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A woman's place

Elsie Curtin ‘maintained that it was “a woman’s duty to take an interest in politics” ’.  Here she speaks to the Fremantle Labor Women’s Organisation, 1950. Left to right: Rose Fuhrman (president), Elsie Curtin, Rae Golding (Secretary). Records of the Curtin family JCPML00376/163

Elsie Curtin saw herself as a mother and homemaker. She spent most of her life in the Curtin Family Home. ‘Some women are equipped for public life’, she told a journalist in 1944, ‘while others are best suited for a domestic role. I’m one of those women who belong in the home’.[44]

John Curtin believed marriage to be '...a vocation the greatest a woman attains’,  but during World War II he expressed support for equal pay for men and women doing the same jobs,  and endorsed the employment of married women outside their households.[45]

He gave strong support to the socialist Adela Pankhurst during her speaking visit to Perth in 1917, welcomed the election of Senator Dorothy Tangney and Dame Enid Lyons to federal parliament in 1943,  and encouraged women’s participation in the labour movement.

Next: A love story

Learn more: Elsie Curtin

  • Curtin_house_were_styled_on_the_Interwar_Californian_Bungalow.jpg
    Curtin house were styled on the Interwar Californian Bungalow
  • 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
  • John_Curtin_working_Sunday_morning_Lodge_study_Canberra_1942.jpg
    John Curtin working Sunday morning Lodge study Canberra 1942
  • Labor_flyer_for_the_federal_election_campaign_1943.jpg
    Labor flyer for the federal election campaign 1943
  • Labor_women's_organisation_1950.jpg
    Labor women's organisation 1950
  • Telegram_from_John_to_Elsie_Curtin_on_her_fiftieth_birthday_4-10-1940.jpg
    Telegram from John to Elsie Curtin on her fiftieth birthday 4-10-1940
  • The_desk_of_John_Curtin_was_made_of_Tasmanian_oak_in_1927.jpg
    The desk of John Curtin was made of Tasmanian oak in 1927
  • The_lounge_was_a_workplace_for_John_Curtin_during_the_Depression.jpg
    The lounge was a workplace for John Curtin during the Depression
  • Westralian_Worker_1932.jpg
    Westralian Worker 1932

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