A new era

John CurtinPrime Minister John Curtin, c.1942. JCPML00376/9

Beyond Broome
At the end of 1942 Prime Minister John Curtin managed to push through the ratification of the Statute of Westminister in order to declare Australia a self-governing Dominion of the British Empire and a fully independent state, free from British control and able to form its own defence and foreign policies.

He used his wartime prime ministership to further his dream for a fair and just society, implementing Labor programs in the areas of economic reform, social services, immigration, education and foreign policy. In 1944 he set up the Department of Immigration to organise postwar immigration to Australia. All these changes were the basis for the enormous growth of the Australian economy in the postwar years.

After an overseas trip to visit President Roosevelt in Washington and attend the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference in London in mid-1944, Curtin's health began to deteriorate. At the end of April 1945 Curtin was admitted to a private hospital in Canberra and after several weeks returned to the Lodge where he remained until his death on 5 July 1945.

After a lying-in-state in King's Hall in Canberra, his body was flown to Perth and he was buried at Karrakatta Cemetery.




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