[Editor: An article about a Wattle Blossom social function, organised by members of the Australian Natives’ Association. Published in The Advertiser, 15 October 1889.]
Australian Natives’ Association.
Wattle Blossom Social.
A Wattle Blossom Social, in connection with Adelaide branch No. 1 of the Australian Natives’ Association, was held in the Victoria Hall, Gawler-place, on Monday evening, October 14, and must be pronounced an unqualified success.
The gathering was the outcome of a suggestion made for the formation of a ladies’ branch of the association, and no sooner had the idea been mooted than it was very warmly taken up. No less than 1,000 invitations had been issued to the social, and judging by the crowded state of the hall, all the invitations must have been accepted, as seats were at a premium.
Every lady on entering the room received a spray of wattle blossom, which had been obtained in the hills, and it must be admitted that the scent from what is regarded in many quarters as Australia’s national flower, was at times almost overpowering.
The chair was taken by Mr. W. H. Wadey (president of the Adelaide branch), and after “The song of Australia” had been very excellently sung by Mr. F. Monk, the audience assisting in the chorus, Mr. Wadet referred to the aims of the Australian Natives’ Association, which were, he pointed out, to stimulate a national and patriotic sentiment amongst all classes of the community.
It was the desire of the association to see the Australian colonies federated as speedily as possible. Disunited we were weak, but if we were welded together we would become a strong and powerful nation. The necessity for a united Australia had been shown in connection with the Chinese question.
The association had not been formed with the view of separating from the mother country. The principles upon which the association had been based were not inconsistent with loyalty and devotion to the British Empire, of which these Australias formed a part. No doubt the time was not far distant when we would have to take a thoroughly independent stand, and rely upon our own resources. The tendency of the association was to foster and build up an Australian nation.
The association originated about 18 years ago in Victoria and now possessed 100 branches and 12,000 honorary members. The movement was making steady progress in New South Wales and West Australia and although in South Australia the organisation was only three yeas old it had already 700 members, and he felt sure that in the next three years their numbers would be increased by thousands.
Coming to the purpose of that evening’s meeting he stated that all the credit in respect of it was due to Mr. W. J. Sowden (vice-president of the Adelaide branch). Mrs. Johnson James then sang with exquisite effect two quaint old English ditties of the seventh century “Lullaby,” and “Send me a lover, St. Valentine,” and in response to an imperative redemand, she sang with great sweetness “Home, sweet home.”
Mr. Sowden (vice-president) gave a humorous address, in which he explained that the Wattle Blossom Union it was suggested should be formed would have its membership limited to ladies whose assistance was required in stimulating our Australian feeling. We recognised the value of woman in the home, and he urged that she should now be recognised in the government of the country. It was a false idea that woman should only be ornamental. She should not only be the sunshine of our lives, but a useful factor in the life of a country. He asked those ladies who were willing to join such a union as had been indicated to send in their names, and so soon as they saw what response was likely to be made to the movement further steps would be taken.
Mr. H G. Nash sang “No, my courage,” and as an encore gave “Best of all” in good style. Mr. Frank Johnson gave as a reading Brunton Stephen’s “Nonsuited,” which was perhaps hardly suitable for the occasion. Two quartettes were contributed by Messrs. Walter Everard, A. Billin, Wm. Everard, and R.R. Lawrence; Mr. Marcus sang “My queen,” Mr. L. Cohen, M.P., gave “Queen of my heart,” and Mr. Monk sang “Nevermore.”
The proceedings, which were unduly prolonged owing to the encores that were insisted upon, were brought to a close by the comedietta, “Why Women Weep,” by Mr. J. H. Lyons’s amateur dramatic class, the characters being played by Messrs. J. H. Lyons, E. Chapman, and C. Morgan, Mrs. Shepley and Miss Hubble.
The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA), Tuesday 15 October 1889, page 6