Harry Krantz, sergeant in the 2nd AIF in 1942, recalls how troops in Darwin responded warmly to John Curtin and his simple life style.

JCPML. Records of Harry Krantz. Interview of Harry Krantz,
28 October 1996. JCPML00186. (Interviewer Isla Macphail)

'The next occasion that I've got in here [refers to notes], because I've done them in roughly a chronological order, was I went to Darwin about August 1942 in the Second AIF. And we had film shows - I think probably every night.

Different units would be allocated nights to go and possibly inside of a unit like mine, certain companies or platoons would be delegated to go one night and another, another night, because you wouldn't leave a whole place totally denuded of people.

We went in the trucks to this place and sat on the seats that they'd made out of rough bush timber. There was this screen and evidently some sort of generator to make the electricity, and we'd see the films.

Any rate, this night a short documentary was shown of Curtin and I would presume now that it was made by the Department of Information. I would regard it as one of the most important pieces of documentary information that could be in existence.

What it said about Curtin I don't recall, because at that time I would have been aware of it and therefore it wouldn't be something new that would make an impression on my mind. Probably everything that was in it, or most of what was in it, I knew about. I don't recall that.

But I recall at the end of it, it showed Mr Curtin walking along the street of Cottesloe to his little home. With him he had, whether it was on a lead or whether it wasn't I don't know, but it was a small dog and that was the end of it. Of Curtin going home to the.... with the concept of, the meaning of - this man was going to his home.

And the applause broke out from those troops and, of course, it would be mixed because the airforce and indeed the nurses from the hospital.... the army, and the airforce were nearby, and possibly some of the men from the Allied Works Council.

But the applause was just an amazing thing. Anyone who wanted to attack Curtin would have got very short shrift there that night just from the spontaneity of these things. So he had a huge impression on people. There was a real awareness of what he was doing, and it didn't need anybody to whip it up or anything else - it was spontaneous.'


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