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Queen Victoria receiving the ship RESOLUTE

Date: 1908
Dimensions:
Overall: 88 x 138 mm
Medium: Card, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00015365

User Terms

    Description
    This postcard was produced to commemorate the American Great White Fleet visit to Australia in 1908. The postcard is titled, and features an image of 'Her late Majesty Queen Victoria receiving the ship RESOLUTE, from the American people at Cowes, Isle of Wight, Dec. 1856'. The RESOLUTE was a Royal Navy vessel which became trapped in ice in the Arctic in 1852 before being rescued by an American whaler in 1855 and presented as a gesture of goodwill to Queen Victoria and Britain in 1856. Postcards produced to commemorate the Fleet visit often featured patriotic and nationalistic symbols or events in their design.
    SignificanceThe visit of the American Great White Fleet in 1908 was an event of enormous proportions. Souvenir items such as this postcard demonstrate the excitement the visit generated amongst the Australian public. Memorabilia made to coincide with the occasion emphasised the mutual union between the countries and the good will of the Australian nation toward its American ally.
    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 HMS RESOLUTE was a British Royal Navy ship which became trapped in ice while undertaking an Arctic expedition in 1852 to search for the missing British explorer Sir John Franklin. The RESOLUTE was rescued by an American whaler in 1855 and presented to Queen Victoria at a time when diplomatic relations between the two countries were strained. The presentation of the RESOLUTE as a gesture of goodwill in 1856, helped to ease these tensions.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Queen Victoria receiving the ship RESOLUTE

    Primary title: QUEEN VICTORIA RECEIVING THE SHIP RESOLUTE

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