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Button - Wattle Day

From the Collection of Kew Historical Society Inc Level 1, Kew Court House 188 High Street Kew Victoria

‘Wattle Day’ was celebrated nationally for the first time in 1910, even though the term and day had been celebrated in particular states and territories since the 1870s. This patriotic fundraising button depicts a map of Australia on a pale green background. The map includes a symbolic image of wattle sprigs.
Object Registration
wattle day, first world war (1914-18)
Historical information
Most of the civic and sporting ephemera assembled by Francis Rigg were patriotic buttons. The use of these buttons as a means of raising revenue through patriotic sentiment occurred soon after Australia pledged allegiance to Empire. Buttons reflected ‘public sentiment, courage, patriotism, generosity and several [un- named] virtues’ such as the martyred mother of a ‘fallen’ hero. Attention was paid to attractiveness of design, encoded symbolism and high quality of production. Expressing ‘loyalty’, they were tokens to be kept for perpetuity.

Female labour was used to operate the die that compressed the tin backing, photographic print and celluloid cover together. The pin was applied by hand. Women, of all ages, entered into the spirit of voluntary sales. Often they were sold at the entry and exit points of major pedestrian thoroughfares. The women of Kew set up a kiosk in front of the Post Office and the Railway Station to solicit their round, oval and square shaped wares. Pride in salesmanship was affected by publishing the name of the woman and her fiscal achievement in the major newspapers of the day.
When Made
The buttons form part of a collection of ephemera assembled by Francis Horace Rigg (19/10/1882-05/03/1946) of 50 Belford Road, Kew (Vic.). Frances Rigg was a local business identity in Kew, ultimately managing the local branch of the English, Scottish and Australian (ES&A) Bank at 175 High Street, Kew from c. 1920 until the 1940s.

After Francis Rigg’s death, the collection of buttons and medallions was inherited by his son, Ken Rigg (14/11/1922-19/01/2014). The collection was subsequently donated to the Kew Historical Society in 2015 by his grandson Adrian Rigg at the time of the Gallipoli & Beyond Commemoration.

The collection covers a period of almost 40 years. The majority of the buttons are patriotic buttons, issued and sold during and immediately after the First World World War (1914-1918) to raise funds for national and overseas causes. The collection also includes a number of locally significant sporting event buttons and sporting club medallions, issued in the 1920s and 1930s.
Last updated
3 Mar 2017 at 10:12AM