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Albany welcomes the American Fleet. In 1908, Albany was a small city on the southwest coast of Australia, a very necessary stop for the fleet. It was an ideal location to replenish with coal because of its geographic location before competing the 3,500 transit to Manila. Albany gave the fleet a "hometown" welcome. It was not a city big in size, but it was a city big in heart and showed the sailors of the fleet a welcome as if they were coming home.
They tried to get the used bunting from Melbourne and the Band from Perth with no luck. In the end, there were parties at the Town Hall that included the Prime Minister of Western Australia playing the "Star Spangled Banner" on the piano and led the singing of "Bib Brother" through all twelve verses. Albany was the perfect place for fleet sailors to relax and tend to taking on coal.
The Pacific and South China Sea
The cabinet card at right shows the American Fleet parading through the main street of Albany. This was an historic event for the City and large format cabinet cards (photo size 5" x 7") were made to remember the celebration.
coaling the fleet
The fleet arrived and went to anchor just off of Deepwater Jetty in King George's Sound to begin the purpose of their visit, coaling. As they arrived three colliers, the Teviotdale, Tottenham, and Kildale began services immediately. Later on September 16th, the Epsom and Taurus showed up to support the fleet with an additional 5700 tons of coal. In the above photograph, two colliers can bee seen along side ships. At the far right, the stern of the HMS Gibraltar is at anchor. Gibraltar had arrived on Wednesday morning and was standing by to greet the arriving American Fleet.
Below, sailor of the fleet can be seen after coaling operations. Many times this went on for more than 12-hours
Below is a nice series of cards published by P. Falk & Company after the fleet's visit. At this point I have found 7-cards but I imagine their are more out there!
CARDS TO AND FROM THE FLEET
Below is the official Program of the Visit of the American Fleet to Western Australia. This item is part of the collection of item that Frank Lesher, USS Virgina brought back from the cruise.
Chilian Sailors Join the Parade. As the Fleet passed in the harbor at Valparaiso, the naval traing ship the General Baquedano, with Chile's President Monte, received the salutes from the American Fleet. In Albany, the General Baquedano again joined the fleet and sent sailors to march through the City. The above original photograph shows the Chilean sailors being received by the community of Albany.
st john's ANGLICAN church
For sailors of the fleet, time ashore provided an opportunity to practice their faith with a local congregation. For a sailor with the initials WBD, on September 13th he "Attended services in the little church, took a walk, and returned to the ship." He mailed this photo postcard, produced by Empire, to miss Gale Bollon of National City, California. The card was posted upon arriving in the Philippines on November 18, 1908.
Today St John's Anglican Church is still at the heart of the Albany community. The church was constructed in 1848 and is the oldest Anglican Church in Western Australia. "rich in history and tradition, but not a museum," the church invites the community and visitors to the city to join in worshiping God at services through the week.
Albany, Australia, September 15, 1908
Hello Mary Jane, I received your postals today with many thanks. I am well and having good times in Australia. I leave here the 17th for Manila, P.I., Ellsworth, USS Louisiana
The Albany Post Office is a heritage site overlooking Princess Royal Harbor. The original building was completed in 1869 with the second phase of construction in 1895. The clock tower has a spiral staircase with four clock faces. The building has had many function over the years since moving the post office to another location.
This is a card from Will, "Leave tomorrow for Manila. Expect to hear from you . Every thing is fine and dandy. Will write later. Will
Will was a sailor on the USS Kentucky who sent postcards to Ethel Chotfelter in Coffeen, Illinois. I have maybe five cards that I have picked up at different times now scattered through the ports including Algers and Gibraltar!
This one from Albany is a nice addition to this small collection!
One of the most significant lessons of the cruise around the world was its demonstration of the need of naval bases and fleet colliers. Between Hampton Roads and Colombo 311, 388 tons of coal were required for the fleet, and this had to be handled by the Bureau of Equipment almost entirely in chartered foreign collers (British) Fifty-seven vessels supported the fleet with coal during the cruise, eight were American.
In the Pacific, America had four bases that it could stop and coal, Honoluly, Pago Pago, Guam, and Manila. The chart at right shows the American naval coal stops world-wide in 1908. (The Navy Magazine December 1908). One of the difficulties of the fleet being dependent on other nations for coaling of the battleship fleet is that they failed to receive the coal as promptly, and as expeditiously as would be requested. At Albany, this was the case.
A postcard from the Frank Lesher collection: "Albany, Australia September 14, 1908. Dear Papa, We re here coaling but the coal supply is somewhat short. Have been ashore here. Expect mail today. Will write in a day or so. Frank"
Corking off Till Pipe Down: Life as a Marine onboard a Battleship. Ed Keller on the USS Kansas writes to his sister: "Corking off until pipe down or mess gear on board the USS Kansas at sea September 12, 08 on the way to Albany, Australia" on back, "Western Australia, September 17, 1908, Sister, This is the way it looks aboard a battleship. The "x" is myself."
the mayors ball, town hall, wednesday, september 16th
This was undoubtedly the social occasion of the year. How to get an invitation to this event! Printed dance cards, what a great tradition. Used by ladies to schedule dances with gentleman to prevent conflict. This young lady apparently found two from the USS Connecticut, Lieutenant Cronan and Midshipman Lynch (spelled Lench) to dance!
These three fine gentleman rode around in a wagon with a cannon and dressed up like Uncle Sam. Advertising on all sides they probably had a bottle or two to keep things entertaining!