Wattle Day 1st September

Wattle is a powerful symbol of Australia. Its golden blossoms come from this land and speak of and to its people and place. Wattle predates us all and because of its presence in this land for millions of years, it has welcomed us all and unites us all. It is a bridge between ancient and modern, multicultural Australia. Wattle welcomes the spring, and is among the first plants to regenerate after fire, reminding us of the importance of renewal as it paints our national colours across our landscapes.

Wattle has a very special place in the Australian story. It was used for aeons by indigenous people and later became a rally point for the Europeans who first identified with this land as home. It was seen as a symbol of belonging to and identifying with the great south land. Today it is Australiaís floral emblem and is featured on the national Coat of Arms. Wattle is a marker in the life of our nation. It blooms in all parts of the country and all through the year. Somewhere in this vast land there is always wattle in bloom. It colours the great backdrop of Australian life, the bush. In spring it is particularly abundant, welcoming the return of warmer weather and reminding us of the great resilience and renewal of the native landscape. It is a symbol that has power in unifying the nation and all who share it. Let wattle be a symbol of our common commitment as Australians.

Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle) has been Australia’s national floral emblem since 1988.

Brooke Prentis:
The wattle is our national symbol. Australia’s national floral emblem is the wattle, the Golden Wattle or Acacia pycnantha or Mirnu (Kaurna name) to be exact.
1 September was designated as a national day in 1992, although without a national public holiday, and this predates January 26 as a national public holiday in every State and Territory which was designated in 1994. Today as I look at the wattle blooming, as I reflect on National Wattle Day, and welcome Season of Creation, I am reminded of survival – the wattle was here with Aboriginal peoples for thousands of years and is still here today. Wattle is resilient and can withstand drought, wind, and bushfires.
There are 1,210 species of wattle in Australia. Over one hundred of these wattle species are important to Aboriginal peoples for food, medicine, and tools including the boomerang. And it isn’t just the flower that is useful but the whole plant – the gum, roots, bark, wood, ash, and seeds. The Witchetty Bush / Acacia kempeana / witjuti (Arabana name) is where the witchetty grubs can be found. For the Noongar peoples we come into the season of Djilba, the season of the blooms of yellow and cream flowers usually – August and September. For the Garigal peoples, when the wattle blooms it signals the mullet are running. For the coffee lovers, add 1 tablespoon of ground and roasted wattleseed, of the Elegant wattle / Acacia victoriae / Thambarli (Banyjima name) to a cup of steamed milk and you have a caffeine free, low GI, high protein alternative for your morning cup of coffee.  
Some say the wattle could be a sign of unity.  Unity is not sameness. You can’t have unity without diversity. Maybe if you look upon the wattle and understand its uses and versatility, its resilience and survival, and the many different species including the common name, botanical name, and Aboriginal nations name, we may be able to catch that glimpse of unity and the interconnectedness of all of creation. 
Maybe this year the wattle will help us to build relationship, as we celebrate unity in diversity, as we understand Jubilee for the Earth holds together lament, grief, rest, healing and hope, and that we experience all creation held together on Country – Country being all lands, waters, sky, trees, plants, animals, birds, fish, mountains, rocks and all peoples. May the wattle call us to advocate and fight for God’s beautiful earth, to take action for creation and climate justice, and live out the teaching of many Aboriginal Elders to “Care for country and country will care for you”.  


Colouring the bushland with yellow blaze
You warm the last of winter’s days
Bending with your weight of gold
The promise of springtime you unfold.

We love to see you wattle tree
You warm our days with your golden rays
Your fluffy flowers smell so sweet
It’s you we sing of and it’s you we greet.

You’ve watched our country from the start
You’ve brightened many a weary heart
The pioneer farmer on his own
The tired drover going home.
(repeat chorus)

Source: From the CD: ‘Across the Blue Mountains’
by Jim Low with Chloe and Jason Roweth recorded in 2013

John Williamson, Cootamundra Wattle song on Youtube

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Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon). This blog may be a help to people planning worship services.
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