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Surviving the Depression

A page from the sports section of the Westralian Worker, Friday June 3 1932. John Curtin worked as a sports writer on the Worker during the depression.

As Australia suffered the effects of the Great Depression, the Labor Party was removed from office in the federal election of 1931. Curtin, having lost his seat, was now out of a job.

Back home in Cottesloe Curtin saw the effects of the Depression all around him—even nearby, beyond Jarrad Street, where sustenance workers filled in a former quarry.[53]  Elsie’s careful financial management while he was in parliament ensured that the family was able to ride out the harsh economic times. She had bought the house over the street in the late 1920s, and its rent contributed to their income.

John Curtin's writing desk (made by W Taylor (WA) from Tasmanian Oak in 1927. JCPML00376-39John Curtin declined an invitation to replace his successor at the Worker, but accepted a place on the paper as a sports journalist. This work, together with a weekly column for the Labor Party and other items for Australian newspapers sufficed to keep the family. Much of this writing was done at his desk in the Curtins’ lounge room.  In 1933 he worked on the WA submission to the Commonwealth Grants Commission.

Curtin regained the seat of Fremantle in the 1934 election. His surprise elevation to Leader of the Opposition followed in 1935. This ended a leisurely period at home with his family. For the rest of his life he had commitments in Canberra for much of each year.


Next: Homes for the people

  • Curtin_house_were_styled_on_the_Interwar_Californian_Bungalow.jpg
    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.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.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.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.jpg
    Labor flyer for the federal election campaign 1943
  • Labor_women's_organisation_1950.jpg
    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.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.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.jpg
    The lounge was a workplace for John Curtin during the Depression
  • Westralian_Worker_1932.jpg
    Westralian_Worker_1932.jpg
    Westralian Worker 1932
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