Diary of a Labour Man


1929 On the backbenches

Tuesday 1 January 14 Jarrad Street, Cottelsoe


Writes to neighbour ‘Jack’ Barlow, who lives at 15 Jarrad Street, on his forthcoming marriage to Mary Flynn:

‘Dear Jack

For you this is a New Year in much more than usual significance. May I then on Mrs Curtin’s behalf and also because of the deep regard I have for you personally wish that for you and your soon-to-be wife it will be a year not only of great happiness but in addition the dawn of a new era in which the purpose and expression of your manhood will have many and distinguished opportunities for fulfilment. Life is a very short experience for each human being and the philosophers are wise in counselling us to put it to good use. This I am certain you and your bride will do abundantly. There are many things to do: pay your [?] measure of devotion to your home, but do not make it the sole interest of your nature; civilisation is a community of families and therefore have due regard for your neighbours, your home town, the State, the Nation. In the ten commandments you will find a solemn [?] in this direction. Do not give up the cricket teams, the benefit society, and the other activities which were part of your bachelorhood – they are links with your fellow men and strengthen rather than weaken them. It will do you good to help to make your home one of the great arsenals fortifying the best things in their eternal war with those that are not so good.

I know you will be proud of your wife and that she will share your cares as well as the joys that come to you. But make her the partner of all your interests and a sharer in all you dream about and the things you contemplate particularly those which concern your livelihood which old chap, is hers also – never forget that.

I enclose a cheque in the hope that you will select some little gift for your home and you can do this much better than we can – which will serve to remind you that on entering married life you had the sincere good wishes of the household at no. 14 Jarrad Street.

Yours faithfully

John Curtin 1
Probably Saturday 5 January Perth
  Attends wedding of Mary Flynn and John Barlow. 2
Monday 7 January Keogh's Hall, Probably Fremantle

Silver cigarette box presented to John Curtin by Staff of the Westralian Worker, 7 December 1928. JCPML00287/3
JCPML. Records of John Curtin. Silver cigarette box presented to John Curtin by Staff of the Westralian Worker, 7 December 1928. JCPML00287/3

Evening Attends farewell from staff of the Westralian Worker.

‘The hall was nicely decorated with mauve and yellow streamers in the centre, while a rainbow-hued string of colours hung round the walls. The function took the form of a sit-down supper… Three tables placed lengthways to the presiding table were laden with good things and radiant with beautiful flowers and palms.

The first event of the evening was a presentation on behalf of the Company of a framed photo group of the "Worker" staff to Mr Curtin by Mr Watts, who eulogised the recipient for his many good qualities. A little later Mr Watts presented a fountain pen and his remarks were supported by Mr Mackenzie. Mr Curtin responded on both occasions expressing his deep appreciation of the gifts. Still later on Mr Curtin was called upon to accept a silver cigarette casket, a gift of the staff themselves. This was presented by Mr S B Nielson, and in accepting it Mr Curtin expressed his pleasure at receiving it and spoke feelingly of the great co-operation which had existed between himself and all members of the "Worker" staff. "Many changes," he said, "had taken place but two of those with whom he had first been associated with on the paper were still there. Messrs Kelsall and Taylor, and his earliest recollections of his associations with the "Worker" were ones of gratitude to those two members who had assisted him willingly in those early days.

Going back, however, in the proceedings, one of the most pleasing items was a presentation of a gold wristlet watch to Mrs Curtin by the Hon J C Willcock, who, in making the presentation said it was but a small acknowledgement of the assistance Mrs Curtin had given through having been deprived of her husband's company so often while he was carrying on the work of the movement. Mrs Curtin expressed her thanks in a neat and happy little speech. Referring to it later, Mr H Millington said that they had heard "Jack" Curtin speak plenty of times but it had taken them twelve years to discover that Mrs Curtin could also make a speech.

