The Green and the Gold

On 1st September 1910 a story in the Sydney Morning Herald read:

“Let the wattle henceforth be a sacred charge to every Australian. Let us foster and protect and cherish it. Let us plant it in all our parks and reserves and pleasure grounds, so that we may make pilgrimages to its groves in blossom time. Let us give our schoolchildren wattle plants, and offer annual prizes for the best grown trees, that there may be no Australian who cannot link it with his childish memories….

To the native born Australian the wattle stands for home, country, kindred, sunshine, and love – every instinct that the heart most deeply enshrines.”

The story was about Wattle Day which was celebrated in Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne on that date for the first time. Wattle Day was the first organised commemorative day in Australia and was celebrated up until the beginning of World War 2.

There are more than 950 species of wattle in Australia, and almost all of them are only found here. The golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha, has been regarded as Australia’s national floral emblem for more than a century, but it wasn’t until the bicentenary in 1988 that it was officially proclaimed as the national flower of Australia.

The golden wattle is represented in Australia’s official colours of green and gold and appears on the Commonwealth Coat of Arms and on Order of Australia awards.

Australian Coat of Arms (adopted 1912)

Our first representative cricket team wore green and gold uniforms in 1899 and Australia’s sporting teams have been wearing the colours ever since.

Ponting belts another six

Ponting belts another six (Photo credit: nellistc)

Most wattles flower in Winter and Spring, brightening the bush with their gilded blossoms. These photos were all taken in Tasmania in September, 2012.

The Sydney Morning Herald was right – sunshine and love bloom on every tree.

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