During the First World War, community activities such as carnivals, stalls and performances were held on special days to raise money for patriotic funds and charitable organisations. Such days also provided temporary relief from the tensions and hardships of the home front. On 30 July 1915 an ‘Australia Day’ was celebrated across the nation to raise funds for the Red Cross. The badge shows Australians’ growing sense of pride and national identity.
The campaign for a national day of celebration had been taken up in earnest around the time of Federation. It was promoted by nationalist groups including the Australian Natives’ Association, which included Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin among its members. However, it was not until 1946 that the Australian Government and all states and territories agreed to observe the same national day, Australia Day, on 26 January each year.
This badge is one of a large collection of badges acquired by the Hussey family of Healesville, Victoria, during and after the First World War. It is believed that the collection was begun by William Hussey, who enlisted in 1917 and was killed in action in 1918. The collection was later expanded by other members of the family.