Wattle

Text from card accompanying brooch:

The wattle is a plant embedded in the myth of Australia. This brooch represents the species Acacia melanoxylon commonly known as Blackwood. A stately long-lived species, its dense habit is good for providing screening and shade. The local Kulin people used it for fibre for fishing lines, its bark was used for rheumatic pain and its wood for spear throwers and shields.

——————————————————————————————————————

Each of the three plants chosen were personal choices that related to my experience of gardening in the suburbs of Melbourne. I wanted to present a tree as for me they are fundamental to our landscapes and gardens. Amongst many other roles they give shade, prevent erosion, provide shelter, produce oxygen, reduce carbon dioxide, provide screening/privacy and give pleasure.

The wattle was chosen as its abundant showy yellow flowers have always fascinated me. For me they are like living pompoms, soft, evanescent and very very beautiful. As a kiwi I knew of the plant but it was not until I moved to Australia that I came to live amongst them. I have Blackwoods growing in my garden (Acacia melanoxylon) and I relish their lush foliage and the birds they bring to my backyard.

The wattle is an emblem that represents Australia to itself and the wider world and it is often associated with nationalistic and patriotic sentiment. It is Australia’s national floral emblem and wattle day is widely celebrated by some on the first day of September every year. Bruce Elders book, ‘Blood on the Wattle’ documents the massacres of Aboriginal Australians since 1788 and is an example of its use as a symbol loaded with some of the more shameful and painful aspects of Australia’s white past.

27 Responses to Wattle

  1. Susan Frisch says:

    I’ve had this lovely little brooch now for about 2 weeks so I thought it was about time I posted on the blog.
    I am a fellow jeweller and its first custodian. I was lucky enough to have been chosen at random from the many people who registered interest at the Signs of Change Exhibition at Form in Perth during April/May 2010. I was actually the first to register.
    Its interesting that I have received the Wattle Brooch. Much of my own work references the Australian Landscape and I have recently been drawn to the colour yellow.
    I am actually looking forward to handing on the brooch and following its journey.

  2. Vicki Mason says:

    Hi Susan,

    Just wondered what aspect of the landscape your work refers to and why you have been drawn to yellow? Yellow I always think is a bit like purple, its often a polarising colour, people either love it or dislike it. Do you have a wattle story maybe?

  3. Susan Frisch says:

    Hi Vicki,

    Yellow has been my least favourite colour, for ever I think. But I find I am drawn to particular colours as I go through different periods in my life. Yellow is the colour of joy, happiness and creativity, all which have featured heavily in my life of late.

    I see the preservation of what is left of our native landscape as a high priority. I’m not sure we fully appreciate the consequences of clearing these areas.

  4. Vicki Mason says:

    Hello again Susan, hope this finds you well. I have been thinking on your comments and wondered if you are familiar witht the writings of Tim Bonyhady and George Seddon? Tim Bonyhady’s book ‘The Colonial Earth’ you might really enjoy if you’ve not read it. I’ve copied below a bit about it his book taken from the Radio National website, http://www.abc.net.au/rn/arts/booktalk/stories/s250856.htm

    THE COLONIAL EARTH, TIM BONYHADY shows that, from early on in our colonial history, critics were deploring the clearing of native forests and the massacre of entire species of native animals and seeking to protect them by law. What’s more, many of the early environmentalists were artists who, moved by the beauty of the landscape
    and its wildlife, began to see it as our national natural heritage.

    George Seddon is also a wonderful writer. Ive only read his ‘Landprints’ and ‘Old Country’ books, have a look at them if you are interested in issues of landscape and associated topics.

    Just wondered if you could write a bit about the following when you have a moment.
    How are you going wearing your brooch out and about? .. feedback would be great to get..
    Where you are in Victoria? and what are the preservation issues of concern that you talk about?.. are you concerned about local problems relevant to your backyard or more broad ranging national issues? Vicki

    • Susan Frisch says:

      Hi Vicki,
      Thank you for the information on the books, I haven’t read the THE COLONIAL EARTH, but yes I would be interested to read it. I have downloaded a copy so I will let you know what I think once I’ve finished.

      It has been an interesting experience wearing the brooch. Many people notice it, a couple of people have engaged in conversation about it, but they have been very reluctant to become it’s new custodian. I’m not sure if they are being polite , don’t have the time to become involved in the project or they just don’t believe that I would ‘give away’ such a beautiful brooch. I have given them details of the blog so they can have a look for themselves, I will follow them up this week to see if they have changed their minds………

      I live about 1 hour North of Melbourne at the edge of a small reserve where I spend a part of most days walking. There is nothing remarkable about the area in terms of endangered or rare flora or fauna, but my world would certainly be poorer if it ceased to exist.

