• Event

Wattle Day Appeal


The Wattle Day Appeal was an annual fundraising event, used to raise funds for children’s institutions and other charitable organisations. The annual Wattle Day Appeal began in 1910, with Wattle Day events held in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Over the next few years, Wattle Day events were also held in Queensland and Tasmania. The purpose of Wattle Day was to celebrate Australia, mark the coming of spring and to raise funds.

In Victoria, from 1915 to 1921, Wattle Day was run by the Commonwealth Button Fund. When the Fund was wound up in January 1921, the event became the business of the Children’s Welfare Association of Victoria. The Children’s Welfare Association used Wattle Day to raise funds for its member institutions, and the annual event resulted in increased publicity opportunities in the press about Victorian institutions, where images of children featured prominently.

In other states, the focus was on fundraising for a range of social welfare organisations. This included children’s Homes but unlike in Victoria, they were not the only recipients. Organisations such as hospitals, charities and welfare organisations also received funds from the Wattle Day Appeal.

Wattle Day was generally held in August or September, when the wattle was flowering. The Victorian Year Book described the activities of the Wattle Day event in 1924: “ladies attired in white costumes sell sprigs of wattle blossom in the streets and elsewhere, and the amounts obtained are allotted to charities for children”. Wattle Day workers also sold buttons, jams and produce, and put on displays and demonstrations of the work of various institutions.

From 1958, Wattle Day was held in the annual Child Care Week. Wattle Day for fundraising ceased by the mid 1970s. In 1992, 1 September was officially proclaimed National Wattle Day by the Governor-General of Australia, and some fundraising efforts were revived in the mid 1990s, particularly by the Red Cross.

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