Flower Day - Melbourne’s most beautiful fundraising appeal

The Lord Mayor’s Fund for Metropolitan Hospitals and Charities annual Flower Day appeals brought beautiful floral colour and joy to the streets of Melbourne’s CBD as volunteers sold bunches of flowers and small Flower Day brooches on street corners to raise funds for Melbourne public hospitals and charities.

In 1924 Lord Mayor William Brunton suggested to the Flower Growers Association of Victoria that an annual appeal, supported by their members and volunteers, would be an engaging way to increase donations and public support for the Fund.  The next year, Flower Day was launched on the 6th May and quickly grew to become an important and popular annual appeal. There was also Rose Day and Wattle Day each raising money for specific charities and causes.

During their visit to Melbourne in 1927, the Duke and Duchess of York were greeted by the Lord Mayor Sir Stephen Morell and Lady Morell who introduced the President and Secretary of the Flower Growers Association Mr N. B. Holloway and Mr J. E. Hunt to Their Royal Highnesses.
Mr Hunt presented the Duchess a bouquet of pansy that had been newly cultivated for the Royal visit and was named in honour of Her Highness, the Duchess of York.  A special Duchess of York pansy brooch was added to the Flower Day collection available for purchase by a donation.

Incidents at Spencer Street on the last day of the Royal visit (Flower Day).
1. The Lord Mayor and Lady Morell greet the Duke and Duchess on their arrival from Canberra
2. Sir Stephen Morell presenting Mr. N. B. Holloway, Flower Growers' President, to Their Royal Highnesses
<3. Mr. J. E. Hunt, Secretary to the Flower Growers, is presented.
4. The Duchess smiling farewell.

Melbourne’s daily newspapers The Sun Pictorial and The Argus reported on the Flower Day appeals providing much-needed promotion and publicity for the annual appeal. Flowers, seeds and foliage were transported by train to Melbourne’s s Flinders Street Station from across Victoria. Newspapers reported on these floral arrivals which alerted the public Flower Day was fast approaching.

The Flower Day appeals endured all sorts of weather on appeal days, and survived through drought, bushfires and economic downturns to maintain a welcomed presence on Melbourne’s street corners. Throughout the decades, the Flower Growers Association maintained their commitment and determination to hold an annual appeal in support of the Lord Mayor’s Fund.

Flower Day ran for almost 50 years to the mid 1970’s and raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Lord Mayor’s Fund which was distributed as grants to public hospitals and charities.

In 2013, Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation revived and launched a new Flower Day Appeal to commemorate the Foundation’s 90th anniversary.

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