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Beyond Labor

The funeral procession pauses at the Curtin’s home. Image courtesy West Australian Newspapers Records of the Curtin family JCPML00347/24 During World War II John Curtin enjoyed approval from people on both sides of Australian politics.

After the 1943 election his wide following was demonstrated by Curtin’s winning majority of 20,000 votes—up from 600 votes in 1940—in the electorate of Fremantle, which had not been a safe Labor seat.[54]

Guests at Elsie Curtin’s twenty-first birthday party in the Curtin home on New Year’s Eve,1938 included the state premier, the opposition leader and the Under Treasurer.  The attendance of prominent people from both sides of politics on such a private occasion suggests respect and friendship that transcended political interests.

John Curtin’s funeral cortege moves down Stirling Highway Cottesloe. Image courtesy West Australian Newspapers JCPML00347/30

Bi-partisan support was evident in many accounts of John Curtin’s wartime activities. On attending a patriotic ball in Brunswick in 1942, he was complimented by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne Sir Frank Beaurepaire, who said:

He did not want the Prime Minister to think he was of the same political blood as he, but he did believe thattimes brought forth the man and times had brought forth a leader in Mr Curtin who was doing fine work. Whenpolitical history was written Mr Curtin’s name would be written in gold.[56]

Curtin’s funeral procession through Cottesloe and on to Karrakatta drew crowds of more than 100,000 people, more than a third of the population of Perth.[57] It was believed to be the largest funeral ever held in Western Australia.

  • 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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