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Visit of the Fleet of the United States of America

Date: 1908
Dimensions:
Overall: 150 x 100 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Program
Object No: 00044520

User Terms

    Description
    This souvenir program was produced for the 'Visit of the Fleet of the United States of America' to Sydney from 20 to 27 August 1908. The program was issued by the Commonwealth Government and inside contains details about the visit and an image of the Great White Fleet flagship USS CONNECTICUT. The program was published by William Applegate Gullick, Government Printers, to commemorate the visit by the American Fleet to Australia in 1908.
    SignificanceThe visit of the American Great White Fleet in 1908 was an event of enormous proportions. Souvenir items such as this postcard demonstrate the excitement the visit generated amongst the Australian public. Memorabilia made to coincide with the occasion emphasised the mutual union between the countries and the good will of the Australian nation toward its American ally.
    HistoryLaunched on 29 September 1904, USS CONNECTICUT was a Connecticut-class battleship and was considered the most advanced ship in the United States Navy when she was commissioned in 1906. She served as the flagship for both the Jamestown Expedition and the Great White Fleet of 1907.

    In December 1907 United States President Theodore Roosevelt sent a US Atlantic Battle Fleet of 16 battleships on a 14 month goodwill cruise around the world. The fleet was a chance for the Navy to practice seamanship and express America's world power. Roosevelt was also concerned about rising Japanese aggression and their expansionist foreign policy. The cruise would be a political and public relations exercise to build domestic support for more naval construction.

    Led by the flagship, USS CONNECTICUT, the Great White Fleet as it became known, consisted of 16 battleships painted white, as was the practice of all US Navy ships in times of peace. The ships sailed in four divisions of four ships each. Early in the voyage the order of the ships was altered to allow the best-looking vessels to be at the front of the fleet. The cruise incorporated six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports with 614 officers and 13,504 crew. It consumed 435,000 tons of coal, more than any other naval expedition and was the largest fleet to ever accomplish a circumnavigation of the globe.

    Australia was not originally on the itinerary route of the Great White Fleet, who only decided to visit after receiving a direct invitation from the Prime Minister Alfred Deakin. One quarter of the Australian population, over one million people, saw the Great White Fleet during its three-week visit to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. Public holidays were declared and enthusiastic crowds flocked to see the ships and parades. Vast arrays of souvenirs were produced for a population caught up in the euphoria.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Visit of the Fleet of the United States of America

    Primary title: Visit of the Fleet of the United States of America

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