia Day Council (NADC) gives the following description:

‘On Australia Day, we reflect on our history, its highs and its lows.

We respect the stories of others.

And we celebrate our nation, its achievements and most of all, its people.’

Australia Day is the latest of four names used for the anniversary of 26 January 1788. During the 1800s it was called First Landing Day, Foundation Day and Anniversary Day, arguably all accurate descriptions. Celebration of a nation – that is something different. Australia became a nation in 1901 on 1 January – another date for consideration if we are in good shape after New Year’s Eve celebrations.

On 26 January 1788, when the British raised their Union Jack to mark the occupation of New South Wales, everything in Australia, even the soil, was to change. But upon reflection, is this date, although obviously significant, the best date for a national day of celebration clearly aimed to include all Australians? Does this date for an Australia Day show respect for the stories of indigenous Australians for example? Have we been listening?

A date for celebration is more than a matter of firsts. Otherwise we might be celebrating the arrival in March 1606 of Willem Janszoon in New Holland, as Australia was then known. That was the first of many visits by Dutch explorers such as Dirk Hartog and Abel Tasman before Captain Cook sailed into Botany Bay 164 years later on 29 April 1770. Or we might be celebrating 22 August 1770 when Cook claimed the eastern portion of the Australian continent for the British Crown on 22 August 1770, naming it New South Wales.

William Macleod 1888 'Natives opposing Captain Cook's arrival

 

 

Titled 'Natives opposing Captain Cook's landing' this image by William Macleod is based on Cook's journal entry for the 29 April 1770 and depicts two Gweagal men standing on a rocky outcrop on Dharawal Country holding spears. There are two small row boats approaching with HMB ENDEAVOUR in the distance.
It was published in 1888
Picturesque Atlas Publishing Company, Sydney; http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-145314525


Why resist a change of date for Australia Day? Dates, names and relevance of national days have changed again and again. For example, we no longer celebrate Empire Day on Queen Victoria’s birthday on 24 May. Empire Day, honouring the British Empire, was first celebrated in Australia in 1905, four years after Queen Victoria died (22 January 1901). The name was changed to (British) Commonwealth Day in 1958 following the decolonisation of the British Empire after the London Declaration in 1949. The date on 24 May was later changed to the ‘official’ date for Queen Elizabeth II birthday (the second Monday of June) in 1966 – although she was born on 21 April.

Wattle Day, celebrated in various states and territories since 1910 at different times between August and September when the wattles were at their blooming best has grown in popularity over the last decade. This grass roots resurgence of interest was facilitated in 1992 by the Governor-General’s proclamation that made National Wattle Day a national day, across all states and territories on the same day - 1 September – every year. Twenty-seven years later, the current Governor-General of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley said, ‘Wattle Day is all about appreciating wattle and celebrating what it is, and means, to be Australian. It is a day to appreciate how fortunate we are. A day to remember that we are strongest and at our best when we look out for our neighbours and when we respect and care for each other’.

From a practical point of view, 1 September happens to be a very good time of year for a national public holiday because there are no others between July and November and it wouldn’t clash with any state or territory wide celebration (Tammy Solonec 2014).

National Wattle Day continues to offer a unifying way forward for all Australians as a national celebration of what it means to be Australian and to live in this extraordinary land, irrespective of whether Australia Day continues on 26 January.

Suzette Searle

President
Wattle Day Association Inc.
(founded in 1998)

Entire article can be downloaded here.

 

OUR HEALTH WORKERS WIN 'GOLDEN WATTLE AWARD'

The 2020 Golden Wattle Award winners are Australia’s health and medical professionals and allied workers, who have been at the front line of the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and who, day after day, have put their own lives at risk to keep the Australian community healthy and safe.
This award is in recognition of their expertise and skill, their dedication and commitment and their unselfish demonstration of the very best of care and compassion for their fellow Australians.


