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Old glory and the Union Jack

Date: 1908
Overall: 355 x 255 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Geoff McGregor
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00030059
Related Place:Melbourne, Bendigo, Geelong,

User Terms

    'Old Glory and the Union Jack' depicts a British flag crossed with the American stars and stripes flag, known as Old Glory. It commemorated the arrival of the US Great White Fleet tour to Australia in 1908 and was dedicated to the American Consul General, Mr John Bray. A portrait of the singer George Whitehead is printed on the booklet's cover. Whitehead sang this piece in the operetta, 'Red Mill'.
    SignificanceThis sheet music highlights the emerging alliance and cooperation between America and Australia during the early 20th century. It demonstrates the great excitement that the US Great White Fleet tour generated in Australia.
    HistoryIn December 1907, the United States' President Theodore Roosevelt sent the 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, 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 ships order was altered to put the best-looking vessels in the front of the fleet. The cruise incorporated six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports with a 614 officers and 13,504 other 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.

    The Great White Fleet made its visit to Australia after receiving a direct invitation from the Prime Minister Alfred Deakin, as the stop was not originally on the itinerary. Deakin wrote to Bray, 'I think you will be able to tell your Government what an enthusiastic, whole-hearted welcome battleships under the American flag would receive in the Commonwealth. It would be a further token of the close alliance of interests and sympathies which exist between us'.

    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. A vast array of souvenirs was produced for a population caught up in the euphoria.

    Sheet music offers an insight into popular culture and social values at the time of their production. The widely distributed pieces were sold fairly cheaply, making them popular purchases with the general public. Music was an integral part of people's social life in the home and at public events such as balls, recitals, concerts and theatre shows. From the mid-19th century many middle class families owned a piano, an important part of their social entertainment and recreation at home. Music sheets featuring waltzes, quadrilles, galops, polkas and mazurkas were everyday favourites, covering a range of themes including travel, plays and literature. The launch of a ship was a common reason for composing a piece.
    Related People
    Composer: J E Dodd

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