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A new house

The Curtin Family Home, 1999 The double garage (14), front veranda (5) and dining room extension (13) were added after World War II. Click to view full plan(pdf)

John Curtin is said to have designed the family's new house in Jarrad Street. Apart from the verandahs which sheltered it on three sides, the plan was unremarkable in its layout and comforts.

Although the house had a side entrance, its four rooms plus hall, verandah bathroom, outside wash house and pan toilet at the back fence were familiar housing at the time it was built. By the 1930s the West Australian Workers' Homes Board offered standard plans with the refinement of a flushing toilet and laundry attached to the house, but the Curtins did not opt to move when John Curtin's parliamentary income increased. Their modest home is evidence of John and Elsie Curtin's sense of themselves as ordinary Australians.

The verandahs were enclosed as the family's need for space grew. The back verandah yielded a kitchen that freed up an internal bedroom for the children, and a north-east corner bedroom for Grandma Annie Needham. The south-east corner later became a sleep-out for the Curtins' son John while Elsie remained in an internal bedroom. The lounge room was extended into the verandah in the mid-1930s.

Next: At home with the family: a crowded house


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