Summary

Australia
Australia Welcomes America 1908 (AD)

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.'

Obverse Description

[?] COMMEMORATION at top. Eagle wings outspread, with USA shield, olive branch in one claw. USA and Australian flags crossed beneath eagle. Fleet of warships beneath flags. Eagle or kiwi?, lion beneath warships. 1908 at bottom. Laurel wreaths at sides.

Reverse Description

AUSTRALIA / WELCOMES / AMERICA

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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