During the evening Mr R Wray gave an inimitable imitation of various birds, insects and animals, including fowls, chickens, roosters, turkeys, ducks, blowflies, and goats. A fine musical programme was also rendered.’ 3

Wednesday 9 January Women's Room, Trades Hall, Perth


Attends Labor Women’s Central Executive ‘At Home’ to ‘bid goodbye, for the time being,’ to Mr and Mrs Curtin

.‘In the unavoidable absence of the President (Miss May Holman, MLA), Mrs E Mannion (Vice-President) occupied the chair, and there was an over-crowded attendance of women. … Mrs Holmes very kindly presided at the tea pot with the help of others.

Mrs Mannion …said that she was proud to preside over such an important gathering. They all knew that it was not really good-bye, because their guests intended to reside in the State … and would be with them again from time to time. The presence of Mr and Mrs Curtin gave the Labor Women an opportunity to express their appreciation of the work done by the new member for Fremantle and his wife, and to promise even closer co-operation on the part of WA Labor Women in the future. They all hoped sincerely that Mrs Curtin, after her 12 years' residence in the State without a change would return much refreshed and ready for work.

Mrs P Ryan said she knew they were all proud of their new member. Fremantle Labor Women were only letting Mrs Curtin away for a holiday, as they needed her help, and they knew that she would help them to fight for the peace and plenty with security for the future

Mrs Curtin (who has a keen sense of humor) said that she did not know whether to be pleased or jealous at the nice things which had been said of her husband by so many women. However, it was good to know that people thought that he could be of service to the country. If, after all, they found he was not as useful as they expected, it might be as well to put him out again and give her a chance. She knew of a Tasmanian lady who, in addressing an audience, suddenly came to a full-stop saying, "You needn't think I'm stuck: I'm only waiting to find out what to say next." She felt like that lady, and would stand there till she found out what she wanted to say. She thanked all the kind friends who believed in them both, and hoped they would not be disappointed.

MrJ Curtin, MHR, said he had never spoken anywhere without finding out that he could have made a much better speech – afterwards. He would seize upon every opportunity to serve the homes of the people, not in order to make the women love him, but because he was not only serving them but truly representing the men also, when, by any public action he could enhance the comfort, security or happiness of their homes. … They had given him a wonderful opportunity, and if he failed, they could take it from him, that it would be because of the sheer incapacity of the man. He thanked all for their good wishes.

Afternoon tea was served and the party sang "They are Jolly Good Fellows" and "Auld Lang Syne" in their best style.’ 4

Saturday 12 January Fremantle to Easter States

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of the Curtin Family.  The Curtin family, 1929.  JCPML00004/14
JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family. Elsie and John Curtin in Melbourne, January 1929. JCPML00004/13

Left by the Katoomba

.…to ‘enter his new sphere. There was a large gathering of Fremantle and metropolitan Laborites to give their representative a hearty send-off. … Mrs Curtin accompanied her husband.

’‘The last that could be seen was Mr Curtin holding aloft a lovely bouquet of flowers presented by the Fremantle Labor Women’s organisation, and Mrs Curtin grabbed a handful of everybody’s streamers with which to wave a final farewell.’

The family stayed at the Wellington Hotel in Canberra and the children attended Telopea Park School for one term.5

c. late January/early February Melbourne

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of the Curtin Family.  Elsie and John Curtin in Melbourne, January 1929.  JCPML00004/13
JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family. Elsie and John Curtin in Melbourne, January 1929. JCPML00004/13

In Melbourne with Mrs Curtin ‘for a short stay. … With Mr and Mrs Curtin were their boy and girl, for whom the trip East should be memorable. 6
Tuesday 5 February Canberra

Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and is elected to the executive, ‘a rare distinction for a new member’. 7


Wednesday 6 February House of Representatives

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of the Curtin Family.  Joseph Benedict Chifley, n.d.  JCPML00376/125
JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family. Joseph Benedict Chifley, n.d. JCPML00376/125

Attends official opening of the Eleventh Parliament by the Governor-General, Lord Stonehaven.