      Whilst I am concerned about national issues, I think it’s the local ones that can have a greater impact on our lives. Susan

  5. Susan Frisch says:

    Sorry Vicki, forgot to mention I saw an interesting story on Message Stick recently on Frances Bodkin. A very interesting lady indeed.

  6. Susan Frisch says:

    The flowering wattle, symbolises the passing of Winter to Spring. For about two weeks each year I have the pleasure of rediscovering a small prostrate wattle about 5 minutes walk from home. As far as I can tell it’s called Snake or Scrambling Wattle, Acacia aculeatissima. I will email a photo of it to Vicki and she can include it on the blog.

    Well, the brooch has finally found a new home. Another jeweller. I had some very interesting responses whilst wearing it and I had no idea it would be so hard to pass it on. People didn’t believe me when I told them they could become it’s new custodian. It seemed like the saying “if it’s too good to be true , it probably is” holds true for most people.

  7. Vicki Mason says:

    Look forward to that picture of the prostrate wattle.

    Great the brooch has moved on and good to hear your comments/feelings about the interactive nature of the project. It is heartening that this next person doesn’t hold with this old saying …. this project is anti cynicism, and it’s reassuring to know there are some people open to trusting and participating in things. You mention some interesting responses, maybe when you send the piccie/s you could elaborate?

    Did you take a picture of you wearing the brooch by any chance?

  8. Vicki Mason says:

    Wattle images from Susan Frisch:

    Prostate Wattle

    Wandering Wattle
    Wandering Wattle

  9. Lucinda Knight says:

    Hi Vicki

    I am the second recipient of your beautiful wattle brooch. I had also registered interest in being a temporary owner at the Signs of Change exhibition at Form in Perth. I am currently studying Gold & Silversmithing at RMIT.

    On Sunday October 3 I went to the NGV Fed Square in Melbourne to hear Otto Künzli’s talk on Mari Funaki’s exhibition. I ran into Susan outside the theatre whom I had met for the first time whilst in Perth at the JMGA conference. I recognised the brooch and started discussing the project with her. I was surprised to hear that she had had a number of people admire and want to chat about the piece but no one actually wanting to take on responsibility for being the next custodian. I was keen to be a part of the journey of this brooch, although it did feel a little strange seeing Susan take it off her top, box it up and hand it over to me. I felt a wee bit guilty that I was taking something so beautiful off her but also elated that I was the new custodian. I didn’t put it on that day, as I wanted to admire it for a little time first before wearing it out in public.

    I have a number of wattles in my garden and they always bring a smile to my face when they start flowering with their little puffs of golden yellow, as I know that spring is just around the corner. They are now at the end of their flowering and the rich yellows have faded and a layer of yellow confetti is scattered on the ground. I love driving up through Wattle Glen and Hurstbridge when they are in flower as they line the roadside in abundance. So quintessentially Australian.

    I feel a certain responsibility for this little brooch now. I am not concerned that I am not the permanent owner of this piece but more that whomever I hand it onto will look after it and participate in the project. I am curious about who I will end up handing this brooch onto, will it be someone I know or a total stranger?

    I have always loved antique jewellery knowing that a piece has a history but one that I often know nothing about. I like the idea of being able to track the history and owners of this brooch and the conversations and stories on the ideas that it evokes.

  10. Vicki Mason says:

    Hi Lucinda

    Good on you for wanting to take ‘responsibility’…. Im currently reading about the environmental movement in Australia and have come across someone called Alexis de Tocquevile who (over 200 years ago) interpreted protest movements as the politics of hope. While this project isn’t part of a protest movement it is in part about hope and change. That jewellery can possibly be involved in this and someone such as yourself is intertested in being part of this is a good start, thank you.

