One of the earliest mentions of Mother’s Day in the Australian news media can be found in this letter from a reader of the Sunday Times, from July 1908.
The letter reads:
'About twelve months ago a movement was initiated in America to do honor to the mothers of that vast nation, and it spread with 'lightning-like rapidity' from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Every man, woman, and child wore a white carnation in honor of the best mother who over lived — your own. People who had bad mothers were also invited to wear the carnation on mother's day in honor of somebody else's mother who was good. I would suggest a mother's day for the Commonwealth, substituting the wattle for the carnation, with the object to cultivating amongst Australians the somewhat lacking feeling of filial respect.'
From news reports the practice of commemorating Mother’s Day in Australia appears to have started in Adelaide in 1909, and was widespread throughout the country by 1910.
Discover more fascinating Australian firsts by browsing the State Library’s digitised collection of historic newspapers, available on Trove.