2023 marks the 35th anniversary of our official National floral emblem, with Wattle Day celebrations around the region tomorrow September 1.
Wattle Day celebrates the Golden Wattle as Australia’s national floral emblem. The wattle is resilient against Australia’s droughts, winds and bushfires and represents the spirit of the Australian people. The golden wattle has more recently been used as a symbol of remembrance and reflection, with a sprig worn on national days of mourning. It is now also considered to be a more inclusive way to celebrate our national spirit.
The first celebration of Wattle Day took place, on 1 September in 1910 in NSW, Victoria and South Australia. While different States and Territories have celebrated their own Wattle Day at different times of the year, depending on their own endemic species flowering time, it was not until 1992 that Governor-General Bill Hayden declared “1st September in each year shall be observed as ‘National Wattle Day’ throughout Australia and in the external Territories of Australia”.
There are a number of events being held across the New England to celebrate Wattle Day. In a conscious effort to celebrate more environmentally significant awareness days, Narrabri Shire Council has worked with the Narrabri Region Visitor Information Centre to hold a community event at the Visitor Information Centre.
Tourism and Cultural Resources Manager for Narrabri Shire Council, Scott Pollock, said that this is the first time Narrabri Shire Council has held a Wattle Day event.
“The Council has undertaken the initiative to support more environmentally and culturally significant days.”
“Our event is planned to be a relaxed community awareness opportunity to highlight the importance of native plants, especially the Wattle, to our environment.”
“We have two speakers organised for the event. Local elder, Steven Booby, will give a talk on the significance of the Wattle to the indigenous cultures of the area, while Aaron Bean, a horticulturalist employed by the Narrabri Council, will host a discussion on the benefits of using native species including Wattles in your garden.”
“The Council will have free Wattle tubestock to give away to encourage people to start planting more natives,” said Mr Pollock.
The Tourism Information Centre has sourced a range of Wattle products to showcase the diversity of uses for our national symbol and will recognise the day by planting a number of Wattle trees at the Centre. This community event will start from 10am at the Visitor Information Centre in Tibbereena St, concluding around 12pm.
Meanwhile Tamworth City Library has taken the opportunity to combine Wattle Day with the start of Adult Learners’ Week, to provide a talk by Wattle expert Maria Hitchcock. Ms Hitchcock, who is an Armidale local, was the tenacious driving force behind recognising the Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) as the Australian National Emblem, and for all States and Territories to recognise Wattle Day as a national day.
Ms Hitchcock began a campaign to have both the National Emblem and National Day gazetted in 1986. This was an arduous and extensive undertaking, which was finally recognised in 1988, when the ‘Golden Wattle’ was officially declared the national flower of our land. A formal ceremony, planting an official specimen of the Golden Wattle, was held in the National Botanic Gardens on 1st September at which Ms Hitchcock was a guest of the government. Her book, A Celebration of Wattle (2012 Rosenberg) outlines the history of the Wattle Day movement.
For more information, please contact the Narrabri Visitor Information Centre on 1800659931 of through their Facebook page Narrabri Region Visitor Information Centre
For more information on this Wattle Day experience, please contact the Tamworth City Library. This is a free event, but due to limited space tickets for this event can be booked on the TRC website.