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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 / 2020 'Week of the Wattle' around Australia

2020 Week of the Wattle

 

Australia's Week of the Wattle

Sat. 29 Aug - Sun. 6 Sept 2020

Wattle is a symbol of unity and resilience
- we need both to get through these difficult Covid-19  times.

A number of planned wattle festivals and wattle-themed markets and library activities around Australia, such as the Hurstbridge Wattle Festival in the town of Hurstbridge, Victoria, the Wattle Festival at Dalwallinu WA and Australian Wattle Day at the Old Bus Depot Markets in Kingston Canberra have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 virus to ensure the safety and well being of the community.

However other events are happening still, but in a different way.  For example, in Victoria Wattle Day Folk dancing (Victorian Folk Music Club) and the launch of artworks created for the 'The Acacia Project' have gone online.

 

Lighting up for National Wattle Day

Around Australia, national institutions and city councils are exploring other ways to celebrate this national day. For the first time, for example, a number are lighting up landmarks in shades of yellow to wish everyone a Happy Wattle Day…at a safe distance.

National institutions such as the National Gallery of Australia, Parliament House and the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra are opening up their national collections via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram  for us to see what wattle is there.

Let us know about your Wattle day activities and events if you would like us to list them below. Just email our with the details is a simple format for this page.

The following listing is by State/Territory in alphabetical order.

Australian Capital Territory

       Canberra

New South Wales

Bungendore

Queanbeyan


Queensland

Brisbane

Russell Island

Caboolture

Mt Morgan Rochampton - Wattle Fun Day cancelled

Townsville

Tasmania

        Hobart


Victoria

Australian Capital Territory

Canberra

Australia's national institutions are joining  together to light up Australia's spring capital to welcome in the spring and wish everyone across Australia a 'Happy Wattle Day'.

Wattle is a symbol of unity and resilience - we need both to get through these difficult Covid-19 times.

Australia’s spring capital is lighting up Gold, Gold, Gold!

Enjoy the Golden Walk from Bowen Place, across Kings Avenue Bridge up to the Carillon as they light up in yellow courtesy of the National Capital Authority.

Take the best photographs of these Canberra landmarks as they are bathed in yellow light to wish you a Happy Wattle Day.

Telstra Tower is lighting up in yellow courtesy of Telstra

Australia’s national institutions are joining together to create a golden glow in the night sky – just like blooming wattle in our parks and reserves during the day.

 

Bowen Place, Kings Avenue Bridge & the National Carillon - courtesy of the National Capital Authorirty

Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre

Questacon - The Ian Potter Foundation Technology Learning Centre (Deakin)

The National Carillon

The Royal Australian Mint (Deakin)

The Shine Dome – courtesy of the Australian Academy of Science

 

National Arboretum Canberra - wattle walks

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

Springtime Wattle Walks (60 minutes each)

Click here: https://www.stickytickets.com.au/9ef3m/wattle_walks__29_august__1_september.aspx
Saturday, 29 August at 11.00 am and 2 pm

Tuesday 1 September at 11.00 am and 2 pm
Meet at the Village Centre

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.

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

You will need to register on the Arboretum's website. Click here

 

‘Grow your own Golden Wattle’ workshop and walk Sunday 30 August  10:30 am - 12 pm

Register and pay $15 here

Meet at the STEP Shed National Arboretum Canberra


Wattle Corner - Village Centre – National Arboretum Canberra


Date and time: Saturday 29 Aug. and Sunday, 30 Aug. at 9.00 am to 4.00 pm

The Wattle Day Association is hosting its annual  'Wattle Corner' at the NAC Village Centre.
We will be showcasing blooming wattles in in our ‘Wattle in a Bottle’ display.

Mt Taylor Wattle Walk 

Acacia penninervia

Acacia penninervis is one of the wattles you will see
Photo: Kathy Eyles

When: 2 pm Sunday 30 August 2020

Please RSVP Sunday 23 August  to Mt Taylor Parkcare by email to book your spot as numbers will be limited.

E: mttaylorparkcaregroup@gmail.com

 

Government House Canberra 

A ceremonial planting of a Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) and a presentation of a basket of wattle to Their Excellencies will take place to celebrate National Wattle Day as students from Turner Primary School sing 'The Wattle Blooms' composed by Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley.

A presentation of a basket of Wattle to their Excellencies on behalf of Australia's school children.

Basket presentation His Excellency David Hurley 2019

Golden Wattles (pictured below) were presented to Quentin Bryce in 2013 by the President Terry Fewtrell of the Wattle Day Association and at nine years of age have grown tall at Government House. Members of the association, Florence Fahy and Suzette Searle were delighted to see it in full flower in September last year

 

 

Buy your own Golden Wattle - while stocks last

GreenGold Nursery - long-time supporter of National Wattle Day is one of the few nurseries in Canberra that carries Australia's national floral emblem - Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha).

