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Public Schools Demonstration Sydney NSW to the American Fleet on its visit to Australia

Date: 1908
Overall: 463 x 405 x 21 mm, 1.7 kg
Medium: Lithograph on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Certificate
Object No: 00004841
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    This commemorative certificate was awarded to Victoria Webb of Surrey Hills South Public School for taking part in the public demonstration at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 26 August 1908. The demonstration was organised to welcome and celebrate the arrival of the American Great White Fleet to Australia. Other events and competitions were organised for the occasion including student demonstrations, naval reviews, banquets and activities such as Maypole dances.
    SignificanceThis certificate represents the involvement of school children in organised activities for the visit of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908.
    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 Australian public greeted the Fleet with unbridled enthusiasm. In Sydney, and a few days later in Melbourne, crowds of between 400,000 and 600,000 turned out to welcome the ships. Streets were decorated and special events were planned throughout the week. A five-story copy of the Statue of Liberty was built on top of the offices of 'The Daily Telegraph'.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Public Schools Demonstration Sydney NSW to the American Fleet on its visit to Australia

    Primary title: Public Schools Demonstration Sydney N.S.W. to the American Fleet on its Visit to Australia

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