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HMS NEW ZEALAND in Sydney Harbour

Date: June 1919
Dimensions:
Overall: 82 x 103 mm, 2 mm, 0.04 kg
Medium: Emulsion on glass
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Photographer Frederick Garner Wilkinson
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Glass plate negative
Object No: 00037662
Place Manufactured:Sydney

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    Description
    HMS NEW ZEALAND is depicted in Sydney Harbour in this photograph possibly during Admiral of the Fleet Viscount John Rushworth Jellicoe's 'Tour of the Dominions'. His aim was to conduct a review of Australia’s strategic situation and to make recommendations for the Royal Australian Navy. He subsequently travelled to New Zealand where he became Governor General of New Zealand in 1920.
    SignificanceThis photograph represents HMS NEW ZEALAND, a battle cruiser during World War I which was a symbol of New Zealand's nationhood and the Royal Navy's power.

    The print is part of the F G Wilkinson Photograph Collection, comprising more than 700 glass plate negatives of ships in Sydney Harbour between 1919 and 1936. The collection provides an extensive and well-documented coverage of the changing styles of shipping in the port of Sydney before the decline of the coastal trade. The backgrounds also reveal the changing face of the city and harbour foreshores.
    HistoryFrom the very beginning of Admiral of the Fleet Viscount John Rushworth Jellicoe’s ‘Tour of the Dominions’, there was a sense that it was to be a strictly business-like and unceremonious affair. Jellicoe’s task was to visit the sovereignties of the British Empire and provide a report to the British Government on the naval status and requirements of each nation. On 20 February 1919, Admiral Jellicoe, on leaving Waterloo railway station in London for Portsmouth, declined an interview with the media saying, ‘I hate publicity’. Two days later, Admiral Jellicoe departed a blizzard-ridden Portsmouth on board HMS NEW ZEALAND.

    After visiting ports in Egypt, Gibraltar and Bombay, NEW ZEALAND then sailed for Australia. On 15 May, Jellicoe, the first Admiral of the fleet to visit Australian waters, arrived in Albany, Western Australia at 9:15am. On 30 May, after stopping briefly at Adelaide, NEW ZEALAND arrived to a ‘tumultuous’ welcome from the people of Melbourne at the St Kilda entrance. On 16 June, NEW ZEALAND arrived in Hobart, Tasmania for another short stay before sailing for Sydney and arriving on 23 June. As previous newspaper reports had indicated, there seemed to be much more hype invested in the lead up to the visit, rather than Jellicoe’s arrival. Grand statements about Jellicoe’s war prowess and reputation as a great ‘naval strategist and tactician’ seemed juxtaposed by less favourable observations that there, ‘did not appear to be the great magnetism or personality that one might mentally picture’ (‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, 24 June 1919, p 7).

    Numerous official, though low key, functions were held in Jellicoe’s honour and NEW ZEALAND spent time in Sutherland Dock in Cockatoo Island. On 16 August, Jellicoe and his ship’s company sailed for New Zealand, again ‘without outward ceremony’. Admiral Jellicoe sent a brief message to the Acting Prime Minister, William A Watt, upon departure:

    ‘I esteem It a great honour and privilege to have been entrusted with the task of advising the Government on the subject of naval defence, and my work has been greatly facilitated by the valuable help afforded me by yourself and your colleagues, as well as by all departments and officers. Lady Jellicoe and my staff and I leave Australia with deep regret, and we shall ever remember the warm-heartedness of your reception and the great kindness shown to us by all classes of the community.’
    [‘The Sydney Morning Herald’, 18 August 1919, p 8]

    HMS NEW ZEALAND

    HMS NEW ZEALAND was an Indefatigable-class battle cruiser financed by the New Zealand Government and given as a gift to the Royal Navy. It was the sister ship to HMAS AUSTRALIA I, also an Indefatigable class Battle Cruiser. It was launched on 1 July 1911. NEW ZEALAND was active during World War I in the Battle of Heligoland Bight (1914), the Battle of Dogger Bank (1915) and the Battle of Jutland (1916). Under the Washington Naval Treaty of 1922 NEW ZEALAND was sold to be broken up.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: HMS NEW ZEALAND in Sydney Harbour

    Assigned title: HMS NEW ZEALAND

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