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Personal security

The front door, 1998. People who wanted to see John Curtin simply opened the low picket gate, walked up the garden path and rang the doorbell. One of the family answered the door and decided who was to be admitted.  JCPML00632/5

Personal security for the Prime Minister of Australia today is in stark contrast with that accorded to John Curtin when he was prime minister.

Curtin’s name and address were in the telephone book until his death. There was easy access to his family home, with its outside toilet, woodshed and laundry. The front door was not locked. People just rang the doorbell when they wanted to contact a member of the family.  Elsie Curtin, her mother and her daughter were often at home alone during John Curtin’s parliamentary career in Canberra.  Their home had no air-raid shelter.

John and Elsie Curtin were very accessible. None of the family had a bodyguard. They used public transport. John chatted with strangers, sat in teashops, and once even shared his compartment with several servicemen as he lay on the seat trying to sleep during a long-distance train trip. He went for walks near his home, visited the barber, watched the football and undertook election campaigns without protection, mostly alone.

Next: Enduring separation

  • 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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