Summary

Heart-shaped bronze gilded medal featuring the crowned arms of Australia and the United States, shaking hands, flags and an eagle. Issued ot commemorate the visit of the US Fleet in 1908. The mint is unknown.

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 (20/8/1908) 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.

Physical Description

Heart-shaped bronze gilded medal with crowned arms of Great Britain over Arms of Australian States at centre, and eagle flying with wings spread at top, with hanging loop. Reverse features crossed flags of USA and Australia; shaking hands; and eagle flying with wings spread above shaking hands at top; small anchor at point.

Obverse Description

At top eagle flying with wings spread, at centre crowned arms of Great Britain over Arms of Australian States; around, AUSTRALIA'S CELEBRATIONS .1908.

Reverse Description

At top eagle flying with wings spread above shaking hands; at centre, crossed flags of USA and Australia; below 1908; around, WELCOME TO THE AMERICAN FLEET, small anchor at point

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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