This week, with the International Fleet Review underway, the Past Present decided it was time to delve into the collection of tourist and photographic books to see if a photo of the original Fleet Review might be found. The current Fleet Review commemorates the Centenary of the entry of the Royal Australian Navy into Sydney Harbour in 1913.
Although there had been an Australian Squadron in the Royal Navy since 1859, and the separate Naval forces of the states were unified by Federation in 1901, becoming the Commonwealth Naval Forces, the Royal Australian Navy itself was not created until 1911. On October 4 1913, exactly 100 years ago today, the Australian Naval Fleet entered Sydney Harbour for the first time, with Sydney residents lining the shore to welcome the ships, led by HMAS Australia.
This image, a panorama from the book 85 Picturesque Photographic Views Of Sydney And Surroundings was published in 1913 and appears to show the original Royal Australian Navy Fleet entering Sydney Harbour. The book does not directly indicate that the ships are part of the Navy, but the year, 1913, the crowd gathered watching the ships and comparison to photos of the ships which were part of the Fleet suggest it is likely.