Is sworn in together with J B Chifley and J A Beasley. 8

Thursday 14 February House of Representatives
  Delivers maiden speech on the Transport Workers’ Bill in which the Government sought to extend its powers under the Act and introduce a system of licenses for waterside workers in selected ports. Argues that the legislation is unfair and discriminatory and that the Bill’s proposed penalty clauses could interfere with the rights of the States.
  Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, and is elected to the Printing Committee. 9
Wednesday 27 February House of Representatives
  Speaks ‘during the Second Reading of a Bill to amend the responsibilities and remuneration of Tariff Board members, … puts forward his own views on the Board's structure and operation, and stresses that its members should be totally impartial and free from any possibility of partisanship.' 10
Tuesday 5 March House of Representatives
  ‘In the resumed debate on the Transport Workers Bill … asks why, if the issuing of licenses is seen as a remedy for wrong doing by members of the Waterside Workers Federation, the system has been applied to some Australian ports and not to others. … Warns that the legislation could establish a precedent which could be used to license workers in other vocations and businesses.’ 11
Thursday 7 March Canberra
  Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labour Party and is elected to the newly formed Publicity Committee. 12
Monday 11 March House of Representatives

‘During debate on Shipping Freights …outlines the special problems and needs of Western Australia's primary producers and asks Prime Minister Bruce to include representatives from exporters and importers in that State, and from South Australia, at the proposed conference with overseas shipping companies on freight charges.’ 13
Tuesday 19 March House of Representatives
  Speaks during debate on the Economic Research Bill, and ‘supports the idea of establishing a bureau of economic research, but says that he cannot vote for the Bill in its present form. … questions its emphasis on technical, mechanical and scientific research, rather than on social and economic issues, and urges the Government to rationalize its existing investigative activities and bring them within the scope of the proposed bureau.’ 14
Thursday 21 March Canberra
  Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and is requested to formulate a scheme for publicity during recess, to be placed before the meeting on reassembling. 15
End of March Canberra to Perth
  When Parliament adjourns for the long winter recess, the Curtin family return to Perth. 16
Tuesday 2 April
  Passes through Kalgoorlie ‘accompanied by his wife, son and daughter … between trains they called at the Trades Hall, and had a look over Kalgoorlie and Boulder’. 17
Thursday 4 April Perth
  Attends meeting of Metropolitan Council where he was ‘cordially welcomed.’ Told the meeting that he was in the State for ‘about three months, and during that time he would be available to assist the Labor Movement in any way they desired’. 18
Wednesday 10 April University of Western Australia


Lectures to the Economic and Historical Society on the reports of the Child Endowment Commission, Professor Shann presiding. 19
Tuesday 16 April Fremantle
  Delivers address to the Fremantle Parliament of Labor [Fremantle District Council, ALP], on the Federal situation, ‘striking an optimistic note as to the future of the Federal Labor Party and the possibility of ousting the Bruce-Page administration from power.' 20
Friday 19 or Saturday 20 April Probably Trades Hall Perth

With Mrs Curtin attends the 'first social of the season' with Harold Millington MLA (Minister for Agriculture).

‘The Metropolitan Council has advised all Councils to begin early and organise socially to get Labor folks together and ready for the great event of next year – the State elections. The Metropolitan Council has followed up that advice by setting the example.

There was a large attendance of Labor people who all appeared to be thoroughly enjoying themselves. Mr P J Mooney (Secretary of the Metropolitan Council) acted as MC and Mr Longmore was the chairman. An excellent orchestra rendered enlivening music. Mr Peter Roxby's beautiful voice was heard in several songs. Mr H Smith, whose songs are always welcomed at Labor functions, was also a contributor to the evening's pleasure, as likewise was Mr Shock. Mr McGuinness sang a delightful song, and Misses Saunders and M Green greatly pleased, each with an attractive recitation.

Mr John Curtin, MHR said that … he thought it would be a crime if he took up more than five minutes of their time. He considered that time spent in the promotion of happiness would yield rich return. … He was glad the socials had started, and he believed that if they were promoted in the different districts and the friends of Labor were invited and continued to meet each other, that good fellowship would be the solid basis of a common endeavor when the time arrived to work for the Movement. With an air of mystery Mr Curtin explained that he was going to make a "political revelation." The Federal Labor Party had found that nothing made team work more effective than singing. So they made a selection of songs, weird and wild, triumphant and dirge-like, to fit the result of their different experiences in the fight and had them printed. These they sang on every possible occasion, and some of them were really wonderful singers. As for Texas Green's voice, it was the only thing of its kind on this earth. If they heard it they would be astounded, especially when he sang an anthem about the initiative, referendum and recall to please Dr Maloney

At 10.15 a dainty supper was handed around.' 21

Sunday 21 April Kalamunda, Western Australia
  Speaks a ‘few words of appreciation’ at the Fremantle Labor Carnival workers’ picnic to Kalamunda.

