Wattle timber is highly regarded for contemporary furniture. Indigenous Australians also used wattles routinely for making utensils such as digging sticks and barbs, weapons (clubs, shields, boomerangs, spear throwers, spear shafts and heads), and for musical instruments like clap sticks. Almost every part of the plant was used in some way.... Acacia gums were used as glues to make and repair tools and spear throwers, and to waterproof fish, mussel and water rat traps. String and rope, head decorations and sandals were made from the inner bark of some species. While we marvel at our contemporary discoveries of eco-dyeing, Aborigines obtained fibre dyes from Acacia roots centuries ago.
Not only useful to human beings, wattles and animals often enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship. The brightly coloured and sweet smelling flowers attract bird and butterfly pollinators. Black cockatoos love the seeds and often feed on insects and grubs under the bark of wattle trees. Possums too feed on insects attracted by the blossoms as well as the gum from the trees. Many species of possum also like to make their homes in dense areas of wattle.
With its many uses - and I have touched on only a few here in this post , wattle can be appreciated for its benefits to human and animals. However, there's more to wattle than just the practical - it has a special place in most Australian's hearts ...
"To many Australians the wattle stands for home, country, kindred, sunshine and love - every instinct that the heart most deeply enshrines." The Sydney Morning Herald, 1910