The first mention of Father’s Day in the Australian press seems to be nearly a hundred years ago in a mention in the Adelaide Register of 10 December 1913 based on a search of the National Library of Australia’s Trove newspaper database using the keywords “Fathers day” and “first Sunday”.
It is a very bah humbug approach buried on page 12 and referencing the new creation of the United States and quoting the New York Post:
|FATHER’S DAY. (1913, December 10). The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 – 1929), p. 12. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article57131432|
There is a slightly earlier article along the same lines in the Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW : 1895 – 1930) Sunday 7 December 1913 on page 8.
The next article coming up on my search of Trove is from The Daily News of Perth in November 1922:
|CONGREGATIONAL. (1922, November 4). The Daily News (Perth, WA : 1882 – 1950), p. 8. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article83152778|
There seems to be no explanation as to why the first Sunday in November was chosen. From the Wikipedia article on Father’s Day, it seems that currently nowhere in the world chooses to celebrate Fathers on the first Sunday in November though there are a great diversity of days used for the celebration.
In 1927, the Cairns Post among other newspapers advised that New South Wales had chosen the first Sunday in November to be Father’s Day:
|FOR MATRONS. (1927, June 14). Cairns Post (Qld. : 1909 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40561212|
It seems that it was a Country Womens’ Association Conference of 1927 that adopted this date. (FATHERS’ DAY. (1928, October 26). The Land (Sydney, NSW : 1911 – 1954), p. 15. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/page/11391572)
There was no consistency however as the Adelaide Advertiser reported a church in Balaklava would be celebrating Father’s Day Service on Sunday 5 August 1928. (CHURCH NOTES. (1928, August 4). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1931), p. 26. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73716644) Similarly a letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald in 1931 advises that the Methodist Church in Dulwich Hill had celebrated Father’s Day on the first Sunday in August for the past 4 or 5 years. (FATHER’S DAY. (1931, September 2). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16822924)
1935 is the first mention I have found for the adoption of our current date of the first Sunday in September for celebrating Father’s Day in Australia.
|S.A. Fathers’ Day Kept For First Time. (1935, September 2). The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 – 1954), p. 14. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article40071604|
I haven’t found any mention in my searches of Trove of the state of Victoria having adopted the observance earlier than this.
I wasn’t looking for advertising – another search for another day – but I came across this via advertorial text in the middle of the page:
|TRADERS’ GIFT SUGGESTIONS FOR FATHER’S DAY. (1941, September 3). Recorder (Port Pirie, SA : 1919 – 1954), p. 3. Retrieved August 31, 2013, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article96308217|
No power tools but slippers, ties, shirts – some things remain the same in the commercialisation of such celebrations.
Without fathers we wouldn’t be here – so to all the past and present fathers in my family tree, Happy Father’s day for tomorrow.