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Artwork for an invitation to a public reception for the Fleet of the United States of America

Date: 1908
Overall: 230 x 301 mm, 1 mm, 0.05 kg
Medium: Board, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Anthony Walsh
Object Name: Invitation
Object No: 00027947
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This original artwork for the Sydney public reception and State banquet in honour of American Rear Admiral Sperry and the United States Fleet incorporates many iconic images, including native flora, flags and government buildings that were used during the visit. The colour lithograph shows a woman holding the national flags of Australia and America, while an American battleship steams past.
    SignificanceThis invitation is representative of the visit of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908 and the public receptions, ceremonies and parades that were organised in honour of the fleet.
    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

    Web title: Artwork for an invitation to the public reception for the fleet of the United States of America

    Primary title: Artwork for an invitation to a public reception for the Fleet of the United States of America

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