At home in the war years
John Curtin's personal secretary, Gladys Joyce, recalls how war time rationing affected even the Prime Minister

JCPML. Records of Gladys Joyce. Interview of Gladys Joyce,
3 July 1997. JCPML00210. (Interviewer Isla Macphail)

"I had a funny occasion in Western Australia on one occasion, which I didn't think did much justice to your Western Australian people.

He had a birthday while we were there and I had an awful lot of people writing him and we had to reply and I used to have to get airmail stickers and stamps at frequent [intervals] and I went down to the post office and I said to the girl, "Can't you give me more than five at a time? I'm trying to handle the Prime Minister's mail and there's an awful lot of letters."

She said, "I wouldn't care if he was the King of England - five is the allowance." So they weren't very sympathetic to their only Western Australian Prime Minister.

Extraordinary how some people behave! I'm sure that she wasn't given such a strict rule that she couldn't have given me more than five, so I had to keep pressing down stairs to get another five because when he had something special like that you'd be likely to have, you know, two or three hundred letters in.

Anyway, they're the sort of things that you strike when you're travelling around. Some people are sympathetic; some people aren't."


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