The Learning Federation logo
Please refer to Conditions of use (This item contains non-TLF content.)

image icon John Curtin's funeral procession through Cottesloe, 1945

John Curtin's funeral procession through Cottesloe, 1945
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library


This is a black-and-white photograph of a military band leading John Curtin's (1885-1945) funeral procession through Cottesloe, a beachside suburb of Perth, Western Australia, on 8 July 1945.

Educational value

This resource is useful because it:

  • This asset indicates that the procession is honouring a person of some significance to the nation and the armed services - the funeral procession is being led by a military band and the coffin, which is draped in the Australian flag, is being transported on a gun carriage, flanked by members of the military in dress uniform.
  • This asset shows the funeral procession in Perth marking the death of John Curtin (Prime Minister of Australia 1941-45) - two days earlier, in Canberra, there had been a memorial service and a lying-in-state at King's Hall in Parliament House, attended by family members, parliamentarians and dignitaries; escorted by 12 fighter planes, Curtin's body was then flown to Perth, where his funeral service was conducted at Karrakatta Cemetery; the inscription on his gravestone reads: 'His country was his pride, his brother man his cause'.
  • This asset illustrates the high regard the people of Australia felt for their wartime Prime Minister and the sorrow they felt at his death in the closing months of the Second World War - a large crowd of solemn people lined the streets of Cottesloe to watch his funeral procession as it wound its way to Karrakatta Cemetery where the funeral service took place before a crowd estimated at over 20,000; many believed that John Curtin was a war casualty, in the sense that the strain and pressures of leading a nation at war took a heavy toll on his health and contributed to his death of congestive heart failure on 5 July 1945 at the age of 60.
  • This asset indicates the connection John Curtin had with the town of Cottesloe - Curtin moved to Western Australia in 1917 to take up the editorship of the State's Labor newspaper, and he and his wife, Elsie, built a house in Jarrad Street, Cottesloe in 1923; Curtin entered Parliament as federal member for Fremantle in 1928, but the Cottesloe cottage remained the family home even after Curtin became Prime Minister in 1941 and was necessarily away from WA for long periods; Curtin loved his home, and it was a place of refuge and peace in his infrequent visits during the war years.
  • This asset shows a typical town centre and streetscape of a Perth suburb in the 1940s - the Cottesloe shopfronts have verandas featuring advertisements for 'Coldaire', 'Olympic Tyres', 'Stirling Cycles' and 'Amgoorie Tea'.