    Apart from the tracking aspect of the project, is there anything else that you felt interested in that the project is seeking to address? It’s interesting no-one has talked about the political bias of the project yet…. Hope to hear from you and can you send a picture of you with the brooch on please to my email account? Best Vicki

    Main Entry: responsibility
    Part of Speech: noun
    Definition: accountability, blame
    Synonyms: albatross, amenability, answerability, authority, boundness, burden, care, charge, constraint, contract, culpability, duty, encumbrance, engagement, fault, guilt, holding the bag, importance, incubus, incumbency, liability, obligation, obligatoriness, onus, pledge, power, rap, restraint, subjection, trust
    Antonyms: exemption, freedom, immunity, irresponsibility

    From – http://thesaurus.com/browse/responsibility

  11. Lucinda Knight says:

    Hi Vicki
    There are a number of aspects that appeal to me about the project. Firstly the engagement of a jewellery piece to deliver a concept of pro-republicanism and altruistic giving from the garden is enlightening. I like how you have incorporated the symbolism of the broken crown into the brooch. To replace one Commonwealth with another that is united in a community spirited way.
    I am all for the republican cause and am also a keen gardener. My giving from my garden has so far been on a familial level with family and friends however I still have excess especially from my lemon and plum trees when the fruits ripen in abundance. The local magpies end up doing rather well from the latter. I have just in the last week reorganised my overgrown 3 large bed vegie patch into a more manageable 6 bed plot ready for planting. I am so looking forward to enjoying the harvest from this in the coming months. This project raises some interesting propositions for how we deal with excess from our gardens. But on the practical side of things how to get this to work? Will the brooches help form the micro communities of altruistic givers or focus more on the ideas of how we turn this into a reality?

  12. Vicki Mason says:

    Lucinda Knight wearing wattle brooch:

  13. Lucinda Knight says:

    Well the brooch has a new custodian as of last Friday night. Yet another jeweller…

  14. Claire McArdle says:

    Hello Vicki,
    I am said custodian of the wattle brooch!
    I’m afraid I have been keeping it to myself because I can’t decide where to wear it. I feel as soon as I step out of the house it will be gone, but at the same time I love the idea that it will move on to another person who will also love it for a short time. I think the limited duration of ownership makes it all the more appealling as you are forced to appreciate the time you have with it and not to let it moulder away in a draw. It lives a vibrant life in the open like the wattle it depicts. To trace the journey of a piece is a rare oppurtunity that I am glad you have allowed us to experience.
    As Monty Python said in a sketch about the essential elements of Australia,
    “This here’s the wattle,
    The emblem of our land,
    You can stick it in a bottle,
    You can hold it in your hand”

  15. Vicki Mason says:

    Claire Hi,

    Thanks for your interest in the project and glad the wattle evokes thoughts of Monty Python… I hadn’t heard this one, cheers. Its interesting that this brooch seems to be moving at a pace and you are keen on this aspect of the project. I too was hoping for the pieces to move around reasonably quickly but Im not so sure now….. My rethinking has come about as one of the participants also hoped her brooch would move on quickly and it didn’t. Have a look at the oregano page for more info. This got me thinking about the Slow Movement. Why do we expect quickness and urgency in everything today? Why can’t we linger, take time, and feel less bound by things moving at a pace? Doesn’t this way of thinking put unecessary pressure on us? These are just inner musings and an aspect of the project I hadn’t considered fully.

    If your brooch doesn’t move on so quickly its not the end of the world… its coming into summer, not really brooch weather anyway. Maybe it would look great on the mantlepiece or sitting in front of your book collection, or being sported on a bag or hat. Im thinking of other ways of wearing it/them in the heat… sorry Im side tracked now.

    Ill stop. Would be great to hear how you are going with it and am pleased you are enjoying it.

    Vicki

  16. Vicki Mason says:

    Message received from Claire McArdle:

    Here’s a photo of me wearing the wattle brooch.
    This is such a wonderful project and I feel privileged to be a part of it.
    The brooch is no longer in my possession it has been passed on.
    Thank you and congratulations.

    Prostate Wattle

  17. Claire McArdle says:

    While I was in possession of the brooch I felt both privelidge and pressure. To be a part of this project and to somewhat control the course of the brooch’s journey was an honour and yet the pressure of responsibility was present also. What if I wore it the first day and it was gone, what if I wore it for weeks and it remained in my possession? Then there was the question of where to wear it. Should I wear in an already jewellery related environment where I could be more certain of it’s being taken care of or should I throw caution to the wind and wear it with strangers or to a non-jewellery event where it’s future would be more unpredictable? This weighed heavy on me for weeks, thus it remained in it’s box. Eventually I couldn’t take the pressure of possession anymore and I wore it to work (a jewellery-related environment) where I could be more certain of it’s passing on. It took half a day but it was gone, moved on to another. I felt relief but also sadness. Perhaps I should have worn it more and worried less. Though reading this it probably seems like a stressful time, looking back it was wonderful to be part of this project. Perhaps one day I might glimpse a flash or red in the street or a flicker of green on the train and then be in possession of the Rose or the Oragano for a short time. Or maybe in ten years I will be walking the streets of a far flung city only to see my old friend the Wattle. I hope this project continues and I look forward to their adveentures.

