Wednesday, April 8, 2009

US Navy Fleet Visit to Wellington, New Zealand 1925

The USS Seattle fires a salute off Oriental Bay as it enters Wellington's inner harbour. August 1925. Real photo postcard

Over at Canterbury Heritage, Mr. CH has a post on the US Navy's Pacific Fleet visit to the Port of Lyttelton in 1925.

This photo essay is a companion piece to CH's, based on a series 0f 7 real photo postcards recording the Fleet's visit to Wellington, New Zealand, headed up by the battleship USS Seattle, flagship of Admiral Robert E. Coontz, Commander in Chief of the United States Navy.

The real photo postcards were likely photographed & printed by the photographers accompanying the Fleet as happened during the 1908 Great White Fleet visit to Auckland on that fleet's around the world tour to show the Stars and Stripes to the world. Of interest to the real photo postcard collector is the stamp box on the reverse - a triangle with Gevaert within.

New Zealand Army Honour Guard presents arms at Pipitea Wharf, Wellington.
A movie camera can be seen mounted on the wall behind the guard adjacent to the sheds.

Official Welcome of the 1925 US Fleet at Parliament Buildings, Wellington

Top military brass turn out for the official welcome.
Unidentified individuals, ranks, and national origins.

The Californian dealer on eBay who offered these items for sale a couple of years ago didn't seem to know the difference between New Zealand and Australia so views of Melbourne and Wellington visits of the Fleet were intermixed. It is possible that the unidentified dignitaries in the above image are actually ones who were in attendance at the Melbourne welcome at the state legislature there.

Official reception for the 1925 US Fleet at the Wellington Town Hall.

Officers of the US Fleet attending a function or visiting some facility - given the HB Clothing Factory sign, this is most likely a visit to a Hallenstein Brothers Clothing Factory somewhere in New Zealand - Our good acquaintance the Canterbury Heritage blogmeister suggests in the comments below that the location is actually the Lyttelton railway station. Admiral Coontz is possibly the man 2nd from right, and woman immediately to left, Mrs Coontz (see photo below for further info.)

Since there is no caption or message on the reverse, the above event or visit is unidentified. In a touch of early sponsorship (?), signs for Buchanan's Whisky and HB's Clothing Factory. HB most likely is Hallenstein Brothers, a long established clothing manufacturer and retailer in New Zealand.

Admiral Coontz (most likely) in Maori cloak receives a hongi from a Maori guide while Mrs Coontz (in cloak) and US naval officers look on. Probably taken at Rotorua in the central North Island.


Canterbury Heritage said...

The photograph with the Buchanan's Whisky and Hallenstein Brother's placards appears to have been taken on the platform of the 1865-1963 Lyttelton Railway Station.

Al Nofi said...

I've seen an actual print of that picture of Adm Coontz rubbing noses with the young woman in a photo album kept in the archives of the US Naval War College.

The album was one of three put together by the admiral's aide, at Lt Sullivan. They contain hundreds of pictures he took during the voyage, as well as newspaper clippings, bannquet menus, and other ephemera

Al Nofi said...

The pic of Coontz rubbing noses with the young woman was taken by his aide, a Lt Sullivan.

There's an original print in one of several albums Sullivan compiled of the voyage, including hundreds of photgraphs, newspaper clippings, banquet menus, theater tickets, sporting schedules, and other ephemera.

The albums are in the Archives of the US Naval War College.

I'm actually rummaging for materials for a possible book on the voyage, and found your site interesting.

Al Nofi