Search the Collection
Advanced Search

We're all one

Date: 1908 - 1911
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: 00015319

User Terms

    John Bull, the national personification of the United Kingdom is depicted alongside an Australian kangaroo and an American eagle in this postcard. It was printed to coincide with the arrival of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908 and was an attempt to express solidarity between the three countries. Postcards became the most popular and readily available souvenirs of the visit, being bought by both American sailors and Australian spectators.
    SignificanceThis postcard represents memorabilia produced as part of the American Great White Fleet tour to Australia in 1908. It demonstrates the developing political allegiance between Australia and the United States at the time.
    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.

    The Great White Fleet's tour had a lasting impact on political alliances during the early 20th century. In 1901 following the formation of the Australian Federation the Australian government became increasingly aware that existing naval forces did not provide adequate protection. Apart from a few outdated vessels of its own Australia relied on British Admiralty ships and crews. With the formation of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1902, Britain withdrew its battleships from the Pacific leaving the defence of the British Empire to the Japanese. White Australia had little faith in this arrangement and saw America as an alternative ally. As a result of the 1908 visit, the Australian-American alliance was established, Australia reduced its reliance on the British Royal Navy and established the Royal Australian Navy.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: We're all one

    Primary title: We're all one

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.