Prime Minister

In Easter 1943 Curtin crossed the Nullarbor again using the Special Car. Miss Hazel Craig, a stenographer on his staff, travelled with him and recalled that he always travelled in the carriage that: [10]

'...had two bedrooms and about a couple, probably four bunks in just what would be the normal sleeping car system of the day, you know. And then a big dining room ... or a big room which could be used - they used it as a Cabinet room and sometimes as ... well we always used it as a dining room and it had a little kitchen and a chef and waitress ... and the bedrooms I must admit in those two bedrooms themselves were quite large rooms.'

Bedroom in the Special Car

The two single bedrooms in the Special Car were especially large. This photo shows one set up for sleeping.

Photograph: P Rogers Collection

Sitting room in the Special Car

The other large single bedroom is pictured here set up as a sitting room.

Photograph: P Rogers Collection


In August that year there were big celebrations when Labor won a large majority in the House of Representatives, including every seat in WA. The election campaign had begun in Brisbane and then went by train to other capitals before flying to Perth for the last week of the campaign. This was his much publicised Lancaster bomber flight, so that Curtin could say that he 'spent a pleasant day with the RAAF'.

His next trip home was logistically difficult for the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR), but they solved the problem of his travel from Kalgoorlie to Perth by attaching a special service car for his use to the rear of an army special. Later that year, though too late for Christmas, Curtin arrived home for New Year and returned to the eastern states in mid-January accompanied by Premier Willcock. Once the Prince of Wales carriage arrived in Port Pirie, Curtin was required to change trains for the journey to Adelaide and again to Melbourne.

WAGR Commissioner's carriage

On occasion John Curtin was to use the Western Australian Government Railways (WAGR) Commissioner's carriage on the trip from Perth to Kalgoorlie instead of the Vice-Regal car. The Commissioner's carriage was mainly used by the Commissioner on his tours of inspection throughout the WAGR rail network.

Photograph: P Rogers Collection


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