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Saying goodbye

Elsie Curtin, daughter Elsie Macleod, son John F Curtin, and his wife Catherine walk to the funeral procession waiting in front of the Curtins’ home, 8 July 1945. Image courtesy West Australian Newspapers Records of the Curtin family JCPML00347/27

After his health declined following a heart attack in 1944, John Curtin died in Canberra on 5 July 1945. As he had requested, his body was brought home to Perth for burial.

In the winter sunshine of Sunday 8 July crowds lined Cottesloe streets as the motorised gun carriage bearing John Curtin’s coffin paused for a few minutes in front of the Curtin's home and the garden where he had liked to potter. Elsie Curtin and her family left their house and joined the cortege that proceeded to Karrakatta Cemetery for a funeral befitting a prime minister who had died in office.

Epitaph on John Curtin’s grave, Karrakatta Cemetery Records of the Curtin family JCPML00004/39

As the service concluded, John F Curtin stepped forward and laid flowers from the Curtins’ garden on his father’s coffin. It bore a card inscribed ‘Deepest love and fondest memories from Nippy, Elsie and Jack’. [29]

John Curtin MHR PC
Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia October 1941 - July 1942 
Beloved husband of ELSIE. Loving father of ELSIE and JOHN.
Born 8 1 1885 - Died 5 7 1945

His country was his pride 
His brother man his cause

John Curtin remembered
Elsie M Macleod remembers her father John Curtin. 1994/5. JCPML00012/1

Next: Staying on

  • Elsie_Curtin_and_family_members_walking_to_funeral_car_1945.jpg
    Elsie Curtin and family members walking to funeral car 1945
  • Epitah_on_John_Curtin's_grave_Karrakata_Cemetery.jpg
    Epitah on John Curtin's grave Karrakata Cemetery
  • Gun-carriage_bearing_John_Curtin's_coffin_outside_Curtin_home_Cottesloe_1945.jpg
    Gun-carriage bearing John Curtin's coffin outside Curtin home Cottesloe 1945
  • John_Curtin's_funeral_procession_Cottesloe_July_1945.jpg
    John Curtin's funeral procession Cottesloe July 1945
  • Mrs_Elsie_Curtin_&_son_John_at_John_Curtin's_funeral_Karrakatta_Cemetery_1945.jpg
    Mrs Elsie Curtin & son John at John Curtin's funeral Karrakatta Cemetery 1945

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