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Souvenir 36 Views Illustrative of the American Fleet's Visit to Australia, 1908

Date: 1908
Dimensions:
Overall: 194 x 232 mm, 5 mm, 0.1 kg
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Booklet
Object No: 00004366
Place Manufactured:Sydney

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    Description
    This booklet of post cards features an image of the crossed national flags of Australia and America on its cover. It contains 36 cards depicting views of the American Great White Fleet world tour in 1908, with a focus on the visit to Australia in August. It was published by John Sands in Sydney and offers images of the crew, fleet, American President and Sydney.
    SignificanceThis booklet is representative of the production of souvenirs to mark the visit of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908. Postcards were one of the cheapest and most popular souvenir pieces available.
    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.
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