‘A special train was comfortably filled with the workers and their families and was thoroughly enjoyed. Brilliant sunshine, with sufficient nip in the air to make the youngsters boisterous and buck up their more sedate elders, presaged a top notch holiday where every minute was used to the utmost. Nothing flagged from the time of arrival to the departure. Dignity and decorum went by the board. The time seemed to literally fly, and it was a surprised but hugely merry crowd that heard the signal to prepare for home and hasten to the train. A combination of holiday circumstances, ideal weather, and a good management, was responsible for what was voted to be the very best picnic organised at the port.

A short halt was made at Midland Junction, where a bag of fruit and a packet of lollies were given to each child. This was a good idea, and it was a quick and efficient method of distribution, ensuring that no one was overlooked.

An enjoyable sports programme was provided, and keenly appreciated by participants and onlookers. In the hall Miss Unie Hammill's orchestra dispensed first-class music for those who wished to dance. At the conclusion of the sports programme everyone made for the hall where the prizes were distributed, and a few words of appreciation were spoken by Mr John Curtin, MHR.

It was just warm enough for ice cream, and plenty of that toothsome commodity was available for young and old.

At 5.30 the train left for home. As if made to order, there was a magnificent sunset. This as viewed from the train in the run from the hills in the cool of the evening was the "grand finale" of a tip-top day.’ 22
Tuesday 30 April Mt. Hawthorn, Western Australia

JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family. Letter from Pretoria Hitchcock to John Curtin 26 April 1929. JCPML00398/23

Attends first public meeting at Mount Hawthorn since his election to Federal Parliament.

‘When Mr Curtin arrived there was "standing room only," and the Member for Fremantle stated that although he had attended hundreds of meetings in his time it was a new experience to find a hall so full that he found difficulty in getting in the door. He complimented the people of Mt Hawthorn on the active interest they displayed in public affairs, which no doubt was reflected in the substantial progress that the district was making.’ 23
Monday 6 May Collie, Western Australia
  Marches in procession with Messrs McCallum MLA and Rowley James MHR. Rowley James is visiting the State ‘in connection with an appeal of the coal miners’. 24
Tuesday 7 May Perth
  Attends meeting of Meanwhile Club [Labor Women of Western Australia] and ‘expressed himself pleased with the successes gained’. 25
Saturday 11 - Sunday 12 May Marrinup, Western Australia
  Addresses meetings at Marrinup. No 2 State Mill, and Hoffmans. 26
Friday 17 May Claremont, Western Australia
  Attends meeting, with ‘the organizer’ at the Old Men’s Home and had ‘a splendid reception’. 27
Saturday 18 May Mt Hawthorn, Western Australia
  Attends opening of Mt Hawthorn kindergarten, which was built by voluntary labour, and officially opened by Sir William Campion. 28
Sunday 26 May - evening Tuart Hill, Western Australia
  Attends social of the Tuart Hill Progress Association, the president remarking that he was the ‘”first Federal member to visit the district”. Surely a record after twenty-nine years of representation’. 29
Tuesday 28 May Bassendean Town Hall, Bassendean, Western Australia
  Speaks at meeting. 30
Wednesday 29 May Armadale Hall, Armadale, Western Australia
  Speaks at meeting. 31
Thursday 30 May Fremantle

Speaks at meeting for Fremantle Labor Women. 32

Top of page


Sunday 2 June

Burt Memorial Hall, St Georges terrace. Perth

Gives address ‘The Industrial Problem, What Has Christianity to Say.’

