Summary

Australia
Visit of the US Fleet 1908 (AD)
Mint: not recorded
Other Details: Huge celebrations surrounded the visit of the United States Navy to Australia in 1908. Prime Minister Alfred Deakin ignored Britain's concerns and established protocol when he invited the American fleet to visit. Sixteen warships arrived in Sydney harbour, welcomed by 80,000 spectators. Speeches were delievered, parties thrown and parades marched in honour of the occasion. As the fleet moved from port to port the welcome remained wildly enthusiastic. The visit was publicly associated with Australia's self-perception as a strong 'white' nation. The Lone Hand described the occasion: 'As a friendly hand across the Pacific comes to Australia - the Great White Fleet. In a flashing white it comes, as it were a symbol of a racial ideal to be upheld. Australia aspires but to hold her territory free and clean, in trust for the White Race. America's Pacific fleet helps to give us heart to hope that that ideal may be preserved.' The visit of the Great White Fleet was a significant because it linked Australia firmly with American power in the Pacific.

Obverse Description

Within branches of olive and oak, crossed flags of Australia and the USA above, IN COMMEMORATION and an American eagle; below 1908 and lion reclining right; between the flags and above the lion, a fleet of nine warships at anchor

Reverse Description

'AUSTRALIA / WELCOMES / AMERICA'.

Edge Description

plain

Significance

Prime Minister Alfred Deakin ignored Britain's concerns and established protocol when he invited the American fleet to visit. Sixteen warships arrived in Sydney harbour, welcomed by 80,000 spectators. Speeches were delievered, parties thrown and parades marched in honour of the occasion. As the fleet moved from port to port the welcome remained wildly enthusiastic. The visit was publicly associated with Australia's self-perception as a strong 'white' nation, 'free and clean'. -Forging the Nation: Australian War Memorial web site http://www.awm.gov.au/forging/.

'As a friendly hand across the Pacific comes to Australia - the Great White Fleet. In a flashing white it comes, as it were a symbol of a racial ideal to be upheld…Australia aspires but to hold her territory free and clean, in trust for the White Race. America's Pacific fleet helps to give us heart to hope that that ideal may be preserved.' - The Lone Hand

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