Letter 7 ~ Wattle Day

Since the time of Federation, Wattle has been associated with Australia and has been Australia's national floral emblem since 1988.

The first National Wattle Day was celebrated on 1 September 1910 in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. The day was significant in being the first organised demonstration on a defined day across a number of States ever witnessed in Australia. Prior to this, Wattle Day had been celebrated in different States on different dates, depending on when their local wattle bloomed most profusely.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Wattle Day was celebrated with great enthusiasm. The streets of Melbourne were adorned with decorations made from wattle flowers, and parades were held where people carried banners and wore clothing with the wattle emblem. Musicians played music inspired by the wattle, people sang songs in praise of the wattle and poets recited verses in its honour. Wattle trees were planted in school grounds and lessons included botany.

This all signified the importance of wattle to Australia's heritage.

Wattle had been sent in letters to soldiers during World War 1 and many wore the sprig of wattle on their uniforms as a symbol of their connection to home. Sprigs of wattle and Wattle Day badges were sold to raise money for organisations such as the Red Cross.

For many in Melbourne during the 1920s, Wattle Day was more than just a celebration of the natural beauty of their country. It was a way of connecting with their heritage, celebrating their national identity, and paying tribute to those who had fought for their country's freedom.

As part of the Australian Bicentennial Celebrations, the golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) was officially announced as Australia's national floral emblem on National Wattle Day in 1988 by the Governor-General of Australia, Bill Hayden.

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