Previous Golden Wattle Award winners since 2011 include tennis great Ashleigh Barty and Dylan Alcott (2019), Craig Challen and Richard Harris, underwater rescuers of the young Thai soccer (2018) and Samuel Johnson and his sister (2017).

Adrian's resilient wattle

This photo is testament to the resilience of wattle that survives, and thrives, even in the most difficult of situations.
Photo: Courtesy of Adrian (North Canberra)

Celebrate Australia's National Wattle Day on 1 September 

Golden Wattle (A. pycnantha) SD Searle

The first celebration of wattle day in more than one state on the same day took place, on 1 September in 1910 in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

And then with the First World War (1914-1918) and the desire to sell wattle sprigs to raise money for the troops overseas and later for maimed soldiers and women and children's charities, the date was changed to 1 August in NSW and other dates elsewhere to co-incide with the best flowering of their local wattles from July (Qld) to late September (South Australia).

In 1992 as a unifying gesture for this particular celebration, the first day of spring - 1 September - was proclaimed by the Governor-General, Sir Ninian Stephen, to be Australia's National Wattle Day for everyone across Australia to celebrate at the same time.
This has yet to be celebrated as a national holiday.

Wattles have long had special meanings for Australians and in 1988 the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) was officially gazetted as Australia's national floral emblem.

Want to know more about why we celebrate National Wattle Day?

How can you celebrate National Wattle Day?

  • WEAR a sprig of wattle or the uplifting colour of yellow
  • GREET each other with 'Happy Wattle Day'
  • GO for a walk to enjoy wattles in flower around your garden, suburb, nearby bush or arboretum
  • ORGANISE a picnic, lunch, morning/afternoon tea, BBQ or dinner for your family & friends
  • or SING a wattle song with the children in your life.
    'The Wattle Blooms' was composed and performed for the celebration of National Wattle Day by Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley (pictured below).


 

The lyrics, recording and melody score for 'The Wattle Blooms' and other wattle songs can be found on our 'For Schools' pages.

 

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You are here: Home / About Wattle Day / 2019 Week of the Wattle around Australia

What happened around you and the rest of Australia in 2019

National Wattle Day events around Australia
in the Weeks of the Wattle
(Sat. 24 August to Sun. 8 September 2019)

There is no one way to celebrate National Wattle Day - there are many - as you will see from the list of activities such as wattle walks, wattle talks, wattle wood displays, wattle festivals and wattle parades on this page. Create your own. As the 1 September falls on a Sunday this year there is every opportunity to:

  • WEAR a sprig of wattle or Australia's national colours of green and gold
  • GREET each other with 'Happy Wattle Day'
  • Go for a walk to enjoy wattles in flower around your suburb or nearby bush
  • ORGANISE a picnic, lunch, morning/afternoon tea, BBQ or dinner for your family & friends

 

Let us know about your Wattle day activities and events for listing if you would like the public to come along.

Just email our with the details is a simple format for this page.

 

The following listing is by State/Territory in alphabetical order and then by date

Australian Capital Territory

New South Wales

Queensland

Tasmania

Victoria

Western Australia

Australian Capital Territory
Canberra

Albert Hall on Commonwealth Avenue - finished

 Monday 26 August 2019

ACT Government Citizenship Ceremonies with a Wattle Welcome to Australia's new citizens

10 am and 1.30 pm

ACT Government Citizenship Ceremonies with a Wattle Welcome to Australia's new citizens

Guest speaker: Mr Terry Fewtrell - Wattle Day Association Inc.

 

Terry Fewtrell speaking at Albert Hall

Terry Fewtrell speaking at a citizenship ceremony in Canberra (Albert Hall)

 

National Arboretum Canberra

Springtime Wattle Walks (90 minutes each) - finshed


Date and Time:
Saturday, 31st August at 11.00 am (led by Jennie Widdowson)
and
Sunday, 1st September at 11.00 am and 2.00 pm (both led by Suzette Searle)

Meet at the Village Centre

This is a free activity but you will need to register on the Arboretum's website. Click here

 

NAC Wattle banner



Details: Celebrate springtime in Canberra with guided walks through the 25 different wattle varieties in the Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP) at the National Arboretum Canberra.

