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Australia welcomes the American fleet

Date: c 1908
Dimensions:
Overall: 90 x 140 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00003811
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    Description
    This coloured postcard was produced to coincide with the visit of the American Great White Fleet to Australia during the 1908 world tour. Hundreds of postcards were produced as souvenirs of the visit and were purchased by both American sailors and Australian spectators.

    This postcard depicts patriotic and nationalistic symbols in its design, including the British, Australian and American flags, a kangaroo and eagle as well as the world globe. The centre of the postcard features the fleet steaming forward with the phrase 'Australia welcomes the American fleet' above it.
    SignificanceAustralia welcomed the United States’ Great White Fleet tour in 1908 through the production of souvenir items such as this postcard, highlighting the excitement the visit generated within the Australian public. Memorabilia made to coincide with the occasion emphasised the mutual union between the countries and the good will of the Australian nation toward its American ally.
    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.
    Badges, medallions, pins, postcards and photographs all reflected the euphoria generated by the visit of a potential new and powerful ally. The postcards typically represent America and Australia as cooperative partners and commonly depict national motifs including flags, emblems and banners.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Australia welcomes the American fleet

    Primary title: 'AUSTRALIA WELCOMES THE AMERICAN FLEET', SHOWS THE AUSTRALIAN, AMERICAN AND BRITISH FLAGS WITH THE AMERICAN FLEET IN THE BACKGROUND, RELATING TO VISIT OF US FLEET TO AUSTRALIA IN 1908.

    Related People
    Publisher: CB and Co

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