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Curtin University
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library
Curtin University Library

Educational publications for teachers and students

Cartoon PD in a package

Authors: Liz McGinnis, Meredith Wright, Jan Bishop and Rosslyn Marshall.
Exam markers have identified cartoon interpretation as an area of weakness in the teaching of History in Australian schools. Cartoon PD in a Package was developed with the support of a grant from the Public Education Endowment Trust. The package is designed to develop confidence and proficiency in teachers and students using cartoon resources. The value of this resource lies in its self-contained nature which allows it to deliver quality professional development without a presenter and at a time that suits the individual teacher. Teachers will find this package invaluable. The package is freely downloadable as a series of .pdf files.


Singapore cartoon
Singapore 1942 cartoon by Peter Dent

John Curtin and international relations during World War II

Published by the JCPML, 1999, pb, illus. ISBN 1 86342 806 2

The resource includes:

  • Well targeted activities for secondary students
  • Almost 200 primary and secondary sources
  • Useful glossary of names and terms
  • 'Easy find' directory to help locate documents


Part one: A personal look at the Prime Minister
Section I: Early Influences 1885-1916
Section II: Becoming West Australian 1917-1928
Section III: The Parliamentarian 1928-1941
Section IV: Years in Power 1941-1945

Part two: International relations during World War II
Section I: Relations between Australia, Britain and the USA 1938-1941
Section II: Dark Days 1941-1942
Section III: Australia and the Allied Powers 1942-1944

Resource cover

What Liz McGinnis, Vice-President, History Teachers' Association of Western Australia, says about this resource:

'The John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library has produced a very useful publication for History teachers...centred around two themes: the role played by John Curtin in Australian politics and the personal influences that shaped the man..., and ...Australian international relations during World War II.

Both themes are especially applicable to the Australia 1900-1945 year 12 unit. The book is packed with a wide range of well-cited source materials, some previously unpublished. The JCPML has taken heed of comments and suggestions made by practising teachers who workshopped the book... Essentially, the book is dominated by sources and well-targeted activities linked by short introductions and explanations.

The first section would be valuable in helping students understand the beliefs and attitudes of socialists and the ALP. The conscription debates, attitudes towards Empire and industrial struggles are all covered. The 'battle of the plans' during the Depression receives some attention and Curtin's forthright response to the Premiers' Plan is enlightening. The war years are dealt with in much greater depth. The "We look to America.." newspaper article is quoted at length and a range of responses to it are included. The "cablegram war" between Churchill and Curtin is covered in detail and leaves no uncetrtainty about the strength of feeling between the two prime ministers. FDR's part in this is also available. The Australian response to General MacArthur and his American troops is revealed via speeches, newpaper articles, partiamentary reports, personal letters and oral history transcripts. Overseas newapaper comment is covered too. American opinion, not always flattering to either the Australian government or populace, gives an insight into foreign perceptions at the time...

This publication could be used as a class set or as teacher and library reference material. There is a wealth of material for exam setting purposes and aspects of all the Key Understandings are included.... Careful perusal will be well-rewarded!'

What David Black, JCPML Historical Consultant, says about this resource

'What makes this collection of documents and extracts particularly exciting is that a number of the documents have never previously been published and the book, taken as a whole, gives students access to materials drawn from a wide range of archival and library sources, and to a fascinating variey of source document types. Furthermore, the source mateials have benn integrated around selected themes and linked to activities desighed to develop students' skills and understandings in dealing with historical evidence.

As one who has had a long involvement both with the teaching and assessment of secondary level history students, as well as researching the life and times of John Curtin, I welcome this publication... and look forward eagerly to the book's inclusion in the resource listings for the various school curricula.'

Contact the JCPML to place an order. Telephone (08) 9266 4205, fax (08) 9266 4185, email