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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;

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

Wattle Day Association Inc.
(founded in 1998)

Entire article can be downloaded here.



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 / 2017 Wattle Day events around Australia

2017 Wattle Day events around Australia

'Week of the Wattle' celebrations in 2017



National Arboretum Canberra

11.00 am Friday 1 September - meeting at the Village Centre for a wattle walk led by Jennie Widdowson from the Friends of the National Arboretum

Celebrate Wattle Day by joining an experienced guide to discover the rich variety of wattles in bloom in our Southern Tablelands Ecosystems Park (STEP)

More info: Click here


Australian National Botanic Gardens

Wattle Week Walks

1 September – 10 September; 11.00 am

Hear stories and learn about the diversity of Australian wattles (Acacia) with a friendly guide on a free Wattle Week walk.
Walks depart from the Visitor Centre.

More info: Click here

Also at the Australian National Botanic Gardens:

Paint an Acacia in Watercolour - with botanical artist Cheryl Hodges

Wednesday 6 September, 9.30am - 4.00pm

Create a realistic painting of a spring flowering Acacia specimen from the Gardens. Observe and draw the plant, discuss composition, tone and form, then achieve detail with dry-brush work in this workshop. Beginner to intermediate level.

Cost: $100 – bookings essential


Australian Citizenship Ceremony with Wattle Welcome speech by Terry Fewtrell (President - Wattle Day Association)

Thursday 7 September

10 am and 1.30 pm Albert Hall

Commonwealth Avenue Canberra

Click here for a link to the ACT Australian Citizenship ceremonies for 2017


Black Mountain Wattle Walk

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 9:30 am to 12 noon
Belconnen Way entry to Black Mountain Nature Reserve, just before Caswell Drive turnoff (look for the balloons).

Enjoy a Walk among the Wattles on Black Mountain with local plant conservationist.
Let’s learn to identify 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.

More info: Click here


New South Wales


Wattle Walk through Peel Native Flora and fauna Reserve

Sunday 3 September 11 am - 2 pm

All welcome who have an  interest in Peel Native Flora and Fauna Reserve and who would like to learn more about some of our local wattles.

Contact: Marita Sydes Mobile: 0429979780

Please meet at the entrance to the reserve (on Wellington St Peel, opposite the entrance to Fitzroy Street) at 11am.  Peel is about 20 minutes north of Bathurst on the road to Wattle Flat and Sofala - about 15kms. Make sure you wear appropriate clothing, sturdy footwear and a hat. Central Tablelands Landcare will supply a cuppa after the walk. Participants would be welcome to bring a packed lunch to have after the walk.

If you are interested in attending please RSVP to Marita on email or 04269 979 780 as Central Tablelands Landcare will be organising a late morning tea to have after the walk.

More info: Click here 



Bourke Public School Wattle day activities in classrooms and a special Wattle Day Assembly

Check out their Webpage


Miss Wattle 2017 Maddison Baker

Image result for Cootamundra miss wattle 2017

Among the Wattle:
Maddison Baker is looking forward to representing her home town as Miss Wattle 2017.
Picture: Jennette Lees

Courtesy of the Cootamundra Herald


Weddin/ Lachlan Landcare Annual Wattle Walk
Tuesday August 22 in the beautiful surrounds of ‘Rosemont’ on the Holy Camp Road in Grenfell.

The Wattle Walk will commence at 9.30 am and run through till approximately 2.30 pm.

This is a great opportunity to learn about Wattles and their unique role they play in the environment as well as the valuable production benefits gained by planting wattles for livestock, and their significant importance for wildlife.

This event is perfect for those who take a keen interest in our local environment and a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors.

This is a great opportunity to learn about Wattles and their unique role they play in the environment. - Mikla Lewis - Weddin/Lachlan Landcare

This event is free of charge to members of the public but please RSVP no later than Friday August 18 for catering purposes.

For further information about this year’s Wattle Walk or to RSVP please contact Mikla Lewis on 0499 199 016 or email .



12 Annual Wattle Day Luncheon

Friday 1st September, 2017
Guest Speaker: Maria Hitchcock
Topic: National Wattle Day – The Next 20 Years
Venue: Le Village Restaurant Hunters Hill, NSW 2110


Wattle Walk - Young

Saturday 2 September 9 am - 1.30 pm

Blackguard Gully, Whiteman Ave, Young

Entry Fee: FREE

Contact Person: Mikla Lewis

Contact Number: 0499 199 016

Learn about wattles and their unique role in the environment - the valuable production benefits gained by planting wattles for livestock, and their importance for wildlife. 

Enjoy a leisurely nature walk among the wattles, yellow box, red gums and wildflowers found at the Box Gum Grassy Woodland site, a threatened Ecological community 

Includes morning tea and lunch

More info: Click here


Mount Morgan Wattle Day and Village Markets

Saturday 2 September, 8.30am - 2pm

The Mount Morgan Wattle Day and Village Markets – a family fun day at the Historical Railway Complex.
Market stalls, free wattle seedlings, live entertainment, bush poetry, amusement rides, activities and much more.
Celebrate Australia's Wattle Day!

1 Railway Parade
Mount Morgan
Queensland, Australia 4714
Rockhampton Area

The Mount Morgan Wattle Day and Village Markets – a family fun day at the Historical Railway Complex.
Market stalls, free wattle seedlings, live entertainment, bush poetry, amusement rides, activities and much more.

Phone: 07 4938 2312




Hurstbridge Wattle Festival

Sunday 27 August

"The Hurstbridge Wattle Festival, is a significant cultural event for Melbournians that has its roots firmly planted in our early rail history.   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.

Western Australia


Annual Wattle Week Festival

Saturday 2 - Friday 8 September 2017

The annual Wattle Week Festival comes to Dalwallinu again this September. There are daily activities for all to enjoy. The fun starts with children's activities in the park, combined church services, family quiz night, farming tour, barbecues at the caravan park and many other activities along with wildflowers galore.

Brochure - click here


September is Swap-A-Weedy-Wattle month!

  Green Skills Inc’s Albany office are adding a different twist to National Wattle Day this year.

For a limited time only during the month of September, if you remove invasive eastern states wattle species from your garden,
Green Skills will give you some FREE local replacements!

Invasive eastern states wattles look beautiful, but taken together they are the worst environmental weeds in the Albany area – threatening our unique and irreplaceable bushland throughout the southern region, which is part of the only internationally recognised biodiversity hotspot in Australia.

For more info.

Contact: Rosie Smith
Weedy Wattle Coordinator

Green Skills Inc

38 Graham Street, Centennial Park, Albany, 6330

phone:   0401 578002

             08 9842 1334



Swap-a-wattle Albany WA 2017

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