Australia’s floral emblem - the Golden Wattle - will be in bloom to welcome you!

The walk will last around 90 minutes and will need moderate fitness. Please wear sturdy footwear, bring water and dress for the weather conditions.


Wattle Corner - Village Centre - finished

Date and time: Sunday, 1st September at 9.00 am to 4.00 pm

The Wattle Day Association is hosting a 'wattle corner' to give out fresh sprigs of wattle and talk about wattle woods such as the world famous Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon).

On display (only) will be turned and other hand-crafted wattle woods from the Wood Works Gallery Bungendore NSW

 

Wattle stall 2018 Village Centre NAC Arboretum


Calthorpe's House - Wattle Day Display - finshed

Date and time: Sat 31 Aug 2019— Sun 1 Sep 2019

Celebrate National Wattle day this weekend.

Take part in our regular house tours at Calthorpes House and view Dawn Waterhouse’s (nee Calthorpe) beautiful collection of wattle related items displayed in the family’s dining room.

This collection celebrates this important day and this unique Australian flower.

Date and time: 31 Aug 2019 — 1 Sep 2019

Regular tours available at 1pm, 1.45pm, 2.30pm, 3.15pm

Advanced bookings not required

Australian National Botanic Gardens

Wattle Walks all this week - still on!

Don't miss out as the wattles from around Australia come into bloom

Date and time: 1-8 September 11.00 am – 12.00 pm daily, Meet at the Visitor Centre

Discover the wonderful world of wattles, their symbolism and cultural history on this one-hour walk which celebrates our national floral emblem.

Along the way you’ll learn fascinating stories about this widespread genus, Acacia, and enjoy the first signs of spring.

No bookings required. Free. More information

 

Thursday Talks at the ANBG theatrette (opposite the Visitors Centre) - finished

'Wattle we do with Acacia?'

Date and time: Thursday, 5 September 2019 - 12:30pm

Dr Phillip Kodela: Flora botanist and scientific editor, Australian Biological Resources Study, Parks Australia Division, Department of the Environment and Energy, will discuss interesting facts and figures about this genus and related taxa, including recent taxonomic debates and developments in the Flora of Australia and the plant identification tool WATTLE.

 Phillip Kodela AVh ANBG 23 Aug 2019

 

Black Mountain Ramble - Wattle we see - still to come

Saturday, 14 September 2019 - 9:30am to 11:30am

Let’s enjoy a ramble among the Wattles on Black Mountain with local plant ecologist, Michael Doherty.
Let’s learn more about some of the common Acacias found on Black Mountain, including Acacia dealbata and Acacia buxifolia.
We will also learn about how Acacias cope with fire and drought. 

The walk will mostly be flat to undulating, but with a few steeper sections later on in the walk.

Some relevant booklets will be for sale.

Meet: Belconnen Way entry to Black Mountain Nature Reserve, just before Caswell Drive turnoff (look for the banners).

Bring: Friends and family. Water. Snacks if you wish. 

 ‘Gold Coin Donation’

Please book: If you are planning to come, please provide your name and phone number to friendsofblackmountain@gmail.com, or phone Linda (0437 298 711). It helps with the light refreshments and helps us to let you know if arrangements need to change unexpectedly (e.g. adverse weather).

 

National Arboretum Canberra

Acacias in Watercolour - with Cheryl Hodges - finished

 Date and time: Friday , 6 September 9.20am-4.30pm
in the Terrace Room at the Village Centre, National Arboretum Canberra

 Note: Book and pay through Nature Art Lab as this is not an arboretum workshop.

