Today 1st of September is National Wattle day in Australia.
Acacias commonly known as Wattles are a diverse genus of trees and shrubs found throughout Australia in every imaginable habitat.
Here’s a quick post before midnight National Wattle Day 2021.
Today I woke with a headache… feeling low, I realized I have barely ventured outside in three days! I have been working from home during lockdown, sitting on my bed with a laptop for too long, drinking too much coffee, no fresh air. I realized I am really beginning to crack. As I started writing this post I checked the date and realized I’ve been stuck here for nearly a month! Lockdown started on the 4th August!
So why wattles? Well because they’re a common sight in Australia, when they are in bloom toward the end of winter they make the place look spectacular, they have been in bloom since I arrived nearly a month ago. The Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnanthais) is actually Australia’s national Floral Emblem. There was a bit of argybargy back in the 1800s between some botanists the Golden wattle was in competition with the Waratah (which is actually an endemic species and possibly more appropriate but they’re only found around NSW, which is probably a bit too specific) The advocates for the wattle won out way back then and the Golden Wattle has been considered our national floral ever since.
Acacias aren’t specific to Australia, but we sure do have a lot of them. Unfortunately for the rest of the world Australian wattles have become a noxious weed in many parts of the world. In their home territory they are an important colonizing, habitat, food source and when in bloom they turn green valleys into gold.
SO. The Golden wattle has been the national flower since before federation but wasn’t officially named the National Floral Emblem until 1st September 1988. The national colours have been considered Green and Gold for ages… how long? I dunno, little bit long time I reckon. (I didn’t have time to check all sources but I reckon as far back as federation also) This was officially decreed by Governor-General of Australia, Sir Ninian Stephen in 1984 on the say so from old mate Bob Hawke (May he rest in peace).
The gold represents the Golden Wattle which was obviously already, unofficially, the inflorescence of the Nation and the Green…. ? Errr…. I don’t know, probably the leaves of the same plant? It’s the colour of the Baggy Green hat cricketers used to wear… I don’t know what came first the National Colour or the Hat… Maybe a topic for another post.
Whatever the official process for recognizing these things, Green and Gold have long been the unofficial colours of Australia, as everyone should already know, most Australians are far more loyal to our unofficial icons! (Green and Gold were loved unofficially first, which would have given Mr Hawke license to enshrine the colours with approval of the adoring fandom of his constituents.
I think what cemented Green and Gold with Hawkie and the Nation was that boxing kangaroo flown on the that famous Ausie symbol of pride in the 80s, Australia II, the maxi yacht owned by the Legendary Ausie business hero Mr Alan Bond that just happened to win the America’s cup and secured Australian Superiority over America and the world for eternity and for ever, fingers crossed dibs, no returns!
It was a ‘Golden’ Age for Australia, sticking it to the Yanks and brother Bob galvanized the nation making this classic statement on TV Live: “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum”, (former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke – Legend!)
His mate Mr Alan Bond got himself into a little bit of trouble down the track for his overzealous business dealings. Never mind, in the 80s it was all the rage.
So today I realized I hadn’t been outside for more than a few minutes in three days! My head was thumping and I was feeling really disoriented. Inside is not a man’s natural environment! I cannot bear it for too long at all… So I decided to go for a ride along Karrum Yallock (Plenty River), downstream through the settled areas of Greensborough, Partington Flat etc… There are cycle paths going for miles following the Plenty and Yarra rivers, all the way into the city and upstream as well. One day we can go on a bit of tour that way if you’re keen.
Back to the Wattles… So on my ride today I took a few photos of various wattles I saw along the way. I hope you like them.