  18. Sharna Parker says:

    I am the new temporary owner of the wattle brooch and received the brooch at work. I work at Koodaks and the find the whole concept fitting weirdly into my own life in that I have been the maker of jewellery (although my young daughter now takes up most of my time), whilst my husband is a gardener by trade. I felt a little sad at first that Claire didn’t get to wear the brooch for very long before I came along and was interested in it and of what it was made. Once taking temporary ownership of the brooch I then had another quandary; where was I to wear it? Should I wear it to work or to somewhere where it would be appreciated by people who make or are within the jewellery trade or should I expose it to a wider audience? I could wear it to my mothers’ group or around friends not in the jewellery industry, but would they appreciate it and care for it and continue it on its way. I have decided to wear it on our last day or work were it will be exposed to people involved in jewellery and public people when we go for our Christmas work lunch. It would be good to reach that wider community that level then the familial one. I think the wattle brooch suits the festivity of the season. I always think of all things Australian around Christmas, maybe as it makes me thankful for all that I have. I can’t wait to see what happens!

    • Vicki Mason says:

      Hi Sharna
      Happy New Year! Hope this finds you well. Are you still the owner of the brooch… or is it hanging off a new souls chest, whisked away on that last big day at work last year? Thanks very much for sharing the various forums and places this piece of jewellery will be worn in your world and what you hope for it. You say you hope it goes to the wider community. Does this mean you will be chatting to people in the supermarket, the park or on the tram more in the hope it leaves you in a more public setting? If someone doesn’t engage with you about the brooch, would you be open to initiating conversation with a stranger? I’d be interested to know your feelings on ideas to do with what the wider community means to you? Vicki

  19. julie kiefel says:

    Hi Vicki – I’m the proud new/temporary custodian of your beautiful ‘wattle’ brooch! (yet another KOODAK Jewellery Supplies connection to the journey of this piece: clearly we love being drawn into it’s world of travels… if not it’s world of meanings!)

    I recently noticed it sitting strikingly on Sharna’s lapel (back at work after many apt attempts to have it penetrate the world of professional gardeners – via her husband’s vocation & work-mates – conjuring equal amounts of interest in, & shyness of, official uptake of the project : (

    Via this process of short-term acquisiton, I’ve enjoyed familiarising myself with your symbolic “communal gardening” project. Uncannily, the night before I spotted it, I’d watched a re-run of a “River Cottage” episode that featured a guerrilla landshare gardening movement that had sprung out of an English village in West Yorkshire. Apparently “..**because of a lack of (community) Allotment sites, (these guerrilla gardeners) started planted wherever they could… so they could inspire others to do the same in their town. …Their plight was so successful that (their).. local Council got on board and now (they’ve) 500 (communal) fruit trees and every (district) school… is involved with growing food..” **condensed from http://www.brisbanetobogota.com/2010/02/17/hughs-edible-britain-%E2%80%93-landshare-and-guerrilla-gardening-in-britain/

  20. Vicki Mason says:

    Julie Hi,

    Go Koodaks staff! Good to hear you like the brooch and have read around the topic. I’ve just read the text from the website you list here (above) and watched some of the clips they reference on YouTube, very inspiring. I was really interested in the folk from ‘Abundance crew’ who are picking fruit, vege etc (after getting permission from landowners who aren’t picking this produce and it’s left to rot) and giving it to people in need in the neighbourhood. Love the practical, caring aspect of this crew.

    On my walks around my own area I’ve found a lot of vacant land. Sort of non-spaces – where powerlines are situated or walkways run (that connect blocks) and its amazing how much produce, figs, lemons, chillis etc.. hang over back fences from residential houses into these places….

    Are you a gardener Julie?.. any stories to tell?

    I’m interested that this brooch and one other is with jewellers/makers and not looking like moving on to adorn the chests of people from other fields. Do you have any ideas as to why this may be the case? Did Sharna offer up any thoughts? Timidity and the responsibility that an earlier host mentions as being a draw back, are obviously very real for people, I wonder how we can overcome these, if at all.

