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On the March from Port Melbourne to the City of Melbourne

Date: 1908
Overall: 88 x 138 mm
Medium: Cardboard, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00015361
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 from Port Melbourne to the City of Melbourne on 31 August 1908. Spectators lined Melbourne's streets to view the march of American uniformed naval officers. The reverse bears the name 'Miss Ruby Baker' who was probably sent this card some time during the fleet’s tour. Cards such as this were the most popular and readily available souvenir commemorating the event.
    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 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. Vast 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. The postcards typically represent America and Australia as cooperative partners and commonly depict national motifs including flags, emblems and banners.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: On the March from Port Melbourne to the City of Melbourne, 31 August 1908

    Web title: On the March from Port Melbourne to the City of Melbourne

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