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Wattle Day

The annual Wattle Day appeal was first celebrated in Melbourne on 5 September 1911. First held in Sydney on 1 September 1910, the day was intended to foster patriotic sentiment. Wattle Day was superimposed on former seasonal appreciations of the flower: the Field Naturalists' Club had long held outings to view wattle blooms around Melbourne, and a Wattle Club was granted railway concessions in 1899 for its excursions. The annual gathering of wattle blossom often saw the rampant destruction of trees at Diamond Creek, Heidelberg and Olinda. In 1912 it became associated in Melbourne with charitable collections, and women dressed in white sold blossoms and badges in city streets. From the 1920s it was managed by the Children's Welfare Association, with proceeds distributed through the Lord Mayor's Fund. In 1993 the Australian Republican Movement proposed to resurrect Wattle Day as a national holiday to replace the Queen's Birthday Weekend.

Andrew May