‘Contenting himself with sketching, in brilliant fashion, the economic and industrial conditions prevailing in modern civilisation he left the answer to the assemblage. In the course of his address Mr Curtin said that the industrial problem was as real in Australia as anywhere in the world. The real problem was not production, but distribution. In 20 years the number of people employed in industry had receded from 1,795 to 1,585 per 10000 of population and unless the displaced ones could find work in connection with running motor cars in the city or in recreational enterprises there was no employment for them. He had estimated while on the Child Endowment Commission that 90 per cent of the dependent children of the Commonwealth belonged to families in receipt of less than £300 a year. Though one of the wealthiest countries the wastage of opportunity to Australian children was great. Thousands of boys and girls find themselves shut out from an equal partnership in the fruits of the earth, “and,” he concluded, “What have you to say about it?”’ 33
Monday 3 June Fremantle

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of Alex McCallum.  Hon. Alex McCallum addressing the crowd at the Proclamation of the City of Fremantle. Fremantle Town Hall, 3 June 1929.  JCPML00830/40
JCPML. Records of Alex McCallum.  Hon. Alex McCallum addressing the crowd at the Proclamation of the City of Fremantle. Fremantle Town Hall, 3 June 1929. JCPML00830/40.
Courtesy Fremantle Library Local History Collection. Photo no. 226.

Speaks at proclamation ceremony at which Fremantle was ‘raised to the dignity of a city’.

‘As befitting the occasion a dense crowd of citizens turned up to witness the proclamation ceremony. Wet weather marred the ceremony, but did not dampen the enthusiasm of the people.

The day's celebrations commenced with the planting of trees at the north-west corner of the Fremantle Park at 10 am. Members of Parliament, Councillors and representatives of public bodies participated in the work. Twenty-nine Moreton Bay trees were planted. It is the intention of the City Council to have inscribed plates with the name of the official planting the tree inserted on each tree in commemoration of the occasion. With commendable promptitude the city gardener and his men had carried out the necessary job by Tuesday evening of enclosing each tree with stout pickets and wire netting. The tree planting was carried out in brilliant sunshine but ominous clouds were gathering and by the time the proclamation ceremony was to be carried out at 11.30 am, outside the Town Hall, a steady rain had set in. The crowd, however, stood their ground and did not disperse. Proceedings were adjourned for 15 minutes. By this time the weather cleared a little and the Mayor of Fremantle introduced the Governor (Sir William Campion), who read the proclamation declaring Fremantle a city. Mr Alex McCallum, Minister for Works, was the next and only speaker. By this time a steady drizzle had set in. Mr McCallum commenced in his usual serious, vigorous, and eloquent style. He was nonplussed for the moment by the ripple of laughter that went over the great crowd. This was caused by the Mayor, who produced a gaudy Japanese sunshade to protect himself and the Minister from the rain, unseen by the latter. A guard of honor and the Naval Band enlivened the wet proceedings. The next function was a special meeting of the City Council in honor of the occasion, at which Mr Sanderson, Government head of Local Government Bodies read the proclamation.

At 12.30 the pioneers' banquet was held at the Town Hall. Over 250 persons participated in this function. This was "dry," in accordance with the decision of the committee, but like the land of prohibition, any amount of "moonshine" was available to those who knew the ropes. The catering was excellent in every way. The table preparations and the beautiful stage setting were a credit to the caterers, Mr and Mrs Smith, who have established a high reputation at the Fremantle Town Hall as caterers at public functions. The banquet was spoiled by the dry and dreary speeches of several people who should have known better. Exceptions to this condemnation were Mr John Curtin, MHR, Dr Battye, Crs George Shepherd and W J Sumpton, and Mr F W Samson whose brief and bright contributions revived a large audience bored stiff with the dreary diatribes of other speakers. Cold weather, ginger ale, and long-winded speeches are not a combination calculated to arouse the pioneers to enthusiasm. Sir William Campion was in excellent form, His Excellency delivering three addresses, which were interesting, short and full of meat. 34
Friday 7 June - evening West Subiaco, Western Australia
  Attends meeting, with Mrs Curtin, to form a new branch of the ALP at West Subiaco.

There was a large attendance of women, ‘several of whom had past practical experience in the Labor Movement’.

