Search the Collection
Advanced Search

American fleet in Sydney, USS KEARSARGE and KENTUCKY

Date: 1908
Overall: 178 mm
Medium: Photographic image on card
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Stereoscope card
Object No: 00004691
Place Manufactured:Sydney

User Terms

    This stereoscope card depicts the American fleet's USS KEARSARGE and KENTUCKY arriving into Sydney, Australia. It is one of 35 cards featuring scenes of the fleet's visit to Australia in 1908. Stereoscope cards were a popular memento and were produced in sets with images of the ships, parades and decorations. They allowed the viewer to see a photograph as a three-dimensional image.

    SignificanceThis stereoscope card represents the visit of the American Great White Fleet to Melbourne, Australia in 1908 and the production of souvenir items as keepsakes. It demonstrates the excitement the visit generated in the Australian public.
    HistoryThe Rose Stereograph Company was based in Melbourne and was founded in 1880 by George Rose. It is estimated that the company produced at least 9000 stereo cards, offering a variety of images from a number of countries. The Great White Fleet's visit to Australia was a highly anticipated public event that generated many souvenirs including a set of stereoscope cards offering views of the fleet around Melbourne.

    In 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.

    USS KENTUCKY was a Kearsarge-class battleship commissioned on 15 May 1900. Soon after its commission KENTUCKY joined the Asiatic Station and was one of the battleships used in the Great White Fleet goodwill tour of 1907 to 1909. It was involved in subsequent operations in Mexico and acted as a training vessel during World War I. KENTUCKY was decommissioned on 29 May 1920 and sold for scrap.

    USS KEARSAGE was commissioned into the US Navy on 20 September 1900 and was made flagship of the North Atlantic Station. In this role KEARSAGE was involved in operations in Cuba and the Mediterranean. From 1907 to 1909 KEARSAGE was active in the Great White Fleet goodwill tour. During World War I the vessel was used as a training ship and in World War II conducted support services. It was sold for scrap on 9 August 1955.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: American fleet in Sydney, USS KEARSARGE and KENTUCKY

    Assigned title: The USS KEARSARGE and KENTUCKY

    Related People

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.