[Editor: This item, regarding the origin of the name of the wattle tree, is an extract from “The Oracle Answers” section published in The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 2 January 1953.]
[Why is … the Acacia … known as wattle?]
Q. Why is it that the European tree, the Acacia, is known in this country as wattle? In England wattle can come from any kind of tree at all. Why the change? (From P.McC. late of Stanley, Durham, England.)
A. — In England wattle is not the name of a tree, it is the name given to small pliable twigs from any tree at all, provided the twigs are suitable for plaiting, or weaving, into thatch for walls or roof of a dwelling.
Its use for the Australian acacia is due to the fact that many of the early houses in this country were built of mud and bark, or thin branches, in fact of what was known in England as wattle. It happened that the local acacia lent itself very well to building and provided the “wattle” for walls.
From providing the wattle, the tree itself took the name, wattle, and botanists or New Australians notwithstanding, it is now firmly established in common usage, and that is the final court of appeal, the Privy Council of Australian nomenclature.
The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 2 January 1953, p. 2
acacia = a tree or shrub belonging to the genus Acacia, bearing clusters of small white or yellow flower clusters; in Australia, Acacia trees are known as Wattle trees
nomenclature = a name; a group, set, or system of names or terms (such as is used in scientific fields); the act or process of the choosing of names
Privy Council = a group of advisers to the Monarch of the United Kingdom; the Privy Council (in practice, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council) was the highest court of appeal in Australian law, until the passing of several laws in 1968, 1975, and 1986 (technically, the High Court of Australia can allow an appeal to the Privy Council; however, in practice, that avenue has been closed off) [in this article, the reference to the Privy Council is a metaphor, referring to the common people as the highest court for determining the usage of words]
See: 1) “Privy Council of the United Kingdom”, Wikipedia
2) “High Court of Australia”, Wikipedia (see section: “Appeals to the Privy Council”)
[Editor: Changed “this country as wattle.” to “this country as wattle?” (replaced the full stop with a question mark).]
[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]