‘Mr J Curtin, MHR, congratulated members of the new branch on the splendid new Infant Health Centre, which they had been mainly responsible for in their district, and asked them to bear in mind that Labor inherits and has to administer the capitalist state and to deal with capitalist mentality even in its own ranks very often. A Federal Government was now more needed than ever to co-operate with the British Labor Government and so co-ordinate Labor's activities throughout the British Empire and the world.

At the close of the meeting a delightful dance was held during which the new secretary's orchestra provided the music. Subsequently a dainty supper prepared by a ladies' committee was handed around. 35
Sunday 9 June Fremantle Hospital
Hangs photograph of Mr E H. Gray MLC in recognition of Gray’s work in connection with the successful organising of the 1928, ₤2 000 appeal 36
Tuesday 18 June Rechabite Hall, North Fremantle
  Lectures on Child Endowment under the auspices of the North Fremantle ALP. 37
Wednesday 26 June Nelson Street Hall (probably South Fremantle)
Delivers ‘interesting and instructive address’ on Child Endowment and matters of Federal interest. 38
Beginning of July Nedlands
  Speaks at formation of ALP branch at Nedlands. 39
Sunday 7 July Oakland
  Gives address on ‘Child Endowment’.
  East Fremantle Town Hall
Supports a vote of thanks to the Minister for Health (Mr S W Munsie) who ‘turned the key in the door’ of the Melville, North and East Fremantle Infant Health Centre, situated in the Town Hall building.

‘After inspection an adjournment was made to the main hall of the building when an interesting programme of speeches, interspersed with songs by Miss Marjorie Payne, Miss G McKee and Mr Savage, and selections by an orchestra led by Mr Arblaster, was carried out. … At the conclusion of the function, the Mayor and Mayoress of East Fremantle (Mr and Mrs H J Locke) entertained the large audience to afternoon tea.’ 40
Tuesday 23 July Trades Hall
Attends fortnightly meeting of Fremantle District Council of the ALP. 41
Saturday 27 July Perth - Eastern States
  Leaves by train for the Eastern States, to attend a pre-sessional meeting of the Federal Labor Party which will ‘have matters of vital importance to the movement to consider. 42
Sunday 28 July Kalgoorlie
  Passes through Kalgoorlie en route to the Eastern States for the opening of the Federal Parliament. 43
Wednesday 14 August Parliament House, Canberra
  Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and seconds a resolution moved by Mr Watkins, ‘that this Party regrets to learn of the illness of their Leader, Mr J H Scullin MHR, and sincerely trusts that he will soon be restored to good health.’ Explains that ‘owing to a general depletion of union funds owing to recent industrial disputes he had not thought it advisable to proceed, for the time being, with the scheme which he had formulated for propaganda and publicity’. 44
Thursday 15 August House of Representatives
  ‘In response to the Withdrawal of Prosecution Bill … criticises the Prime Minister's decision to drop a prosecution against NSW coal mine proprietor John Brown for causing a lockout of miners during the coal dispute.’ 45
Thursday 29 August Parliament House, Canberra
  Attends meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and is elected to the Treasury and Finance Committee. 46
Thursday 5 September - Friday 6 September House of Representatives
  Speaks in debate on the Maritime Industries Bill and ‘is critical of the Government for its stated intention to cede the States responsibility for industrial arbitration for all workers except those in the Maritime services. … argues in favour of retaining the dual system of industrial jurisdiction, citing Australia's unique industrial and economic situation’. 47
Thursday 12 September Parliament House, Canberra

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of the Curtin Family.  John Curtin holding a lump of snow, Canberra, September 1929.  JCPML00450/2
JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family. John Curtin holding a lump of snow, Canberra, September 1929. JCPML00450/2

Attends meeting of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and reports on behalf of the Publicity Committee. 48
c. Friday 13 September Canberra - Perth

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of Alex McCallum.  Trans Australian train, 1928.  JCPML00830/175/43
JCPML. Records of Alex McCallum. Trans Australian train, JCPML00830/175/43

Travels on the trans-train. 49
Tuesday 17 September Kalgoorlie
  Passes through Kalgoorlie en route to Perth.50
Wednesday 18 September Perth
  Arrives on the trans-train. 51
Monday 23 September Fremantle Town Hall

Opens the official campagn for Fremantle.

