1940 Election: the election campaign: Curtin's itinerary
JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family.  Mr Curtin reading an important document. C1940. JCPML00376/3
JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family. Mr Curtin reading an important document. C1940. JCPML00376/3.

In the eight months in 1940 leading up to the general election Curtin had spent January in Perth returning in March after the successful Corio by election for a further month and then two fortnightly spells in early June and mid to late July. 34 After the election was called he returned home arriving on 26 August and delivered his policy speech by national broadcast on 28 August before leaving Perth again at the end of the month.  After three days in South Australia where he replied to Menzies’ policy speech, Curtin moved on to Melbourne on 5 September spending three days in Victoria and three days in Tasmania before arriving in Sydney on 13 September. The last week before polling day was spent largely in Sydney except for a two-day visit to Brisbane and he then returned to Melbourne on polling day before travelling to Western Australia by train arriving on Friday 27 September. A day later his narrow victory in the Fremantle seat was finally confirmed and after speaking at the declaration of the poll on 3 October Curtin returned to the Eastern States and did not arrive in Perth before Christmas other than for a few days in November to support the Labor candidate in a by election in the safe Kalgoorlie seat.

As it was, Curtin’s year, difficult and demanding throughout, ended with a measure of controversy when he set out to return to Perth to support the Labor candidate in a by- election for the federal seat of Swan, scheduled for 21 December, and victory in which would have made Labor the largest party in the House of Representatives. Dinan, who had also contested the general election against the since deceased Country party member, had ‘connections with the Communist party’ 35 but Curtin, who like the local state executive was less than enthusiastic in his support for Dinan, was nevertheless seemingly endeavouring to meet his obligations as federal leader when his health gave way during the journey home. As a consequence he did not reach Perth until 26 December leaving External Affairs minister Dr Evatt to lead the Labor campaign for the seat, which the Country party was able to retain though with a reduced majority.