Note: This description below includes white superiority messaging. Such attitudes and beliefs are not condoned by Museums Victoria which considers them to be racist. Historical distance and context does not excuse or erase this fact.

Medal issued for 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 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 linked Australia firmly with American power in the Pacific.

Obverse Description

At centre within broad blue enameled rim, crowned arms of Great Britain surrounded by shields of the Australian States; all in front of crossed enamelled flags of Britain and the USA; around on rim, VISIT OF AMERICAN FLEET . SOUVENIR .

Reverse Description

At centre within broad blue enameled rim, a map of Australia with AUSTRALIA across main continent; around on rim, COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA . 1908 .

Edge Description


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