Return to the West
John Curtin lost his seat in the 1931 election and was able to settle back into home life in Perth once again. These quieter years from 1931 to 1935 still found Curtin occasionally leaving his family to meet commitments afar. In 1933, Premier Collier appointed him as Chairman of the WA Committee to the Commonwealth Grants Commission which travelled interstate preparing the funding submission for Western Australia.

Grants Commission 1932

John Curtin (second from left) and AJ Reid (first left) at work with the Grants Commission in 1932.

Photograph: JCPML. Records of the Curtin Family. Commonwealth Grants Commission 1932. JCPML00376/148


John Curtin's biographer, Lloyd Ross, recalled Curtin's feelings about interstate travel at this time: [4]

'As a member of the Grants Commission he was expected to travel occasionally to the east. There was always trouble in getting him to make up his mind to leave Perth. Only two trains a week ran at this time, but Curtin would keep putting off the decision. Between Perth and Kalgoorlie, he was so irritable that his friends learned to keep away from him. At Kalgoorlie he would always post a letter to his wife. Then as the train left Western Australia he would think with pleasure of the friendships he would renew in Victoria, especially in Brunswick and East Melbourne; but as soon as his business was drawing to a close, he could not get back quickly enough to the west and home.'


'Westland' express train

The express train between Perth and Kalgoorlie that linked with the Trans Australian train became known as the 'Westland'.

Photograph: Australian Railway Historical Society Archives


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