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Procession passing G.P.O., Sydney Fleet Celebrations

Date: 1908
Overall: 83 x 135 mm, 0.004 kg
Medium: Hand coloured silver gelatin print on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00028763
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This postcard depicts the United States' sailors of the Great White Fleet as they march past the General Post Office in Martin Place, Sydney. A handwritten personal note has been inscribed on the back reading 'Dear Lily, this is another one to your collection. I hope you like this one. Charlie'. Postcards served as popular souvenir and keepsake during the American fleet’s world tour in 1908.
    SignificanceAustralia welcomed the United State’s Great White Fleet tour in 1908 through the production of souvenir items such as this postcard, which demonstrate the excitement the visit caused in the Australian public.
    HistoryVast arrays of souvenirs were produced for a population caught up in the euphoria generated by the Great White Fleet's world tour in 1908. Badges, medallions, pins, postcards and photographs all reflected the enthusiasm surrounding a potential new and powerful ally. These postcards typically represent America and Australia as cooperative partners and commonly depict national motifs including flags, emblems and banners. In a time prior to the prevalence of photographs postcards were also a visual record of the event, allowing people to visualise the parades, buildings, public ceremonies and ships associated with the visit.

    The tour was the result of United States President Theodore Roosevelt's decision to send 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, 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.

    Additional Titles

    Web title: Procession passing GPO Sydney Fleet Celebrations

    Primary title: Procession passing G.P.O., Sydney Fleet Celebrations

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