About National Wattle Day

What is National Wattle Day?

National Wattle Day is a formally proclaimed national day on 1 September. Today it is a unifying day to celebrate Australia and being Australian.

We celebrate National Wattle Day because:

  • National Wattle Day includes everyone
  • Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is our national floral emblem. It is a symbol that comes directly from our land;
  • Golden Wattle is a unifying symbol of Australia and Australians. There is no other symbol that says so much about us and our land, Australia and
  • Wattles are Australian with great diversity (more than 1,073 described Acacia species) and resilience like our people;
  • 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; and
  • All wattles remind us of Australia and Australians.

Wattle and National Wattle Day are rich in descriptive and uplifting symbolism.

As said by Suzette Searle (2024) President of the Wattle Day Association Inc.:

‘National Wattle Day, inspired by Australia’s national floral emblem, is celebrated on the first day of spring.’ It is a celebration of where we live and who we are and is an expression of our national identity’.
‘National Wattle Day is a unifying celebration of everything that we love and value about Australia and Australians as symbolised by the beauty, abundance, diversity and resilience of the wattle.

Wattles are legumes and enrich the soil with nitrogen, just as Australian citizens, many of whom were born in countries around the world, enrich our culture.

Just as Australia is the land of the wattle with a great diversity of different wattles (more than 1,000 Acacia species unique to this land), it is also home to Australians with a great diversity in their backgrounds. (e.g.29.3% of all Australians were born overseas while more than half (51.5%) of the population have a parent born overseas, according to the 2021 Australian Census.’

So join the national celebration of National Wattle Day – 1 September every year

Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle)
Australia’s national floral emblem since 1988
© S.D. Searle

History of National Wattle Day

In 1992, the first day of September each year was officially proclaimed ‘National Wattle Day’ throughout Australia by the Governor-General of Australia.

Before then Wattle Days on different days in different states and territories had been celebrated since 1 September 1910. This was when the first Wattle Day celebration across state borders took place in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.

Wattle days have been celebrated for different reasons over the last century. For example they were linked during WW1 to patriotism, a reminder of home for those fighting wars overseas and fundraising for related community causes.

Perhaps Dr Rod Panter summed it up best when he wrote in 1997 that:

“Wattle and Wattle Day can symbolise virtually anything we want, but they relate generally to Spring, being Australian, the Australian environment, and history. Spring has many positive values such as optimism, bounty and abundance, reliability, colour, and so on.

We can celebrate our ‘Australianness’ on Wattle Day in quite a different way from Anzac Day, which in recalling past wars focuses on Australian qualities of courage and mateship.

Wattle day, by contrast, looks forward (to Spring) and can celebrate the nation’s undoubted qualities of good humour, fairness, generosity, informality and democracy.”

Reference: 1995 Rod Panter ‘Australia’s Wattle Day’ P2H20 (PDF)

Articles on the history of Wattle Day