    Hope to hear from you. Vicki

    • julie kiefel says:

      Hi again

      I’m not sure how to interpret the reticence of some in uptaking your fab project?!? (I too have met my fair share of equal parts interest & polite reluctance when I’ve chatted to people about it, and these include artists in other mediums & jewellers alike…)

      Re the non-spaces in Melbourne so fit for guerrilla gardening… I don’t know of any official/equivalent movement here in Australia but I’ve heard of a website that maps out “..feral fruit trees or fruit trees growing in or overhanging public spaces that are accessible to the urban hunter-gatherer..”

      – see http://www.sustainablemelbourne.com/models/feral-fruit-trees-melbourne/

      *It’s a fabulously sustainable concept based on the premise that “..fruit lying outside the boundary of private property.. (or) on a branch hanging over a fence is considered to be public property and therefore anyone can legally take the fruit..” It also includes tips on appropriate etiquette e.g. how much to take / how to safely remove it eand most importantly, not to p’off any owners of said tree! (Could be where I went inadvertently wrong trying to snag a stray lemon once… )

  21. Fiona Morrison says:

    Dear Broaching Change followers
    I am the new custodian of the Wattle brooch. What a privelege! Vicki’s daughter Eva, and my daughter Anja are school friends and during last year we adults got to know each other a bit too. We were introduced to Vicki’s work at her solo exhibition late last year and I came across the broaching change project as I cruised Vicki’s website. So.. one day I mentioned the project to Vicki and what luck, the wattle had returned to Vicki and was looking for a new home. And now the brooch makes it’s way into the wider world… beyond the appreciation of other jewellers. I’ve had the brooch a couple of weeks now and worn it once, but during that time I’ve moved house and been a bit distracted. A day or two after I received the brooch I decided to wear it, even though it was a stay at home packing with a friend day. I expected her instant comments, but no, she said nothing all day. I was a little disappointed. To me the brooch is so striking you can’t help but be drawn to it… Perhaps she was a bit more focused on packing up my kitchen kit and caboodle!
    So to the question of where to wear it next. Initially I was planning to wear it regularly and just see what happens, let it get out and about… As I’ve pondered more, the responsibility of ownership has slowed me down. The other day Anja said that she thought one of her friends would love the brooch and that got me questioning the appropriateness of passing it on to a child. Now that’s a challenge. I work in education and have thought long and hard about the role of children in community. Children bring lightness, joy and an insistence that we be in the present moment, not distracted by the cares of the past or future. So often we treat children as not quite people and we underestimate their power and potential. Two inspirations for me in this thinking are:
    The Reggio Emilia Education project (from Italy) and a book by an Aussie author, Louise Porter, entitled, “Children are people too”.
    So who knows, perhaps we could imagine a child being a custodian of the brooch?
    Thanks
    Fiona

  22. Fiona Morrison says:

    Hi Folks
    Well the Wattle has ventured out a few times with me recently. Each time I’ve worn it with pride, thinking that this beautiful jewel would attract lots of attention. Not 1 person has commented or said a word about it. I’m flabergasted!
    I guess it challenges that notion of what people perceive as precious or beautiful. Maybe it’s what I’m wearing it with… Although my husband did comment on how beautiful it looked on a particular dress.
    Maybe it’s just a blessing for me so that I get to love and enjoy the wattle for a bit longer!
    Fiona

  23. Vicki Mason says:

    Hi Fiona
    Great to get your posts.. I’d love a picture of you with the brooch on ‘that particular dress’ – would you/could you organise this and post it on the blog please? Your comments about children and perhaps custodianship going to them is an interesting one.. perhaps under the guidance of a caring adult this may well work? Do you know why Anja thought this particular friend would like it?
    It’s great you find this work striking, isn’t it interesting that others so far haven’t found this to be so to? Perhaps they did but commenting is beyond them? Perhaps it’s timing, lack of confidence, perhaps aesthetically it’s too far out, or jewellery in itself isn’t interesting enough to those in whose company you’ve worn it to be noticed at all? So many possible reasons…

    This need to comment is why I find jewellery so fascinating.. it can literally bring strangers together.. I know when I see someone wearing something that I find compellingly mysterious, beautiful/ugly, curious (whatever the quality is about the object that leads me to gravitate towards it) I have to engage with that person. Jewellery for me acts a communication device of sorts, a connection point for a dialogue to open up between two people.. it can link us as humans to one another and this is a pretty unique quality for an object to initiate.

