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The Great Naval Parade, Sydney

Date: 23 August 1908
Overall: 86 x 137 mm
Medium: Cardboard, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00015351
Place Manufactured:Chattanooga

User Terms

    The arrival of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908 generated great public excitement and ceremony. This postcard shows the great naval parade taking place in Sydney on 23 August 1908. Spectators lined Sydney's streets to view the march of American uniformed navel officers. This card has the handwritten note reading 'Mr Phillip Herbert 13 West Place St Salem' on its reverse. It was likely purchased by one of the American fleet's sailors in Sydney and was posted on the 6 July 1909.
    SignificanceThis postcard demonstrates the type of memorabilia produced to celebrate the arrival of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908. It highlights the public spectacle and ceremony associated with the event.
    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: The great naval parade, Sydney, Australia

    Primary title: The Great Naval Parade, Sydney

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