Education and Learning




John and Elsie Curtin with their children John and Elsie 

John & Elsie Curtin with daughter Elsie and son John, Cottesloe 25 January 1942.
Records of the Curtin family JCPML00381/29  

John Curtin was Prime Minister from October 1941 until July 1945 when he died in office. He is considered one of Australia’s greatest leaders. His own experience of economic depression, unemployment and poor housing drove his early ambitions for Australia and his parliamentary career was dedicated to improving opportunities for workers and their families and to protecting his country.

The modest family home at Jarrad Street was built in 1923. It had four rooms, a bathroom and an entry hall. Its verandahs extended around three sides, reportedly for John to practice his speeches. They were gradually enclosed as the needs of the family outgrew the house.
Built in the Interwar California Bungalow style popular between WW1 and the Depression the home expresses John and Elsie Curtin’s modest, unassuming personalities and is a reminder of the simple lifestyle common for Australians of this era.

While Curtin was away, Elsie dealt with mail, press cuttings and general administration from her dining room table.

After the war and Curtin's death, Elsie, her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter shared the Curtin family home. Elsie Curtin died in 1975 and her daughter stayed in the house until 1998.

The Australian Curriculum: History program for year 6 - Australia as a Nation

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