Commonwealth Bank Chambers, Murray Street
The first floor of the Commonwealth Bank Chambers at 242 Murray Street contained rooms for federal members and also included offices for the Organising Secretary of the State War Loan Committee and the Commonwealth Savings Bank, while the second floor accommodated the Commonwealth Attorney General, the Commonwealth Investigation Bureau, the Department of Supply and Shipping, and other similar bodies. 1
Federal members congregated there and Peter Ewing, Commonwealth roundsman for the Daily News, (also representing the Melbourne Herald and the Sydney Sun) used to 'go and see who was there and talk to anybody who was ready to be talked to. Because Mr Curtin was there … I just got to know him that way. … he was such a decent, nice man it was almost like going to see a friend in a way.' 2
Some staff including Gladys Joyce and Fred McLaughlin were required to travel with Prime Minister Curtin. Gladys Joyce made several trips to Perth but tried to share travel out among other staff. 3
He wouldn’t come into the office every day … we’d either send things out to his home or he would call in now and again, but if there was anything urgent it would have to go to him straight away. But on the whole when he went to Perth it was to try and have a little bit of a break.
Forrest Place in Perth, 1949, showing the General Post
Office and the Commonwealth Bank building.
A teleprinter was first installed in Perth in the war
years to facilitate communication. This photograph shows Miss Ina Kirby,
telegraphist at the General Post Office in Brisbane from 1943 to 1952
operating a teleprinter.
|An office at home in Cottesloe for
Prime Minister Curtin
Even when the Prime Minister scheduled 'a few days rest' at home, Curtin's Cottesloe house became an outpost of the office, as the Melbourne Herald reported on 26 August 1943.
For the first time in 22 months the Prime Minister (Mr Curtin) is having several days consecutive rest – as far as his official duties will permit.
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. Records of the Curtin Family. Curtin house, 24 Jarrad St Cottesloe, 1943. JCPML00376/36