Although Mother’s Day was established in the United States in 1905, the Australian tradition of Mother’s Day didn’t take form until the 1920s.
In 1924 Janet Heyden, from Leichhardt in Sydney, started the Australian tradition of giving gifts to mums on Mother’s Day.
Heyden was on the committee of the Home for Destitute Women and Children in Strathfield, and she was visiting a patient who had been transferred to Newington State Home.
“That was when I decided something should be done to brighten the lonely lives of the mothers there. I organised gifts for them on Mother’s Day,” Heyden told the Sydney Morning Herald in 1954.
“Even a little remembrance like hairpins (they wouldn’t be much good these days, would they?), a hankie or a cake of soap meant a lot to people like that.”
But then Heyden thought – why stop there? She appealed to the wider public – through the local newspapers – and soon the gifts were pouring in.