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USS ENTERPRISE boatswain’s whistle

Date: 1964
Overall: 25 × 120 × 20 mm, 23 g
Medium: Metal
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Jeff Allan
Classification:Sound communication
Object Name: Whistle
Object No: 00054830
Related Place:United States, Australia,

User Terms

    A boatswain’s whistle from the USS ENTERPRISE (CVN-65), the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier to visit Sydney
    Around 200 spectator craft followed 'The Big E,' down the Harbour, and an estimated 100,000 lined the shores. She received almost 10.000 visitors during her stay.
    During this visit in 1964, which was widely celebrated in Sydney, seven of her crew went AWOL and were left behind. But the ENTERPRISE did add a member to their ship for the return journey - a two year old female kangaroo named Matilda who was a gift from Taronga Zoo to the Norfolk Zoo in Virginia.

    This whistle was a gift from the USS ENTERPRISE'S boatswain (boson), Chief Smith to Vanessa Roberson who collected mainly US Navy (but including RCN, RAN, RN and Matson line) ship souvenirs, letters, book matches, badges and invitations of ship visits to Sydney in the period between 1950 and 1980.
    SignificanceThis boatswain's whistle is from the USS ENTERPRISE, the first nuclear powered aircraft carrier to visit Sydney and at 342 metres, was the longest warship in world history.
    HistoryWhile the visit of USS ENTERPRISE made a significant local impact, the effect of such a welcome visit on the American sailors was also noticeable. A reflection by one ENTERPRISE sailor was later written in the Navy News (30 October 1964, Vol.7-No.27):
    "On the evening before we went to Sydney Commander Robertson of the Royal Australian Navy was interviewed on the ships TV station WENT-TV. When he told us that we could ride free in public transportation, that social and sports clubs would welcome us as honorary members during our stay, that many families had extended invitations to us to be their guests, we felt sure this would be one of our best liberty ports. But none of this prepared us adequately for the almost unbelievable and certainly indescribable hospitality provided by the people of Sydney.
    On Friday, September 4, at about 1300 after we had given an air demonstration for dignitaries of that city, we turned toward lands’ end and from a distance of five miles it seemed like we were heading straight for the beach. As we got closer we saw an opening in the landmass and began to get our first look at the headlands that stand as sentinels at the entrance of this beautiful harbour.
    We soon discovered that what looked like flowers on the cliffs were really people, an estimated 100, 000 had come down to welcome us. Almost as soon as we passed through the Heads people in boats of all descriptions came out to escort us in. About 200 boats formed an enthusiastic but well-ordered escort.
    When the C-note announced that the anchor had been lowered 'Liberty Call' was piped and thus began what was the best liberty any of us had ever made, even though some had been in the Navy more than 20 years.
    Sydney was in a holiday mood.
    Every newspaper had the 'Big E' on its front page, every Sydney family had the American sailors on their minds and in their hearts. We were treated like kings and we acted the part, prompting the Police Chief to comment on a radio show that we were the friendliest, best behaved group of sailors he had ever seen.
    To try and describe our visit in greater detail is futile. We left Sydney better men, with more self-respect and with a deep conviction to flatter our hosts in the best possible way, by imitating them in their kindness to others."

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