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Australia's welcome to Uncle Sam

Date: 1908
Overall: 355 x 275 mm, 1 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Sheet music
Object No: 00029007
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This sheet music was produced to honour the arrival of the American Great White Fleet's goodwill tour in 1908. The cover depicts a three-quarter view of a cruiser and the flags of the USA, Australia and Great Britain. This visit was a momentous event for the Australian public and an exercise to demonstrate America's naval strength. This piece was written for voice and piano by Joe Slater, a prolific composer of Post-Federation patriotic marches and ballads in Australia. This booklet was sold at Albert's Music stores for 6 pennies.
    SignificanceThis sheet music represents the visit of the Great White Fleet to Australia, illustrating arising concepts of nationhood and patriotism in the early 20th century.
    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. 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.

    The first stanza of ' Australia's welcome to Uncle Sam- Boys of the USA':

    Boys of the USA
    It is proud we are to meet you
    Boys of the USA
    Right glad we are to greet you
    With the Union Jack, the stars and stripes
    And the Southern Cross unfurled
    We'll show the foe, we can hold our own
    With the wide, wide world
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Australia's welcome to Uncle Sam

    Primary title: Australia's Welcome to Uncle Sam - Boys of the U.S.A. - March Song

    Related People
    Composer: Joe Slater

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