Wattle Day

The first of September, Wattle Day, is a day to celebrate not only Australia’s native fauna, but also Australia’s national identity and way of life.

When Wattle Day first commenced in Australia in the early twentieth century, it was a commemoration of Australianism, at a time when much of the symbology of our nation belonged to the British Empire (such as Empire Day celebrations and the like). The wattle was often celebrated in poetry and song, as an expression of a new culture belonging to a new nation.

In those earlier times, Wattle Day was seen as a way to celebrate our country’s heritage, as part of our own unique identity. Although it was widely celebrated by hundreds of thousands of people wearing twigs of wattle, this popularity could sometimes lead to the inadvertent damaging of the wattle trees themselves. So, perhaps it would be appropriate nowadays to use symbolic representations of the wattle instead.

On this day, wear a wattle brooch, wattle badge, or just green and gold ribbons to commemorate Australia’s culture and heritage.

When a British poet babbles
Of the beauty of the spring,
Quite a list of third-rate blossoms
He must have upon his string;
Those whom Fate gives nothing better
May for gush on these have room;
But Australians never need them,
When the wattle is in bloom!
— Alex Wethered, in “When the Wattle is in Bloom”, 1910.

Far-flung fragrance all are breathing,
Filling all the free, fresh air!
Creek and gully, bushland wreathing,
Crown us, too, with beauty rare.
Shall not we the wattle wear?
— Ellie Wemyss, in “Golden Wattle, Australia’s Emblem”, 1910.

There was the grove of wattles. How they pressed
Plume over plume along the crest
Of the low hill, while at our very feet
Rolled luminous green waves of young September wheat
— Agnes L. Storrie, in “The Grove of Wattles”, 1909.

Hail! thou bloom of lovely spring,
Golden emblem of delight,
Entrancing thoughts around thee cling,
Closing Austral’s winter night.
— W. A. L., in “Ode to the Wattle Blossom”, 1889.

You may sing of the Shamrock, the Thistle, and Rose,
Or the three in a bunch if you will;
But I know of a country that gathered all those,
And I love the great land where the Waratah grows,
And the Wattle bough blooms on the hill.
— Henry Lawson, in “Waratah and Wattle”, 1905.


  1. Coincidentally, this year Wattle Day falls on Fathers’ Day, so “Happy Fathers’ Day” to all the good dads out there.

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