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Postcard featuring battleship USS KENTUCKY

Date: c 1908
Overall: 85 x 135 mm
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00003801
Place Manufactured:Victoria

User Terms

    This postcard features the battleship USS KENTUCKY underway on the Great White Fleet world tour. This blue half tone print depicts the KENTUCKY from broadside port view with steam billowing from its funnels. The postcard features an overprint advertisement in red for 'Prize A.N.A. Sewing Machines' from Prahran and Bendigo in Victoria. It is one of a series of postcards issued by Ward Bros of Victoria that depict the battleships involved in the peace time world tour.
    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. It is estimated that over 25% of the Australian population participated in some way in the public occasion which was celebrated in Sydney, Melbourne and Albany.
    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.

    Launched on 24 March 1898, USS KENTUCKY was a Kearsarge-class battleship in the Fourth Division of the Great White Fleet. After the world tour, KENTUCKY was involved in operations off the Mexican coast until 1916, and acted as a training ship along the Atlantic coast during World War I. In 1920 KENTUCKY was decommissioned and eventually sold for scrap in 1924.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Postcard featuring battleship USS KENTUCKY

    Assigned title: Battleship USS KENTUCKY

    Related People
    Publisher: Ward Bros

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