Strict Standards: Only variables should be assigned by reference in /home/cur26210/public_html/modules/mod_jt_menumatic/tmpl/default.php on line 16

Enduring separation

John Curtin had only five trips home from Canberra after he became prime minister[34].  His son John, who was serving in the RAAF, saw him only twice during the war[35].  Elsie and John Curtin were often apart.

Curtin’s need for family and home after a tiring conference in Melbourne during 1937 is clear from a few words in a letter to Elsie:

Telegram from John to Elsie Curtin before their first Christmas apart, 23/12/1941 Records of the Curtin family JCPML00402/39

My goodness I’ll be glad ... when I get home. I am just aching to get to Port Augusta, which is, as I see it from here, a Perth suburb ... this note will beat me home but I will be following it hot footed.

Your loving husband
xxxxxxxx [36]

And a telegram written before their first Christmas apart in 1941:

My dearest this is the first Christmas we have not been together. It tears my heart...[37]

John F and Elsie M Curtin in the garden at Jarrad Street, 1941 After John Curtin became Leader of the Opposition in 1935 their father spent much of his time in Canberra. Records of the Curtin family JCPML00376/25 The night John Curtin died Reverend Hector Harrison, who was to conduct his funeral, assured him that his name would be in Australian history books for centuries. ‘That’s all right’, replied Curtin ‘... but I’ve had a family and I’ve hardly seen them grow up. Been away nearly all the time, especially in the formative years of life’. [38]


John Curtin - A life travelling
Elsie M Macleod discusses John Curtin away from home. 1994-5. JCPML00012/1

Next: An austere lifestyle

  • 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

Valid XHTML and CSS