Father’s Day in Australia is September 5, 2010

The Origin of Fathers Day.

Father’s Day, was inaugurated in the early 20th century, to complement Mother’s Day and to recognise  the role of Fatheringand the part men play in Parenting.

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While listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in her church in Spokane, Washington, USA in 1910,Sonora Smart Dodd conceived the idea of a special day to honour Fathers.

When Sonora Smart was only 16 years old, her mother died while giving birth to her sixth child.

Sonora wanted a celebration that honoured fathers like her own father, William Smart, a Civil War veteran who was left to raise his family alone

Sonora’s father was born on the 5th of June, so she wanted to hold the event on that day.  However the first Father’s Day celebration was not held until the 19th of June 1910, in Spokane, Washington (See # below)

Young members of the Young Men’s  Christian Association (YMCA) went to church wearing roses: a red rose for those whose fathers were living and a white rose for those who had died.

There were many attempts to have the day recognised officially but this was resisted for various reasons

Official Recognition of Father’s Day

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson issued the first presidential proclamation honouring fathers, designating the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Six years later, the day was made a permanent national holiday when President Richard Nixon signed it into law in 1972.

Father’s Day is now celebrated all over the world but the date varies from country to country.  It  typically involves giving special Father’s Day cards and presents, , special dinners for fathers and family oriented Father’s Day activities

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In Australia, Father’s Day is remembered on the 1st Sunday in September; this year 2010, it is on the 5th.

#.   A little know fact is that the First modern day observance of Father’s Day actually took place in Fairmont, West Virginia on July 5, 1908. The special day was organized by Mrs. Grace Golden Clayton, who wanted to celebrate the lives of the 210 fathers who had been lost in the Monongah Mining disaster several months earlier in Monongah, West Virginia, on December 6, 1907. This day was not registered as an official event at the time.  The First Father’s Day Church, now the Central United Methodist Church, still stands in Fairmont today

Historians have recorded that there was a tradition to celebrate Father’s Day even thousands of years ago. Their  records tell us that 4,000 years ago in Babylon, a son called Elmesu carved a father’s day message on a clay card. In his message Elmesu wished his father a long and healthy life. It is not known what happened to Elmesu and his father but it is believed that several countries retained the custom of celebrating Father’s Day.


In my next article I plan to consider the “Role and Responsibility” of being a father and in Part 3 give a tribute to My Father.

I hope that you my reader can remember your father with pride and pleasure and honour him on this Father’s Day.

Doctor Bill