Extract from "Our Friend, John Curtin"
by Victor Courtney
"Our friend, John Curtin, has gone from us.
It seems more fitting to say "our friend" than "our Prime Minister".
He has been our Prime Minister for 3 years. He has been our friend for
more than a quarter of a century.
John Curtin was part of our everyday life long before he was Prime Minister.
He figured in our ordinary affairs. He travelled up and down by train
or bus from Cottesloe, went to lunch at city cafes, to pictures and
meetings, and football and cricket matches, moved about among us.
Then he became Prime Minister.
But the change-over did not change the man. When he came back he still
moved about in the same way, called to see his old friends in the little
spare time he had, met and chatted with people in the streets, moved
and mixed as he did in the old days..."
"Tribute" by Victor Courtney
The tired statesman's cares are laid aside,
And he who filled so loyally his part,
In so much of our pain and toil and pride
Seems closer now unto the people's heart.
He sought no glories that the selfish need
No tinsel, nor was moved by blame or praise,
In simple manly faith he came to lead
Australia in Australia's darkest days.
We mourn him, and in mourning him we know
Such men in any nation's life are rare.
'Tis bitter truth that only when they go
We realise the load they had to bear.
No poignant words are needed to convey
Our loss, or deeper tragedy to lend.
"He was our chosen leader," we can say,
But even more than that - he was our friend.
Extract from "There'll Never Be Another
Like Him" by Donald Rodgers, Press Secretary to Mr. Curtin for
the Past 8 Years
"...there'll never be another like him. The world has already said
that and he is, by unamimous consent, Australia's greatest son. But
I walked with him in second rate country hotels and on cold railway
platforms, at the Savoy Hotel, London, at Buckingham Palace, and I know
why there'll never be another like him....
Countless examples of his retention of the common touch after he became
Prime Minister could be quoted. I sum them up by saying that today the
people who will miss John Curtin most are:
- People like the girls who worked in the office, drove the lifts,
waited on the table at the Victoria Palace Hotel, Melbourne
- The ex-digger night porter at Commercial Travellers' Club, Sydney
- The doorman at Parliament House, Canberra
- Jack the steward on the special car of the Transcontinental Express
- Typists at Adelaide Federal members' rooms
- Staff at Adelaide's Grosvenor Hotel
- Two little boys who live near the Lodge, Canberra
- And any man who suddenly found himself yarning to his Prime Minister
at a football or a cricket match anywhere in Australia..."