World Donkey Day and Week was created to pay homage to a creature who has played and still plays a pivotal role in the rural economy and urban goods transport in many parts of the world.
While donkeys (Equus asinus) display many horse-like characteristics, they are more closely related to wild asses which originated in Africa and parts of Asia. Donkeys were brought to Australia from 1866 for use as pack and haulage animals. Until that point, Australians had been using the horse as their main mode of transportation. However, problems arose when the horses used in transportation began to become sickened by some of the native poisonous plants. When hardy donkeys proved invulnerable to the native plants, more were brought in. Escape was common because of the lack of fences, and there were reported herds of feral donkeys by the 1920s.
This tartan was commissioned by Australian donkey breeders to recognise all breeds of donkeys and to commemorate their assistance with man throughout history. This tartan was officially released on the 4th of October 2006, the Feast of St Francis, patron Saint of animals. For more about Australia's wild donkeys, click the picture above.