Alternative Name(s): Button

'Wattle Day for Children' badge, made by A.W. Patrick, North Fitzroy, Melbourne, circa 1910-1919.

The first 'national' Wattle Day was celebrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on 1 September 1910. Wattle had become a symbol of Australia with the approach of Federation. It was particularly promoted by the Australian Natives' Association, established in Melbourne in 1871 as a non-partisan and non-sectarian friendly society for Australian-born, white men seeking to shape Australia's nationhood and identity. The ANA was a strong advocate for Federation and became an advocate for White Australia. It was a staunch supporter of trade protection and immigration restriction, and Prime Minister Alfred Deakin was a member. Public support for Wattle Day peaked during World War I, when it was a potent symbol of home for military personnel serving overseas, and a means of raising money for organisations such as the Red Cross. Beautifully designed Wattle Day badges as well as wattle sprigs were sold. The influence of Wattle Day waned as the 20th century progressed, but in 1992 the Governor-General declared 1 September National Wattle Day.

Physical Description

Circular pressed metal badge with a plastic cover on the obverse, a metal back, and an attached pin. Text and an illustration in red, white, yellow, green, light turquoise and turquoise ink appears on the obverse. Two banners with printed text in red ink appear in front of an illustration of branches of wattle branches on a light turquoise background. This is enclosed within a blue circular border. Off-white text appears on the bottom rim of the badge, within the turquoise border. The badge is discoloured and soiled. The reverse of the badge is tarnished, and the original silver colour has partly worn away.

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