Skip to content
Curtin University
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library
Curtin University Library

Past exhibitions

Previous JCPML major exhibitions have a continuing life as online exhibitions, as do some of the touring exhibitions and small displays hosted by the JCPML since 1998.

Major exhibitions


Pursuit of Knowledge exhibition

Includes Educational Interactives



The Pursuit of Knowledge: Curtin, Looking ever forward
March 2008 - October 2012. It explored the shared beliefs of Curtin the man and Curtin the university - noting the passionate commitment of each to education and the pursuit of knowledge.
View the online version of The Pursuit of Knowledge: Curtin, Looking ever forward.



Man of peace exhibition
Includes Educational Interactives

John Curtin: A man of peace, A time of war
April 1998 to August 2000 - John Curtin Gallery
This exhibition was developed by the National Archives of Australia and the JCPML and its opening commemorated the 50th anniverary of John Curtin's death.
View the online version of John Curtin: A man of peace, A time of war.


Exhibition booklet
Includes Educational Interactives

Shaping the nation: John Curtin and Australia
October 2000 to August 2002 - John Curtin Gallery
In following the development of John Curtin's political thinking and career, this exhibition traces the development of Australia to full adulthood - to the moment when Australia had to stand apart from Britain and defend its own soil.
View the online version of Shaping the nation.


John Curtin's legacy

Includes Educational Interactives

John Curtin's legacy: Leading Australia from war to peace
September 2002 to December 2004 - John Curtin Gallery
This exhibition follows Australia's progress from 1942, the most critical year of the war, when Prime Minister Curtin 'looked to America' for help, until 1951 when the ANZUS Treaty was signed. It explores the Curtin Government's initiatives in areas including the economy, immigration and foreign policy and how these developed in the postwar years to form the foundations of modern Australia.
View the online version of John Curtin's legacy.



Introductory panel of exhibition
Includes Educational Interactives

The art of the possible: Creating an independent Australian foreign policy
February 2005 until December 2007 - John Curtin Gallery
This exhibition explores Australia’s growing independence in the realm of foreign policy from 1935 to 1950.
View the online version of The art of the possible.

Touring exhibitions and temporary displays


Beginnings exhibition

Beginnings: Images of occupied Japan
5 October to 28 November 1999 - John Curtin Gallery
This exhibition from the Douglas MacArthur Memorial Library and Archives, hosted by the JCPML, dramatically portrays the story of Japan's recovery from total defeat following World War II. The 29 photographs, taken by Nicholas A Orzio between 1948-49, provide a glimpse into the poverty, destruction, apprehension, reforms, tradition, love and dreams of a nation and people who were looking towards new beginnings.


Bronze bust of General Blamey by Daphne Mayo, made and cast in Sydney, 1958.


Soldier for a crisis: Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey

9 October to 11 November 2001 - John Curtin Gallery
This Australian War Memorial travelling exhibition hosted by the JCPML explored the career of General Blamey.


View of Without classification exhibition

Without classification: Hazel Hawke
26 September to 10 November 2002 - John Curtin Gallery
This exhibition was jointly organised by the JCPML and the John Curtin Gallery and focussed on Hazel Hawke and her time in The Lodge.
View the online version of Without classification.


Cartoon by John Frith - Self portrait with Bob Hawke and Malcolm Fraser, 1983, on flyer for original Old Parliament House exhibition

A brush with politics: The life and work of John Frith
11 March to 23 May 2005 - John Curtin Gallery
This Old Parliament House travelling exhibition hosted by the JCPML celebrated the work of John Frith, one of Australia’s most influential cartoonists of the 20th century.
View the online version of A brush with politics on the website of Old Parliament House, Canberra.

Backyard Frontline: Australia Under Attack 1942-1943
March to April 2007 - JCPML foyer
This Australian War Memorial travelling exhibition hosted by the JCPML used personal stories, film footage, photographs and displays of original relics to tell the story of the home front in the period when Australia was under attack in World War Two.



'They've cut me down to twelve, Glad': John Curtin and smoking in World War Two

'They've cut me down to twelve, Glad': John Curtin and smoking in World War Two
March to May 2010 - Kandy-Jane Henderson Foyer of the JCPML.
John Curtin's silver cigarette box was the focus of the small display which explored John Curtin's smoking habit and smoking more generally in the years of World War Two.
View the online version of 'They've cut me down to twelve, Glad'.

John Curtin at home
June to September 2010 - Kandy-Jane Henderson Foyer of the JCPML
The Curtin's modest home in Jarrad Street, Cottesloe served as both a working office for John Curtin the politician and a place of refuge and leisure where he could relax with family and friends.


Curtin's Empire exhibition

Curtin's empire
May to July 2011 - Kandy-Jane Henderson Foyer of the JCPML.
This small display featured the silver box presented to John Curtin after he was conferred with the Freedom of the City of London on 11 May 1944. The display opening coincided with the national launch of James Curran's book Curtin's Empire on 5 May at the JCPML.

 

Broome 1942

Broome 1942

29 February - 30 April 2012, Curtin University Library
The bombing of Broome, Wyndham and Darwin formed the first 'physical contact of war within Australia' according to Prime Minister John Curtin. Even more poignant, the majority of casualties included widows and orphans of the Java Sea Battle, evacuees from the Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia) to Australia on that fateful March morning as Broome was bombed.

Former Travelling exhibitions

These two former JCPML travelling exhibitions are no longer available for loan.


Menzies, Fadden, Curtin and the Japanese Envoy

Menzies, Fadden, Curtin and the Japanese Envoy
In 1941, fear of Australia becoming embroiled in war with Japan led to unusual, sometimes secretive, personal relationships between Australia's three prime ministers of that year - Robert Menzies, Arthur Fadden and John Curtin - and the new Japanese envoy to Australia, Tatsuo Kawai. The travelling exhibition explores the relationships between Menzies, Fadden, Curtin and Kawai. Written by 2009 JCPML Visiting Scholar Bob Wurth, the exhibition is supplemented with a web resource.

 

Art of the Possible exhibition


The Art of the Possible
The travelling exhibition focuses on Australia's foreign policy between 1935 and 1950 and is based on the JCPML’s major exhibition of the same name. Three bronzes depicting John Curtin form the centrepiece of the exhibition.
An online version of the exhibition is available as a web resource.

Includes Educational Interactives Exhibitions which display this icon include online educational activities.