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Photograph of Great White Fleet in Sydney Harbour

Date: 19 August 1908
Overall: 425 x 1110 mm
Medium: Paper, frame
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00002999
Place Manufactured:Sydney Harbour

User Terms

    This black and white souvenir panoramic photograph of Sydney Harbour, viewed from Watson's Bay, shows the American Great White Fleet at anchor. The print is dated 19 August 1908. The tour of the American Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908 generated enormous excitement amongst the Australian public and let to the production of many souvenirs and prints depicting the visit.
    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.
    Additional Titles

    Primary title: View from Watson's Bay of the U.S. Great White Fleet in Sydney Harbour

    Web title: Photograph of Great White Fleet in Sydney Harbour

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