Cyril Everett Isaac (1884-1865) (MLC for South Eastern 1940-52) was a progressive educator, horticulturist and conservationist. A pioneer of school gardening, Isaac believed in the enlightening, spiritual values of working with the land, and founded the State Schools Horticulture Society in 1910.
Following the outbreak of the Great War, Isaac recognised the potential to combine school gardening with humanitarian aid. In 1915, Isaac helped to establish the Young Gardeners’ League, whereby young garden enthusiasts could join for a penny and cultivate plots in their own backyards. These home-grown flowers and vegetables were then sold for the going market rates, and the proceeds went towards supporting the Education Department officers serving in the war and their families. This project culminated in a state-wide flower day show held at Melbourne’s Town Hall on 3 November 1916, known as Children’s Flower Day. Isaac hoped that this special day would encourage children to feel that by ‘growing the flowers they are doing something to help our brave soldiers.’
Originally aiming to raise £10,000, the inaugural Flower Day raised over £32,309 (including revenue from home produce), and was donated to the War Relief Fund. On 9 November, the Dandenong Advertiser reported: “This is a splendid record for the boys and girls of our State Schools, who are so well tutored, and ready and willing to help the British Empire against the enemy.” One month after Flower Day, Isaac enlisted in 58th Battalion of Australian Infantry Forces, and departed for Europe in May 1917. Subsequent Children’s Flower Days were held in 1917 and 1918 in Isaac’s absence, and accounted for 25 per cent of the £445,000 raised by the Education Department’s War Relief Fund.
A badge created as a fundraiser for Children's Flower Day in 1918. These badges were sold in public places in order to raise funds for war relief.
Round metal badge with celluloid insert that has a printed motif of flowers (wattle and forget-me-not) and three banners with red text.
Inscriptions & markings
Printed recto: "CHILDREN'S/ FLOWER DAY/ 1918"