Show National Pride, Peace and Unity, wear our wattle and flag badge.
History and Symbolism of the badge
In the immediate aftermath of the October 2002 terrorist attack that became known as the “Bali bombing” the then Prime Minister suggested that Australians should wear a wattle sprig to honour the 202 lives lost; 88 of whom were fellow Aussies.
Even in spring, wattle flowers are not readily available and of course out of season they are simply unattainable. With that thought Rotarian Bob Falconer APM, a former Police Commissioner and Australia Day Ambassador designed a lapel badge that addressed the problem by combining two iconic symbols; our floral emblem (the Golden Wattle – Acacia Pycantha) and our national flag.
The rationale for including our national flag into the badge is obvious. However, the historic and emotional background in respect to the use and meaning behind the golden wattle is less well known.
The first recognised use of the wattle as a symbol of the then Australian colonies was in Tasmania in 1838. In 1899 a ‘Wattle Club’ was established in Victoria and the first wattle day (1st September) was formally celebrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide in 1910.
And of course the wattles’ presence on this continent pre-dates all us human occupants. As Wattle Day Association spokesperson Terry Fewtrell stated; “It is all the more appropriate that Wattle is the background for our coat of arms, as it has been here for millennia. Wattle has welcomed us all – indigenous, colonial and modern day immigrants”.
During World War I (1914-1918) Mothers, wives and sweethearts sent sprigs of wattle in letters to their loved ones at the battle front on the other side of the world. For many recipients it would have been their last physical contact with a piece of their homeland.
Initially in 2002, the financial proceeds from sale of the badge went to Red Cross who were involved in the post incident management of the Bali event. In the ensuing years the funds have been ploughed back into various Rotary projects for the betterment of humankind both within Australia and internationally. See the specific projects supported this year.
Over the past dozen years, tens of thousands of ‘Aussie Pride’ badges have been presented to new citizens at naturalisation ceremonies by Local Government bodies.
Our attractive and colourful lapel badge is also a wonderful memento for gifting to overseas visitors, to hosts or benefactors during an overseas trip.
Schools are also utilising the badge to acknowledge leadership and other attributes and many ‘Aussie Pride’ badges made the recent trip to Turkey on the jackets of attendees at the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
During the next four years there will be many Australians visiting WW1 battlefields to honour lost relatives and countrymen; what better badge to proudly identify your homeland?
© Aussie Pride Badge is a copyright of the Rotary Club of Canterbury Inc.
ABN: 46 369 090458