‘Steady rain set in about 7.30 and hopes of a large meeting evaporated. A pleasant surprise, however, was in store as a huge audience crowded the Town Hall. … Mr Curtin addressed an attentive audience for exactly two hours and everyone was surprised that the time had passed so quickly. The Fremantle champion delivered a forceful and eloquent exposition on the present Federal situation and was vigorously applauded when he concluded. … Three cheers for Labor terminated the most enthusiastic Labor meeting held at the port for many a day.’ 52

Wednesday 25 September Fremantle Trades Hall
  Delivers a tribute at the farewell of Mrs P F Ryan and her husband, who had been ‘indefatigable workers for the cause of Labor for many years.’ The gathering was opened ‘with an overture, and little Dave Carr of the tender voice rendered a song.’ Mrs Ryan was presented with a ‘handsome traveling case’ and Mr Ryan with a shaving outfit. 53
Friday 27 September West Subiaco. Western Australia
Speaks at election meeting, where he takes an ‘interesting peep at history.’ 54
End of September Unity Theatre, Perth
  Speaks at election meeting, proclaiming that ‘Mr Bruce was a navigator without a compass, a leader who had deserted the platform of his party, and was so saturated with vainglory that he believed every previous Prime Minister was wrong on the question of industrial policy.’ 55
End of September South Fremantle
  Speaks at election meeting, where he ‘emphasised the gravity of the Federal financial position’. 56
Tuesday 1 October Oxford Theatre
Probably Leederville, Western Australia
  8 pm
Attends election meeting. 57
Thursday 3 October North Perth Town Hall and West Leederville
  Speaks at election meetings where he states that Mr Bruce is ‘a will-o-the-wisp, who lacks a consistent purpose, and will say today the very opposite of what he advocated the day previously’.

Attends meeting of the Metropolitan Council. 58
Friday 4 October East Fremantle Town Hall and Hamilton Hill Memorial Hall

Speaks at election meetings, together with the Minister for Works (A McCallum) and the Hon. Minister W H Kitson. 59


Saturday 5 October Osborne Park and Tuart Hill, Western Australia
  Speaks at election meetings. 60
Monday 7 October Cottesloe Beach Town Hall and North Fremantle Town Hall
  Speaks at election meetings. 61
Tuesday 8 October Princess Theatre, Claremont and Wells’ Hall, Cottesloe
  Speaks at election meeting. The Premier also spoke for Mr Curtin at both these meetings. 62
Thursday 10 October Leederville
  Speaks at two election meetings. 63
Friday 11 October Fremantle (opposite Wesley Church) and Claremont (opposite Railway Station)

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of the Australian Labor Party WA Branch.  Westralian Worker, 11 October 1929, page 4, 'Help this woman to keep the wolf of low wages from the door' ALP election advertisement.  JCPML01035/57
JCPML. Records of the Australian Labor Party WA Branch. Westralian Worker, 11 October 1929, page 4, 'Help this woman to keep the wolf of low wages from the door'. ALP election advertisement. JCPML01035/57.
Courtesy Australian Labor Party, WA Branch.

Attends final election rallies.

At the Fremantle rally ‘short addresses dealing with the various phases of Federal interest will be given by the local Labor representatives. … Mr Curtin’s speech will be broadcasted from 6WF Perth, and he will arrive at Fremantle about 9 pm. The meeting will be of additional interest, as each supporting speaker will deal with a special subject, thus there will be no wearisome repetition’ 64
Saturday 12 October  

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of the Government Photographic Service.  Rt Hon James Henry Scullin (1876-1953) Prime Minister 1929-1932.  JCPML00036/8
JCPML. Records of the Government Photographic Service. Rt Hon James Henry Scullin (1876-1953) Prime Minister 1929-1932. JCPML00036/8.
Courtesy Government Photographic Service.

Federal Election.

‘A poll will accordingly be taken for the Division on Saturday, the 12th day of October, 1929, in accordance with the law of the Commonwealth for the regulation of Parliamentary Election. The Poll will open at 8 o’clock in the morning and will not close until all electors in the Polling Booth at 8 o’clock in the evening, and desiring to vote, have voted.

