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Menu and program from naval celebrations collected by Vittorio Benvenuti

Date: 1919 - 1924
Medium: Paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS0516

User Terms

    This archive collection is made up of a menu and program collected by Signor Vittorio Benvenuti from naval functions at which he performed. The menu is from a dinner hosted by the United Service Club in Sydney for officers from the British Royal Navy's Special Service Squadron during their visit to Australia on their world cruise in 1923-24. The orchestral program - in the shape of a life buoy with string as rope - is from a Queensland Parliamentary dinner to officers of HMAS MELBOURNE (I) and her consorts.
    SignificanceThese items relate to celebrations of a visiting British Naval vessel and the successful return of HMAS MELBOURNE (I). They highlight the importance of the strong links between the Royal Australian Navy and the British Royal Navy, and the success and importance of the Royal Australian Navy in its own right.
    HistoryThe Benvenuti family emigrated to Australia in 1871 in response to an open invitation from Bishop James Quinn of Brisbane to help build a 'cultural life' in his diocese. The Benvenuti family have been credited as the pioneers of classical music in Brisbane, and all went on to make significant contibutions to the Brisbane music scene. Vittorio Benvenuti was directed the The Gaiety Theatre orchestra, and performed at functions organised by Queensland rowing and sailing clubs. He was the orchestra director at the Queensland parlimentary dinner to officers of HMAS MELBOURNE in 1919.

    During 1923-1924, the British Special Service Squadron undertook the Empire Cruise, a world tour that stopped at many countries who fought and held allegiance with Britain in World War I. The tour started on 27 November 1923 and lasted until 28 September 1924. The public relations exercise was an attempt to express Britain's world sea power, particularly relevant in the aftermath of World War I. The fleet consisted of H M Ships HOOD, REPULSE, the light cruisers DELHI, DRAGON, DAUNTLESS, DANAE and DUNEDIN with nine other supporting vessels. Various dinners, programs, marches, social and sporting events were held in each Australian port the Squadron visited, and many souvenirs were produced ranging from badges and booklets to dinner menus and programs. Vittorio Benvenuti was the Director of music at this event which included toasts to the King and Guests, singing God Save the King and a menu of hors d'oeuvres, soup, fish, entree, roast, vegetables, desserts, fruit, coffee and liqueurs.

    HMAS MELBOURNE (I) was a Town class light cruiser built by Cammell Laird at Birkenhead in England in 1911 and launched on 30 May 1912. MELBOURNE was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy on 18 January 1913. The cruiser was involved in the pursuit of the German raider SMS EMDEN in 1914, and served on the North America and West Indies Stations from 1914 to 1916 before joining the Grand Fleet in the North Sea, where it was stationed for the remainder of the war. After the war the ships of the RAN returned to a heroic welcome which began in Brisbane in May 1919 with MELBOURNE's officers treated to a special dinner and concert. The 'Orchestral Programme' commemorates this event.

    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Menus collected by Vittorio Benvenuti for naval functions that he performed; these items relate to celebrations of a visiting British naval vessel and the successful return of HMAS MELBOURNE

    Web title: Menu and program from naval celebrations collected by Vittorio Benvenuti

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