The annual Wattle Day Appeal was organised by the Children's Welfare Association of Victoria from 1921, to raise funds for its member institutions. Wattle Day generally took place on a Friday in the month of August. The annual event resulted in increased publicity opportunities in the press about Victorian institutions, in which images of children featured prominently.
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.
In 1924, the Victorian Year Book described the annual Wattle Day event thus: '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, and put on displays and demonstrations of the work of various institutions.
For example, on 24 August 1933, the Argus reported that supporters of the Mission of St James and St John's Babies' Home would hold a Wattle Day stall at the GPO in Bourke Street where cakes, jams and produce would be on sale, and gifts from the public would be accepted.
From 1958, Wattle Day was held in the annual Child Care Week.
Sources used to compile this entry: Victorian Year Book, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Victorian Office, 1873 - 2002. 1923-24.; Hops Steps and Jumps, Quarterly news from the Children's Welfare Association of Victoria, Children's Welfare Association of Victoria, 1975-1979. June 1976.; Barnard, Jill; Twigg, Karen, Holding on to Hope: a history of the founding agencies of MacKillop Family Services 1854-1997, Australian Scholarly Publishing, Melbourne, 2004; Howe, Renate; Swain, Shurlee, All God's Children: a centenary history of the Methodist Homes for Children and the Orana Peace Memorial Homes, Acorn Press, Kambah, ACT, 1989.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 31 July 2009, Last modified: 28 October 2011