‘The Great White Fleet’ visit to Australia, 1908.
In 1907 the American Fleet started a 15 month, 45,000 mile circumnavigation of the globe, calling in to Sydney, Melbourne and Albany. On August the 20th, 1908, over 500 people welcomed 16 white painted battleships and 5 auxiliaries bearing 14,000 sailors arrive at Sydney. Alfred Deakin had approached President Roosevelt to arrange this visit, as despite Australia’s loyalty to ‘The Empire’, there was little real commitment to protect Australia by the Royal Navy, and the Nation felt vulnerable. There was a desire for a closer relationship with this powerful naval presence in the Pacific region.
Souvenirs, such as the button (from Joyce’s collection) and postcard (from Carol’s) were sold.
The image of the button is not clear; but bears two hands clasped in friendship above the year 1908 between the crossed flags of out nations. In that era, Australia used the ‘Red Ensign’.