[Editor: An article about the inauguration of the Wattle Federation of Australasia. Published in The Examiner, 17 January 1913.]
The Wattle Federation.
Amongst the inward passengers by the Loongana yesterday was Miss Faehse, of Adelaide, who is passing through to the South. Miss Faehse attended the Science Congress in Melbourne, and took part in a meeting at which the Wattle Federation of Australasia was inaugurated. Miss Faehse has been most energetic in the work of the Wattle League in South Australia, and in the Liberal cause. In addition she has taken a keen interest in every movement for the betterment of South Australia.
Three delegates from each state were invited to attend the function, at which the wattle federation was started. Tasmania alone failed to send delegates, but the promoters, finding that Dr. Purdy and Mr. Seager were in Melbourne, invited these gentlemen to attend, and Miss Faehse, in an interview with an “Examiner” representative yesterday, spoke most enthusiastically of the services which they had rendered. Tasmania was therefore not left out of the movement.
The Prime Minister (Right Hon. A. Fisher) presided at the inaugural dinner, and afterwards a discussion took place, when it was decided that the leagues should federate. Mr. W. J. Sowden, editor and part proprietor of the South Australian “Register,” being appointed president. State presidents were also appointed. Lady Symon, a most enthusiastic member, being appointed for Adelaide, and the organisation was thoroughly established, the principal object of the federation being to foster patriotism.
At the conference the Government botanist of New South Wales (Mr. J. H. Maiden, F.L.S.) mentioned that it was altogether unnecessary to carry out the suggestion that wattle blossom be forwarded to England once a year. If an Australian wanted to see true wattle, he had either to go to the outback parts of Australia, far from civilisation, or else to the south of France. For several years past immense quantities of wattle blossom had been grown in France, and anybody could, during the English spring and well into the summer, arrange to have consignments of French-grown wattle sent at a day’s notice to different parts of the United Kingdom. Mr. Maiden went on to explain that in Southern France horticulturists had succeeded by means of cross-fertilisation in securing altogether new types of the Australian flower.”
Miss Faehse went on to remark how rapidly the movement had gained ground. The exchange of sprigs of wattle on the day set apart had become popular amongst members of the leagues. Cards were printed as souvenirs, and even wall paper and furniture were decorated with the emblem.
The membership fee was very small, and life members were elected on a moderate payment. Adelaide’s membership had jumped up in a short time from 130 to 360, with 50 life members and a further increase was expected. In Sydney the league had about 500 members, and the Melbourne league was also strong.
While Miss Faehse is on holiday bent she is prepared to assist any ladies desirous of taking this matter in hand to form a league or leagues in Tasmania. In the course of the interview the visitor pointed out that the federation had not taken up the movement from a monetary point of view. They held that the wattle bark industry ought to be so encouraged that the states should not be required to import bark, and in this connection they were working in co-operation with the forest league, a federation of which was also formed in Melbourne within the last few days, the secretary pro tem being Dr. Sutton, of Melbourne.
The Examiner (Launceston, Tas.), 17 January 1913, p. 7
pro tem = for the time being, temporarily; from the Latin phrase “pro tempore”
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]