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Curtin University
John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library
Curtin University Library

John Curtin - the politician


Link to Curtin as an Election Leader

Curtin as an Election Leader details the three federal elections where John Curtin was the Australian Labor Party (ALP) parliamentary leader - October 1937, September 1940 and August 1943. Written by JCPML Historical Consultant and Emeritus Professor, David Black, it explores the internal party divisions and the changing political climate during war time.


Link to Diary of a Labour Man

Diary of a Labour Man: 1917-1945 provides a day by day chronicle of John Curtin's life from 1917 to 1945. Compiled from information in the Westralian Worker and other sources such as family papers, photographs, government publications and biographies, the diary paints a picture of the life of this remarkable man.




Link to Federal electorate of Fremantle: a history since 1901

The federal electorate of Fremantle: a history since 1901 provides brief biographies of each member for Fremantle and details the many boundary changes the electorate has undergone during its more than one hundred year history. Fremantle is one of the original five divisions in Western Australia created for the first election for the Australian House of Representatives. Maps illustrate the changing boundaries and photographs provide a flavour of the port city over more than a century. Comprehensive voting figures for all Fremantle elections and by elections are featured.



Link to Fighting Labor's Battles

Fighting Labor's battles: Conscription, the Great Depression and Party unity traces John Curtin's commitment to the Labor cause, initially as a radical Socialist and unionist, then as editor of a Labor newspaper, member of parliament, and leader of the Australian Labor Party. He pursued fair wages and conditions for working men and women and better social services. He sought to unify a Party depleted financially and ideologically split into warring factions.



Detail from "1946 Repeats Itself - Chifley Spells Security."

John Curtin: A fair go for all
Throughout his life, John Curtin never lost sight of his dream for a fair and just society in which all people had access to a job, to education, to a home and the basic necessities of life. Find out more about John Curtin's record on human rights.



Wartime government publicity urging support for the war effort 'The Spearhead reaches South - It's total war.'

John Curtin: A man of peace, a time of war  
John Curtin was the poor country boy who rose to become prime minister, the revolutionary young socialist turned political pragmatist, the pacifist called upon to lead Australia during wartime. 'Walk through' the exciting panoramas to experience the exhibition in its original form. Feeling adventurous? Try out the interactive quizzes and activities.
Includes Educational Interactives


Menzies and Curtin in World War two

Menzies and Curtin in World War Two: A comparative essay by David Black
Robert Menzies and John Curtin were very different in personality, style and philosophy and faced different scenarios in their terms as Prime Ministers of Australia in World War Two. This essay compares the two leaders in four key areas: running the war effort; defining Australia's place on the world stage; dealing with party politics, elections and the press; and visions for Australia. In addition, eminent historians and commentators provide contemporary perspectives on the two men as wartime leaders. A variety of photographs, cartoons, documents and film and audio clips accompany the resource.


Broome 1942

Broome 1942
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.


Exhibition brochure cover

Shaping the nation: John Curtin and Australia
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. The exhibition is an exploration, through the eyes of one of Australia's most prominent early citizens, of what it means to be a nation.
Includes Educational Interactives


War and peace

War & peace: Rationing and rebuilding 
Explore what it was like to live in John Curtin's home community of beachside Cottesloe during the 1940s.


PM Curtin with the press 'Circus'. JCPML00376/2

John Curtin: From revolutionary firebrand to journalist in spirit 
This online exhibition explores John Curtin's development as a journalist and his special relationship with the media as prime minister. Photographs, audio clips and selections from Curtin's own writings bring the story to life. There's also an online quiz and Mix & Match activity for those who want to test their knowledge.
Includes Educational Interactives


Investigating John Curtin

Investigating John Curtin - the research papers of Tom Fitzgerald

This online resource provides a fascinating insight into the research conducted by Tom Fitzgerald, respected economist and journalist, who was planning to write a biography of the prime minister. It explores Curtin's writings, as well as events and identities important to his life.


Aspirations of a working class man

Aspirations of a working class man: Achievements under John Curtin's leadership

With no majority in either the House of Representatives or the Senate and reliant on two Independents to maintain power - no situation seemed less auspicious for Curtin to achieve his idealistic vision for Australia. This online resource explores how Curtin used his political skills to convert this challenge into an opportunity to realise many of his lifelong aspirations.


Includes Educational Interactives Resources displaying this icon include educational interactives.