    Look forward to hearing about your very first connection with someone if and when it takes place.
    Keep in touch
    Bestest Vicki

  24. Vicki Mason says:

    Posted on behalf of Fiona:

    So the wattle brooch has taken on deep deep significance for me, as a result of it journeying with me on my toughest life journey yet. After the shock of going to emergency at the Royal Women’s Hospital and finding out that I wasn’t feeling my baby moving because he had died in my womb, I returned to home to reconnect, get support and prepare to return to the hospital to birth my baby boy. During those strange days of disbelief, deep grief, and wishing it weren’t true, I gathered all the people and things around me, which would give me the support, the strength and the courage to give birth to my stillborn baby. After 2 days, I left home to return to the hospital to begin the birthing process, surrounded by love and a massive bag of “tricks”. As I prepared for this tragic and heartbreaking journey, I was drawn to take the familiar with me to my hospital room, and the things which would connect me to and remind me of the beauty and love in the world around me. There were those silver earrings which had come from Sarah; the candle and beautiful dish given by Olivia; photos of family, of home, of beauty; something precious from Bec (I can no longer recall what it was), a journey stone which I clutched tightly in my hand; and the wattle brooch – that beautiful symbol of connection and love in Australia, lovingly crafted by a precious friend, and temporarily in my possession, me just one of a long line of custodians. Oh, and a song, which jumped mysteriously into my head and became my solace in those days and weeks ahead – It’s not Perfect – Tim Minchin.

    To cut a long story short – in complete defiance of hospital protocol, but with careful attention to the importance of attending to risks and safety, we lit a candle in our hospital room, to be a vigil of light, in the darkest of times. Around the base of the candle in the beautiful wooden dish, I placed the objects of love, the symbols of women folk’s presence with me, the strength to hold me during this difficult journey. As I stared into the flickering, soft light of the candle, and looked at the little treasures present around it’s base, I knew that I could keep on keeping on, in spite of my despair. With that intention and clear inward focus, the candle gradually burnt and the wax gradually dripped, and I birthed my precious precious boy, Harry, with no breath within him.

    To my horror, as I packed up to leave the hospital, farewelling my baby, and taking my treasures back home, I found that the wattle brooch, with it’s fine fluffy yellow buds, was enmeshed with melted wax. Eventually, when the sadness and despair had subsided enough, and I could bring myself to share the news, I let Vicki know that I thought I may have destroyed the brooch. That possibility seemed like an unfortunate parallel to what had happened in my own life.

    The silver lining for the brooch was, that with Vicki’s understanding, patient and careful attention, the waxed wattle could be carefully removed, cleaned and re-placed into the brooch. And the precious and understanding friendship of Vicki and others, who weren’t afraid to journey with me during those tough days, weeks and months, grew stronger, as I grew and learnt the lessons which only life can teach. Those lessons about birth, life and death, that mysterious journey which we all travel.

    Handing On the Brooch
    So if I’d been a bit bemused and uncertain about wearing the brooch out and about before it’s trip to the women’s hospital, that took on a whole new significance afterwards. From the very beginning I had owned the brooch with a kind of reverence and appreciation for something precious and imbued with deep significance. That had constantly affected where and how I chose to wear the brooch, believing that I needed to wear it in a way which would honour it and let it “shine”. My self-consciousness about fashion and what “works” played in here too. So you can imagine that after the brooch had journeyed with me on such a deep journey, it was incredibly difficult to think of wearing it again, potentially to lose it to a new owner. For a while, it sat, repaired, in the box, not going for any outings. And I can’t remember now, whether it was the very first outing it had, which became its journey to a new custodian. Strangely enough, on that day, I wore it with a knowledge and intent that it may well be passed on. It was the day of our choir Christmas celebration, a small gathering in a beautifully resonant church building, to sing a few of our favourites, and a few of the obligatory Christmas carols. I wore it wanting to show it off to the world.

    As soon as we arrived and were getting organised to perform, the lovely Victoria, a fellow tenor singer, commented with great enthusiasm and appreciation about the brooch. So, as I had done on a few occasions previously, I explained that I was the custodian of the brooch, which was brought in to being, as a representation of Australian community and the possibility of a republic. Victoria was taken with this idea, being a community minded (left-leaning) citizen. So I asked directly if she would like to become the new owner of the brooch. After that awkward moment when the normal rules of offering and accepting are challenged, Victoria said she’d love to own the brooch. So I unclipped it from my dress and passed it to her, along with the box which I had carefully placed in my bag that day, just in case. I haven’t spied the brooch out on the town since, and in the busyness of life and singing, I haven’t remembered to get an update from Victoria about the wattle’s journey.

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