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image icon Fremantle Labor women's group in 1941

Fremantle Labor women's group in 1941
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library


This is a photograph of a Fremantle Labor women's group (including Elsie Curtin who is seated at the table, fourth from the left) at Fremantle Trades Hall in Western Australia, celebrating John Curtin becoming Prime Minister, 14 October 1941.

Educational value

This resource is useful because it:

  • This asset reflects the role of prime ministerial wives in supporting their husbands - when the Australian Labor Party won the election and its leader, John Curtin, became Prime Minister in October 1941, the Fremantle Labor Women's Organisation celebrated with a function at Fremantle Trades Hall, which Elsie attended both as a member and representing her husband; with Curtin in Canberra for extended periods when parliament was sitting and particularly once the heavy demands of the prime ministership were added, Elsie supported her husband by carrying out a great deal of day-to-day electorate work in his seat of Fremantle.
  • This asset indicates Elsie Curtin's involvement with the Labor Women's Organisation in Western Australia - Elsie was active in the LWO during the 1920s, being a member in the Perth area for several years and then in 1924 a founding treasurer of the Fremantle group; continuing her association through to the years of the Second World War, Elsie was elected state president in 1944, serving until September 1946.
  • This asset hints at the strong role women played in the labour movement in Western Australia - the Labor Women's Organisation was established in 1911 in WA and was active in organising speakers' classes and guest lectures, fighting election campaigns, fundraising for the ALP and numerous charities, lobbying for the establishment of a maternity hospital in WA, and working for the welfare of families, particularly in the Depression years.
  • This asset shows Dorothy Tangney (standing between the women seated at the table second and third from the left) who was elected to the Senate in 1943 as the first female Senator and who became a veteran of the parliament, representing Western Australia for 25 years until 1968.
  • This asset depicts the interior of the Fremantle Trades Hall, a hall typical of many built in the first half of the 20th century - the windows, solid wood furniture, wall clock and framed photograph hanging on the wall are all evocative of the period.
  • This asset shows the dress and hair styles of the group of Labor women in the years of the Second World War.