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An austere lifestyle

Advertisement used in the Australian government’s austerity campaign of 1943 Women’s Weekly 13/3/1943, p.4, JCPML00297/3

Eighty per cent of Australians in 1942 supported John Curtin’s call for austerity to free up resources needed to sustain the nation’s war effort. [39]

That the government was able to rouse honour-driven support from the Australian public for a program of self-denial that would provide more of the goods and services needed for Australia’s survival can be attributed to Curtin’s sincerity.

Elsie Curtin participated in the austerity campaign, offering household austerity hints and appearing in advertisements persuading women to do without, and buy national savings bonds and war savings stamps and certificates.

John Curtin was able to lead by example. ‘Certainly,’ announced the Sunday Telegraph, ‘no-one could take a poke at him on “practising and preaching” austerity. He and Mrs Curtin ... both eat, dress and live with the utmost simplicity’.[40]

This small, shoulder-high wardrobe was John Curtin’s. It stood in the Curtins’ bedroom and would have held many of his clothes.  Image Renee Doropoulos 2010  Unworried about clothes rationing as it will affect his wardrobe is Prime Minister John Curtin, who has never been a fancy dresser, who likes his old clothes.

From daily observations over some years, the Curtin wardrobe appears to consist of: [three suits], a pair of white duck trousers, extremely aged ..., two hats ..., two overcoats ..., two pairs of shoes ..., a dinner suit, rather old-fashioned in cut, a faithful friend of many years, [white shirts] ... and plain ties, of which he is reported to have six. [41]

Next: The Japanese envoy

  • Advertisement_used_in_the_Australian_government_austerity_campaign_1943.jpg
    Advertisement used in the Australian government austerity campaign 1943
  • Jan_Smuts_-_Peter_Fraser_-_ W_Mackenzie-King_-_Winston_Churchill_and_John_Curtin_London_1944.jpg
    Jan_Smuts_-_Peter_Fraser_-_ W_Mackenzie-King_-_Winston_Churchill_and_John_Curtin_London_1944.jpg
    Jan Smuts - Peter Fraser - W Mackenzie-King - Winston Churchill and John Curtin London 1944
  • John_Curtin_and_Governor_General_Lord_Gowrie_sign_the_declaration_of_war_on_Japan_December 1941.jpg
    John_Curtin_and_Governor_General_Lord_Gowrie_sign_the_declaration_of_war_on_Japan_December 1941.jpg
    John Curtin and Governor General Lord Gowrie sign the declaration of war on Japan December 1941
  • John_Curtin_greeting_his_wife_on_arriva_home_on_left_is_the_Premier_Willcock_15-8-1943.jpg
    John Curtin greeting his wife on arriva home on left is the Premier Willcock 15-8-1943
  • John_Curtin_writing_at_his_desk_in_the_lounge_(nd).jpg
    John Curtin writing at his desk in the lounge (nd)
  • John_F_and_Elsie_M_Curtin_in_the_garden_1941.jpg
    John F and Elsie M Curtin in the garden 1941
  • Masumi_Kawai_attends_84th_birthday_of_Elsie_Curtin_1974.jpg
    Masumi Kawai attends 84th birthday of Elsie Curtin 1974
  • Telegram_from_John_to_Elsie_Curtin_before_their_first_Christmas_apart_ 23-12-1941.jpg
    Telegram_from_John_to_Elsie_Curtin_before_their_first_Christmas_apart_ 23-12-1941.jpg
    Telegram from John to Elsie Curtin before their first Christmas apart 23-12-1941
  • The_front_door_1998.jpg
    The front door 1998

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