Moving West from Melbourne to beachside Cottesloe
Cottesloe is a long way from Brunswick, Melbourne, where John Curtin spent his formative adolescent and young adult years. Where Brunswick was crowded with small worker homes, narrow backyards, polluted air and noisy traffic, Cottesloe stood at a small distance from urban development in Perth. It was linked to the city and to the port of Fremantle by road and rail and was within the boundaries of the federal electorate of Fremantle, which Curtin later represented. House in Brunswick, Melbourne, where the Curtin family lived for a time
One of the houses in Brunswick, Melbourne where John Curtin lived
By 1923, the year the Curtins bought their block of land in Jarrad Street, Cottesloe was already a popular beach, boasting a surf lifesaving club, a promenade, sporting clubs, tea-houses and hotels.
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Cottesloe Beach, c 1910
Cottesloe c 1910, beach scene of swimmers
Perth notables, including members of the Forrest and Burt families, had already claimed land overlooking the western ocean where they lived in large and comfortable homes. Norfolk Pines, planted in 1909, had grown into an outstanding landscape feature, lending weight to the idea that Cottesloe was a particularly healthy part of the world. Family at Cottesloe Beach
Cottesloe Beach, a family enjoys an outing to the beach
John and Elsie Curtin moved to Cottesloe first in 1918, the same year as mine owner and entrepreneur Claude de Bernales. The beachside suburb showed several gradations of difference in its housing stock. John and Elsie Curtin, 1917
John and Elsie Curtin in 1917
Claude de Bernales and John Curtin could not have been more different. Bernales was an outgoing, extroverted, wealthy man, whose large house, Overton, looked over the ocean. (Overton Lodge is now the Cottesloe Civic Centre). Overton Lodge, Cottesloe
Overton Lodge, former home of Claude de Bernales
John Curtin was a passionate socialist, member of the Australian Labor Party and newly appointed editor of the Westralian Worker. The Curtins rented a small dwelling in Napier Street. However, the beach was a democratic forum where class, wealth and politics could be momentarily forgotten. Cottesloe Beach, 1929
The beach at Cottesloe, Christmas 1929
Visiting John Curtin home page Moving west Early years Accommodating work and family life At home in the war years Farewell to the PMOnline activities