To book, go to: https://natureartlab.com.au/collections/workshops/products/spring-flowering-acacias-with-cheryl-hodges

Acacia pycnantha Cheryl Hodges 2019

 

 

NSW

Bungendore

Wood Works Gallery - ongoing

Date and time: Sunday, 1st September at 9.00 am - 5.00 pm

Wood Works Gallery - Bungendore NSW

 

Hand-crafted wattle woods turned or cut into unique Australian gifts and world class blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) furniture will be featured at this award-winning gallery on National Wattle Day.

Click here to check out these beautiful blackwood pieces - from benches, chairs, coffee tables to mirrors, bowls, chef platters, serving trays, chopping boards, trinket boxes and coasters http://bungendorewoodworks.com.au/timbers/blackwood

Blackwood bowl - Courtesy of Bungendore Wood Works Gallery

Blackwood bowl
Photo Courtesy of the Wood Works Gallery Bungendore NSW

 

 Casterton Sydney

Date and time: Sunday 1 September 2 pm -4 pm

by The Hills Shire Council/Boronia Tours

Register here

Location

Field 4 Fred Caterson Reserve

Castle Hill, NSW 2154 View Map

Cootamundra

Cootamundra Wattle Time Fair and Street Parade - finished

Location:Fisher Park, 68-70 Murray Street, Cootamundra NSW 2590
Open: 31 Aug 2018 - 9 am - 4 pm  (Street Parade 12 NOON)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Community/Cootamundra-Wattle-Time-Fair-and-Street-Parade-1416314105295301/

 

Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden (south of Bateman's Bay)

Going for gold on Wattle Day in the Gardens - finished

Celebrate Wattle Day and the first day of spring at the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden this Sunday morning, September 1, at 11.00 am for our monthly free guided walk

Date and time: Sunday 1 September 11.00 am

Location: https://www.erbg.org.au/welcome-to-the-botanic-gardens/visiting-the-botanic-gardens/

Princes Highway
Batemans Bay
New South Wales
Telephone: (02) 4471 2544
Email: contact@erbg.org.au

 

Genfell (Weddin Shire central NSW)

'Less than half a days drive from Sydney and approximately two hours drive from Canberra, Dubbo, Bathurst and Wagga. 
Grenfell is the birthplace of Henry Lawson and steeped in history with much of its old world character maintained.'(http://www.grenfell.org.au/)


Seminar - 'Our national floral emblem' Mikla Lewis - finished

Mikla providing a comprehensive exploration of the many varieties of wattle, and its significance for Indigenous Australians, the early settlers and for contemporary Australia.

Date and time: Wed. 14 August commencing at 7.00 pm

Where: Grenfell Community Hub Conference Room

There will be a wattle seed-based supper and free wattle plants to take home.

 

Mikla Lewis Photo Courtesy of blog

'Blooming Wattles' walking tour will be held at 'Rosemont' - finished

Date and time: Friday 23 August from 9.30am -3.00pm
Mikla Lewis will also be hosting a 'Blooming Wattles Tour' at 'Rosemont' located on Holy Camp Road.

287 Holy Camp Road, Grenfell
9.30am to 3.00pm

Bookings required. To RSVP please contact Mikla Lewis on miklalewis@bigpond.com.

Great article in the Forbes Advocate about Mikla's upcoming tour and seminar - Click here

 

Lithgow

Join in a celebration of wattle to see in Lithgow's Spring - finished

A special morning tea, entertainment and talks - More info

Date and time: Monday, 2 September from 11am

"Once the wattles start to bloom and spring is nigh, it's the perfect time to celebrate Wattle Day at Lithgow Library with a special morning tea, entertainment and talks on Monday, September 2 from 11am.

To encourage care for the local natural environment, Lithgow Library with help from Lithgow and District Community Nursery, Lithgow and Oberon Landcare Association, Lithgow Beehive and Lithgow Tidy Towns are once again hosting a community event that is inclusive, educational and entertaining."