Shop 12
O’Hanlon Place
Federation Square
Nicholls ACT 2913

Phone:
02 6230 2000

Website: http://www.greengoldnursery.com.au/

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/greengoldfedsquare/

Golden Wattle O'Malley 2019

 

Wattles - so many for your garden and property

Cool Country Natives provides a wide range of acacias, including endemic species, that are suitable for planting in backyards and on properties. Our sizes range from tube stock to pots with many bird and insect attracting species available.

Cool Country Natives

5A Beltana Road, Pialligo

ACT 2609

02 6257 6666

Species available at the moment:

Acacia acinacea

Acacia Burgundy Cascade

Acacia dealbata

Acacia fimbriata

Acacia glaucoptera

Acacia iteaphylla

Acacia longifolia

Acacia parramattensis

Acacia pravissima

Acacia ulicifolia

Acacia strict

 

Australian National Botanic Gardens

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

11.00 am – 12.00 pm daily, 29 August–6 September — Meet at the clock near the bridge

Wander through the wattles, the genus Acacia, while they are in full bloom. Join a Volunteer Guide to hear about 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, and enjoy the first signs of spring.

Tours are available for of up to 10 people from two household groups maximum to maintain physical distancing in the Gardens.

No bookings required.
https://parksaustralia.gov.au/botanic-gardens/do/whats-on/wattle-walks/

 

Wattle Window displays

Checkout the fabulous wattle window displays at the Parliament House Gift Shop. The displays at the Botanical Bookshop (Australian National Botanic Gardens) and Manuka Woolshed at the Manuka shops are also pictured.

Parliament House Gift shop 26 Aug 2020

Parliament House Gift Shop
Photo: Sally Kimber

Botanical Bookshop ANBG Aug 2019

Botanical Bookshop

 Woolshed Window display 2019

Manuka Woolshed

 

National Museum of Australia

The famous Dargie portrait of Queen Elizabeth ll in her wattle dress will be on display from 28 August for a month
in the in the Friends Lounge

Dargie Wattle Queen 1954


Virtually yours at the National Gallery of Australia

The Australian National Gallery Canberra is sharing wattle-themed paintings and prints from the  national collection with us all on National Wattle Day via social media (Facebook and Instagram).

 

The Wattle Tree by Dorrit Black c. 1933 NGA

The Wattle Tree by Dorrit Black (1933?) Courtesy of the National Gallery of Australia

 

If you follow instagram or Facebook these are the links to the National Gallery of Australia.

https://www.instagram.com/nationalgalleryaus

https://www.facebook.com/NationalGalleryofAustralia/

 

National Portrait Gallery via social media

Australian ceramicist, Thanacoupie, whose totem name means 'wattle flower' will be featured on the gallery's social media. 

https://www.portrait.gov.au/portraits/2004.47/thanacoupie/

 

Museum of Democracy in Old Parliament House

Great for the kids! The MoAD On Air PlayUp team will be celebrating National Wattle Day on the On Air PlayUp episode on Tuesday 1 September.

 

The Australian War Memorial - Facebook post

The Australian War Memorial will be posting a wattle-related item from its national collection on its Facebook for National Wattle Day.
What will it be?

 

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

Tuesday 1 September 2020 10  am and 1.30 pm (by invitation only)

Albert Hall on Commonwealth Avenue
Guest speaker: Mr Terry Fewtrell - Wattle Day Association Inc.

Terry's Wattle Day Welcome speech is here for use at other Australian Citizenship ceremonies.

Terry fewtrell 2019 Citizenship Ceremony Albert Hall

 

 

New South Wales

Bungendore

Wood Works Gallery

Wattle in wooden vases 2019


Date and time: Sat. 29 Aug to Tues 1 September  
at 9.00 am - 5.00 pm

Wood Works Gallery - Bungendore NSW

 

Golden wattle marquetry table Bungendore Wood Works

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.

Blackwood pieces - from benches, chairs, coffee tables to mirrors, bowls, chef platters, serving trays, chopping boards, trinket boxes and coasters will be available.

Queanbeyan

Monaro Street and the relatively  new shared path/pedestrian bridge will be lit in yellow all week from Mon. 31 Aug. to Sun. 6 Sept. courtesy of the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council

Queensland

Brisbane - lighting up for National Wattle Day for the first time

Monday 31 August - the eve of National Wattle Day Brisbane is lighting up in yellow to invite all of us to celebrate National Wattle Day on Tuesday 1 September !

Eve of National Wattle Day

Monday 31 August - the eve of National Wattle Day Brisbane is lighting up in yellow to invite all of us to celebrate National Wattle Day on Tuesday 1 September !

This Light Up is organised in collaboration with  the Wattle Day Association Inc. (Brisbane member Mike Gilmour)
Venues:

Victoria Bridge, Brisbane City.

Reddacliff Place, Brisbane City.

