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1984, 1988 & 1992

Australia's national colours of green and gold - 1984

In 1984 Australia's national colours were proclaimed to be green and gold. The gold represents the wattle blossom.

This settled a long dispute as to whether the national colours should be red, white and blue, or green or blue together with gold.

The precise green and yellow references chosen are:

  • Green: PANTONE®348C
  • Gold: PANTONE®116C
According to historian Peter Sharpham, "the Green and Gold were first adopted by the 1899 Australian cricket team
and were only later adopted by the Australian Olympic movement and other team sports.He suggests two possible reasons why green and gold became the national sporting colours around the turn of the 20th century. Some Australian teams played in light and dark blue and even maroon but these colours were too closely linked with particular colonies (states). The adoption of a new set of colours represented an attempt to transcend intercolonial (interstate) rivalries. There are also strong suggestions that the colours green and gold were chosen because of their association with the Australian landscape, most notably the gum tree and the wattle."

Australia's national floral emblem - 1988

The proclamation of Golden Wattle, Acacia pycnantha as the national floral emblem, was made during Australia's Bicentennial Year on the 1 September 1988. This species was selected from the more than 1,000 Acacia species that occur naturally in Australia; partly because of its attractive appearance and economic importance to the leather industry in colonial Australia.


Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha)
Photo: ©S.D. Searle


National Wattle Day - 1992

Continuing confusion over the actual date of Wattle Day required a long-awaited agreement among the Commonwealth and States to unify Australia's Wattle Day as the First Day of Spring (1st September) in every State and Territory. This took place in 1992 at the urging of Maria Hitchcock, Ian McNamara, presenter and Executive Producer of ABC's radio program 'Australia All Over', and petitions signed by members of the Society for Growing Australian Plants'.

With the Centenary of Federation in 2001, Australians once again experienced strong feelings of nationhood. The Wattle Day Association is promoting a new Wattle Day oriented towards the future, encompassing positive virtues in the celebration of Australia and the Australian spirit. While appreciating the history of the Day, we can adapt its rich symbolism to the great issues Australia faces as a nation still seeking to find its place in the world and as a community-minded people within a global economy.