Speakers at the morning tea will be Central Tablelands Local Land Services senior land services officer Huw Evans and Carol Proberts, who will be talking about wattles, birds, butterflies and the local fauna.

There will also be songs and entertainment. For more information contact the Lithgow Library on 63529100.

Queanbeyan

Wattle Day Walk - finished

Date and time: Sunday 1 September from 10.00 am -1.00 pm
Googong Landcare  invites you to join us on a walk on the Eastern Escarpment
Meeting at Wright Park, on Old Sydney Road past the Council Pound in East Queanbeyan.
Bill Willis will lead the day  talking about flora and fauna.
This is a slow to moderate paced walk with grades, with regular stops, usually following tracks.
Walkers should have fair fitness, wear hat and closed shoes, (QLC to provide sunscreen), and bring your own food and water.

Queensland

Mt Morgan

Date and time: 8.30 am Saturday 7 September 2019 - on today!

Mt Morgan Wattle Fun Day
Mount Morgan Rail Complex, 1 Railway Pde, Mount Morgan.

Market stalls, children's amusement rides, face painting, Live performances by talented local artists, Performances by local childcare group Red Frog, food vendors, information displays and demonstrations, Wattle Day Award.

 

Mt Morgan Wattle Festival

Photo courtesy of MMPAD

For more information, contact MMPAD on 4938 2312.

More information: https://www.queensland.com/en-au/event/mount-morgan-wattle-fun-day-and-village-markets

 

Tasmania

Hobart

Date and time: 10.30 am Tuesday 27th August - finished
Morning tea at Karadi Aboriginal Corporation
4 Rothesay Circle Goodwood,N Hobart

Date and time: 5.00 - 7.00 pm Friday 30 August 2019
Wattle Day information stall
Goodwood Wake-Up Spring Festival

Claremont Spring Flower Show - on this weekend

Date and time:
1pm -  5pm on the Saturday 7 September
10 am - 4 pm on the Sunday 8 September
Claremont Daffodil and Camella Show
Corner of Main road and Bilton Street Claremont (nw Hobart) 7011

 

Jenni M and the Shredding Betties crew will be doing a wattle day ride wearing yellow

Victoria

Top five wattle places in Victoria - ongoing

In honour of National Wattle Day on Sunday 1 September, Parks Victoria has picked five places across the state you can visit to see wattle.

With over 160 different species of wattle found in Victoria, and 14 of those found nowhere else in the world, you’re almost guaranteed to see their fluffy yellow blossoms if you get outdoors during winter and spring.

Sunday 1 September also marks the beginning of National Biodiversity Month, a time to promote the importance of protecting, conserving and improving biodiversity across the world.

Where are they?

Warrandyte State Park– Pound Bend Reserve
At the closest state park to Melbourne you can enjoy walking or picnicking amongst brilliant golden wattles including at least 15 different species native to the area. People have been travelling here to see wattles in bloom for generations!

Cape Conran Coastal ParkYeerung River

Out to the east of the state you’ll find several species of wattle alongside some gnarly serrated banksias, pretty melaleucas and paperbarks. Walk along the Estuary View Trail to experience a mix of different ecosystems, native plants and animals.

Greater Bendigo National Park – One Tree Hill

The regional city of Bendigo is surrounded by forest that comes alive with wattle and other flowers from August onwards. If you haven’t had your fill of wattle after visiting One Tree Hill, head closer to town and check out Solomon Gully Nature Conservation Reserve.

Lerderderg State Park - Lerderderg campground area

Just over an hour north west of the Melbourne CBD is this remote park, which turns on a surprising display of colour. Check out wattles, peas, heath and orchids.

Wattle Park

Visitors can enjoy a blend of historic buildings, picnic grounds, walking tracks and natural bush spread over 55 hectares. Towering gums, beautiful wattles and native grasses make it an easy metropolitan escape.

High resolution images available to download here.

