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Postcard of the Australian and American flag for the USA Great White Fleet tour to Australia

Date: c 1908
Overall: 90 x 140 mm
Medium: Printed ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Classification:Posters and postcards
Object Name: Postcard
Object No: 00003803
Place Manufactured:Australia

User Terms

    An image of the Australian and American national flags crossed over a banner inscribed 'Pluribus Unum' - (from many comes one) is shown on this postcard. It was produced to coincide with the visit of the American Great White Fleet to Australia during the 1908 world tour. 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.
    SignificanceThis postcard is representative of the American Great White Fleet tour in 1908 and the mutually beneficial relationship between America and Australia that was forming in the early 20th century. Postcards became the most common and popular souvenir made to mark the momentous occasion.
    HistoryIn 1907 American President Roosevelt ordered the Atlantic Battle Fleet of the US Navy on an ambitious voyage around the world. In December 1907 led by the flagship CONNECTICUT, the Atlantic Fleet consisted of 16 battleships painted white as all US Navy ships were in times of peace. The ships sailed in four divisions of four ships each and visited six continents, 26 countries and 32 ports. It carried 614 officers, 13,504 other crew and consumed 435,000 tons of coal, more than any other naval expedition. It was the largest fleet to ever accomplish a circumnavigation.

    At the time of Australian Federation in 1901 the Australian government became increasingly aware that existing naval forces did not provide adequate protection. Apart from a few outdated vessels of its own Australia relied on British Admiralty ships and crews. With the formation of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance in 1902, Britain withdrew its battleships from the Pacific leaving the defence of the British Empire to the Japanese. White Australia had little faith in this arrangement and saw America as an alternative ally.

    As a result of the 1908 visit, the Australian-American alliance was established, Australia reduced its reliance on the British Royal Navy and established the Royal Australian Navy.

    In 1909 the British Government, aware of Australia's dissatisfaction with British policies and disturbed by the enthusiastic reception of the American Fleet, decided to make concessions. It recommended that Australia build its own fleet of 13 vessels. Thus the visit of the American Fleet led directly to the creation of the Royal Australian Navy.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: Postcard of the Australian and American flag for the USA Great White Fleet tour to Australia


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