Story Bridge, Kangaroo Point.

Tropical Display Dome, Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha

 

 National Wattle Day - Tues 1 September 

9.30 am - Enjoy a morning walk through the wattles led by a botanist through the Mt Coot-tha Botanical Gardens, to be followed  by coffee at the Café to hear about the history of the Queensland Wattle Day League.

Kurilpa Bridge will be lighting up on the evening of 1 September, courtesy Queensland State Government.

 

Capalaba (s e Brisbane) 

Hosted by IndigiScapes Centre

The IndigiScapes Centre is Redland City Council's environment education centre.
Situated on 14.5 hectares of serene natural bushland, IndigiScapes offers native botanical gardens, a native nursery, bush trails, a nature playground and café specialising in local cuisine with a bush tucker twist

Tues 1 September - Follow the yellow wattle path to the IndigiScapes entrance on National Wattle Day and learn more about the variety of wattle species native to our Redlands Coast. Explore the bush walking trails to find some of the original atrium poles from the Centre, which have been upcycled and now feature botanical art by Louise Saunders and other Queensland Wildlife Society Artists.
Louise is currently working on creating a colourful entry to the Centre and will be at IndigiScapes on 1 September to present a watercolour wattle design workshop

More info: Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/d41d8cd9/national-wattle-day/1009101492877403/

 

Russell Island

15 High Street

Wattle Day celebrations hosted by Canaipa Nursery and Tea Garden

Celebrating Wattle Day
Music 🎶
Free Sausage Sizzle
plus giveaways
And the lucky door prize!
11am Island Voices
Midday Sausage Sizzle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/canaipa-nursery-and-tea-garden/wattle-day-celebrations/623590445231861/

Caboolture Hub

The Caboolture Hub will be lighting up in yellow on the eve and the night of National Wattle Day on Monday 31 August and 1 September - courtesy of the Moreton Bay Regional Council.

 

Townsville lighting up for the whole week of the wattle!


Tuesday 1 Sept

The Strand Fountain (below) at the end of Oxley Street in Townsville will be golden.

Strand Fountain Oxley St Townsville

 
 Townsville City Council is lighting up the:

Townsville Sign
Wharton Reef Lighthouse (on Palmer Street)
Victoria Bridge
George Roberts Bridge
Bulletin Square
Little Fletcher Bridge
Central Park Boardwalk

Tues. 1 Sept.

Unique Unicorns Early Childhood Development Centre will have wattle crafts and sing-along wattle songs

 Unique Unicorns Childcare Centre Townsville

 

Tasmania

Hobart (1-6 Sept)

Hobart is lighting up gold! The Wattle Day Association in collaboration with Hobart City Council is lighting up Hobart landmarks (The Cardinal Lights on Franklin Wharf, and Elizabeth Mall, Railway Roundabout Fountain and Franklin Square)  for the Week of the Wattle (1-6 September 2020).

 

The five Cardinal Lights along Lady Franklin Wharf Hobart
were golden to welcome in the first week of spring. Photo: James Alexander


Victoria

 Online Tues 1 Sept. 'The Acacia Project' Tues. 1 September (National Wattle Day) 

'The Acacia Project' will be launched on 1 September via ZOOM

The Acacia Project

Illustrating the Rare, Endangered and Unusual Acacias of the RBGM

Talking Online with Pam McDiarmid

Tuesday 1 September at 4pm

Friends RBGV $5 Non-Members $10

https://rbgfriendsmelbourne.tidyhq.com/public/schedule/events/30674

Bookings are essential to receive the Zoom link.

Commonly known as Wattle, Acacia is the largest genus of vascular plants in Australia with almost all the known 1070 species occurring naturally on our continent. Our FRBGM Botanical Illustrators, the Whirlybirds, established The Acacia Project in 2019 to document and depict the most rare, endangered and unusual of these trees or shrubs. Twenty four artworks have now been produced by these talented artists and specimens collected to be donated to the National Herbarium of Victoria. 

Aptly on National Wattle Day, Pam McDiarmid, creator and manager of this highly valued project, will talk to us about the process that’s been involved in bringing this project to life and celebrate these fire-resistant shrubs.

Audrey Baillie Acacia

Acacia argyrophylla by Audrey Baillie


Online Sat 5 Sept. - virtual bush dancing courtesy of the Victorian Folk Music Club

Wattle Day is a day to celebrate all things Australian. To stimulate an interest in music the Victorian Folk Music Club Inc. is presenting a day of music and dance related workshops and sessions on Saturday 5th September. 

Sessions are free, online and each lasts an hour. Participants can attend any or as many as you wish, just register interest at: 

https://events.humanitix.com/vfmc-wattle-day 

A virtual bush dance will be held in the evening, and there will also be activities of interest to children. For information see www.vfmc.org.au

 

 

Top five wattle places in Victoria

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.

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 Park – Yeerung 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.