This hand coloured photograph commemorates the visit of the United States Great White Fleet to Australia in 1908. It depicts the Central Post Office and Martin Place in Sydney illuminated with bright lights and the wording 'Australia's greetings' and 'Australia welcomes America' illuminated on the facades. Postcards were the most popular and cheap souvenir available to mark the American fleet's visit. They commonly featured depictions of the ships, ceremonies, parades and iconic national motifs of America, Britain and Australia.
In December 1907 United States President Theodore Roosevelt sent the US Atlantic Battle Fleet of 16 battleships, all painted white in peacetime colours, on a 14 month goodwill cruise around the world. The voyage came at a time of tense relations between Japan and America and gave the US an opportunity to demonstrate its blue-water naval capabilities as well as strengthen diplomatic ties. The fleet arrived in Australia on 20 August 1908.
For more information on lightshows of the past, see our blog
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Object number: 00015345
Owner: Australian National Maritime Museum on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons