Dear Friends,

I love being Australian. I never really thought about my nationality much until I was 15 and I moved to the United States for a year. Being Australian became my entire identity; my funny accent, my strange lexicon, the way I said Narrr instead of No, all these things were unique to me. All of a sudden I found myself being the sole representative of what it meant to be Australian.  There is probably still a portion of the population in Allegany County, NY, who think that all Australians are obsessed with AFL, live an hour outside of nowhere, and enjoy using swear words in highly inappropriate situations (It took me a while to realise that they considered ‘damn’ to be an actual proper swearword!)

But that’s just my experience of being Australian. There are 25 million other experiences that we could draw on to find out what it means to be Australian. This coming Wattle Day we plan to bring those stories to light! Starting on September 1st, National Wattle Day, over the course of the first week of September Canberra Baptist will be hosting an online exhibition of personal Australian experiences as a way of celebrating Australia’s diversity and identity. Why are we celebrating Australia now and not at a different time of year? The NWD Association outlines why National Wattle Day is the perfect time to celebrate:

We celebrate National Wattle Day because:

  • National Wattle Day includes everyone;
  • Golden Wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is our national floral emblem. It is a symbol that comes directly from our land;
  • Golden Wattle is a unifying symbol of Australia and Australians. There is no other symbol that says so much about us and our land, Australia;
  • Wattles are Australian with great diversity (more than 1,071 species) and resilience like our people;
  • Wattle welcomes the spring, and is among the first plants to regenerate after fire, reminding us of the importance of renewal as it paints our national colours across our landscapes; and
  • All wattles remind us of Australia and Australians.

We would love input for this exhibition from as many people as possible, so I encourage you and your housemate/ partner/ family to contribute to the exhibition by addressing the question ‘What does Australia mean to you?’through words, stories, pictures, or crafts (everyone thinks and communicates differently, so please don’t constrain yourself by trying to do it ‘right’). If you struggle to think of an idea, here are some prompts to help you!

  • Tell us about your favourite location in Australia
  • Tell us how Australia is different from other countries you’ve lived in.
  • Tell us what you want to protect about Australia
  • Tell us about how you became an Australian

Please send through all contributions to by August 29th. Our Wattle Day exhibition will be rolling out across our Instagram (@canbap) and Facebook (@canberrabaptist) pages.  If you have any questions about it all, please give me a call on 0421 814 548, I’d be happy to have a chat!

I am excited about Wattle Day, but that certainly isn’t the only thing happening in our community during lockdown!

Tonight at 5.30pm is Community Hour, during which we will be playing ‘Kahoot’ trivia all about Canberra Baptist. Here is the link for the Community Hour Zoom.

This Sunday is (online) Family Church, in which we will be exploring God in the light and darkness.  

Next Tuesday is an Australia-wide Baptist prayer gathering which will be an opportunity to pray together for the COVID situation. You need to register to be part of this. Details will be included in the bulletin this week.

Stay safe, stay connected, and take care,


PS from me (Belinda)! On Sunday I mentioned the wonderful resources for helping churches to understand, identify and respond to domestic and family violence at the Common Grace site. You can access those here – Anglican minister Erica Hamence’s three blogposts can be directly accessed here – As I said on Sunday, it is as we allow the Holy Spirit to fill us, that we continue learning how to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ – so we can be a church community where all can live and grow up healthy and well!

Rev Belinda Groves

Team Leader, Canberra Baptist Church

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