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.