The football final between Easts and Souths will draw a huge gate. Many football fans may be tempted to postpone voting until after the match. This is unwise and if carried out extensively will cause serious congestion at the polling booths.’

The Scullin Labor Government was elected and Curtin was returned with an even bigger majority of 6000 votes. 65
c Monday 14 October  
  Leaves Perth for Eastern States.
Wednesday 16 October Kalgoorlie
  En route to Canberra in response to ‘an urgent telegram from the Leader of the Party’. 66
Tuesday 22 October Canberra
  Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party and is elected to the Works Committee. 67
c. Wednesday 23 October Labor headquarters, Melbourne
  Meets Mr and Mrs P F Ryan, together with the Prime Minister, Mrs Scullin, and Mr Green. 68
c. Thursday 24 October Canberra - Western Australia
  Stayed in Canberra for only 48 hours before returning to Western Australia. 69
Monday 28 October Fremantle
  At a meeting of Fremantle Labor Women, Mrs Curtin was elected to be one of three delegates elected to attend the Conference on 11 December. 70
Wednesday 30 October Fremantle
  Returns by the Karoola for the declaration of the poll for the Fremantle electorate. 71
Thursday 1 November Fremantle

John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library.  Records of the Curtin Family.  Elsie M Curtin, 3 November 1929.  JCPML00382/28
JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family. Elsie M Curtin, 3 November 1929. JCPML00382/28

Attends declaration of the poll for Fremantle at which he…

‘…proposed the usual vote of thanks to the Returning Officer, which was seconded by Mr Watson, the defeated candidate. Both speakers thanked their respective supporters. Mr Watson created a good impression by the sportsmanlike way he took his crushing defeat. After the formal proceedings an adjournment was made to the Council Chamber where the Mayor of Fremantle extended the hospitality of the city to the victor and vanquished.’ 72
Saturday 9 November Fremantle
  Left for the Eastern States on the Westralia, accompanied by Mrs Curtin and children. 73
Middle of November  
  Opening of the new Parliament 74
Thursday 21 November Canberra
  11 am – 1 pm
Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party. 75
Friday 22 November House of Representatives
  ‘During debate on the Second Estimates Bill, 1929-30, … questions the on-going commitment of large sums of money to build the National War Memorial in Canberra, and supports a call for a review of the project. … rejects criticism of the new Labor Government's handling of the unemployment problem…’ reminds ‘opponents that the previous government was largely responsible for the current "economic marasmus”’. 76
Tuesday 26 November House of Representatives
  ‘Strongly supports the new Government's Financial Grant Bill for a £1,000,000 grant to South Australia, and argues that according to the Federal Constitution, the Commonwealth should not be able to dictate to any recipient State Government on how such Special Grants should be spent. … calls for the Federal Parliament to implement reforms to the instruments of government to allocate to the Commonwealth and the States those functions that each is best fitted to perform.’ 77
Thursday 28 November Canberra
  11 am – 1.15 pm
Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party. Meeting adjourned until 7 pm.

7 pm – 11.59pm
Attends resumed meeting. 78
Thursday 5 December Canberra
  11 am – 1.30 pm
Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party. 79
Friday 6 December House of Representatives
  Speaks ‘during the Second Budget debate, 1929-30, briefly deals with a number of topics, including: the cessation of compulsory military training [which he favours]; the truth about the Labor Government's alleged financial mismanagement; the high cost of government in Australia; the growing economic responsibilities of governments; possible Commonwealth assistance to the coal industry; economic effects of high coal costs; unemployment; the need for industrial arbitration reforms; and the need for a constitutional convention. … also forecasts that there will be no tax relief in the Budget.’ 80
Thursday 12 December Canberra
  9 am – 10.59 am
Attends meeting of Federal Parliamentary Labor Party, and is elected to the Industrial Committee. 81
  House of Representatives
  ‘In the resumed Estimates debate, … refers to matters such as constitutional change; industrial relations; and state rights.’ 82
Wednesday 25 December Fremantle
Returns to Fremantle from Canberra. 83