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American fleet in Australia, steaming up Port Phillip Bay

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: 00004669
Place Manufactured:Port Phillip Bay

User Terms

    The American Great White Fleet is shown steaming up Port Phillip Bay in the direction of Port Melbourne in this stereoscope card. It is one of 35 cards depicting scenes of the American fleets visit to Australia in 1908 during its world tour. Stereoscope cards were a popular memento of the visit and were produced in sets with images of the ships, parades and decorations. These cards 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.
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    Web title: American fleet in Australia, steaming up Port Phillip Bay

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