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Invitation to the American Fleet Reception, Melbourne

Date: August 1908
Overall: 100 x 128 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Invitation
Object No: 00045884

User Terms

    This invitation to the American Fleet Reception - a 'Public Reception at the Exhibition' was produced during the visit of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908. The invitation reads 'Admit to the Grand Stand and Reserve at the Exhibition Oval, Melbourne on Monday the 31st August 1908. T Woollard, Secretary to the Southern Committee'. The visit of the American Fleet to Australia generated many ceremonial events and social functions.
    SignificancePrinted ephemera captures a moment in time and in this case it represents the enormous impact of the Great White Fleet world tour in 1908. The visit of the US Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908 generated many ceremonial events and social functions including welcomes, processions, marches and parades, receptions, dinners, banquets, sporting events, afternoon teas, luncheons, concerts, fireworks and formal presentations.
    HistoryIn 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

    Assigned title: Invitation to the American Fleet Reception, Melbourne, 31 August 1908

    Collection title: US Great White Fleet memorabilia

    Web title: Invitation to the American Fleet Reception, Melbourne

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