The inaugural John Curtin Memorial Lecture was held at the University of Western Australia Australian Labor Party (ALP) Branch in 1960. The lectures were conceived as an annual commemoration of Prime Minister John Curtin (1941-1945). However, there were years when no lecture took place. In a few instances, although there was a lecture no copy of the speech was obtained.

From 1992 onwards the John Curtin Memorial Lecture ceased to exist at the University of WA and was replaced by the John Curtin Memorial Breakfasts. A paper copy of each of the lectures was kept by the Australian Labor Party of Western Australia. In 1995 the ALP donated the original copies of these lectures to the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library (JCPML) for its collection. The JCPML has assumed responsibility for maintaining and preserving these lectures for the purposes of research. The original copies of the speeches are accessioned into the JCPML collection. To enhance access to this collection the JCPML has now made this material available in a digital format and has provided links to biographies on each of the lecturers.

Copyright to the lectures has been donated to the JCPML, Curtin University of Technology.

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