Colac Botanic Garden


https://www.colacotway.vic.gov.au
Wattle Colac
Date and time: Sep 1, 2019 - Friends of Colac Botanic Gardens - Wattle Day Walk 2:00 - 3:00 pm
Location: Fyans Street, Colac, Colac 3250  View Map

Glenelg

National Wattle Day at Kurrawonga – Sunday 1st September - finished

Kurrawonga will once again be hosting an event for National Wattle day to celebrate everything wattle!

Wattle Day at Kurrawonga Vic. 2019

Australia’s national floral emblem is the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha), as seen in the background of our poster below! From 9.00am – 2.00pm (Vic time) on Sunday 1st September, we will be cooking wattle-seed damper over the campfire, doing some weedy wattle removal, as well as sharing any stories, poems, flowers or other wattle-related items.

If you are interested in coming along, please email your RSVP to Kurrawonga caretaker Nicole, or phone 0414 778 309.

Melbourne

Hurstbridge Wattle Festival - finished
Sunday 25 August 2019

"The Hurstbridge Wattle Festival, is a significant cultural event for Melbournians that has its roots firmly planted in our early rail history.  
The Victorian Folk Music Club celebrating Wattle Day at Hurstbridge on 25 August 2019
Photo courtesy of Don Fraser

It’s a joyous celebration of our heritage, environment and community. Festival goers view the wattles in a blaze of glory along the Diamond Creek as they approach the township of Hurstbridge.
As visitors stroll the main street and the various Festival precincts, they enjoy a fabulous and extensive array of entertainment, events and activities for all the family, many of them free."

 

Wattle Day at Yarran Dheran Nature Reserve, Mitcham, Melbourne- finished

Date and time:  Saturday 31 August 2019 10:30 am - 12:00 pm

What: Celebrate Wattles in this informative session led by Mart Hagel and then join a guided walk around Yarran Dheran in Mitcham to identify some of our wattles.
Where: Yarran Dheran Nature Reserve, 1 Ashburton Drive, Mitcham, Victoria

For further information and RSVP click here.

The Wurundjeeri people named Yarran Dheran, meaning 'wattle gully'.
Later settlers also noted the proliferation of wattles in the area, naming Wattle Valley Road.
Come and celebrate these much loved plants at Yarran Dheran win this informative session led by Mart Hagel. Learn about Australian wattles and their uses; focus on identifying features of indigenous and weedy wattles in Yarran Dheran and join him in a guided walk aroung Yarran Dheran to Identify some of our wattles

https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/celebrate-australian-wattle-day-at-yarran-dheran-nature-reserve-tickets-65163856850

 

Date and time: Saturday 7th September 11 am - 10.30 pm

Wattle Day Celebration at Ringwood Melbourne - on today

Photo Trevor Voake

Date and time: Saturday 7th September

Organised by Victorian Folk Music Club and the Traditional Social Dance Association of Victoria

A day to celebrate all things Australian from verse, singing, dancing and music workshops to a family Bush Dance at night.

Where: Senior Citizen’s Hall, Laurence Grv. Ringwood East Melbourne

Traditional 'folk' actvities from  verse, singing, dancing and music workshops to a family Bush Dance at night.

 

Western Australia

Dalwallinu - starts Sat 7 Sept

25th Annual Wattle Week Festival - "The very popular annual Wattle Week festival is back for 2019!

Sat 7th Sep 2019 to Fri 13th Sep 2019

There are 185 species of Acacia (Wattles), the largest number to be found anywhere in the world, within 100km’s of Dalwallinu

Dalwallinu is situated on the Great Northern Highway, 254km’s North of Perth.
The Dalwallinu Shire includes the five towns of Buntine, Dalwallinu, Kalannie, Pithara & Wubin.

Visit the Dalwallinu shire for a fabulous week of assorted activities.
Enjoy wonderful country hospitality and join in one of the many events ranging from a unique bush breakfast, kids fun in the park, half/full day tours, sundowners, live entertainment and more.
See the program for further details and contact information.