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Who was John Curtin?

Curtin University's namesake, John Curtin, is widely recognised as one of Australia's greatest statesmen. Prime Minister of Australia from 1941 to 1945, he assumed office just six weeks before the bombing of Pearl Harbour and led Australia through the nation's darkest days. He died within weeks of final victory in the Pacific, aged 60.

John Curtin pioneered independent foreign policy and forged a strategic alliance with the United States - a policy shift that represented a radical and controversial change of outlook for Australia. His promotion of our country as a world-citizen free of colonial restraint directly contributed to the cultural diversity and social responsibility of contemporary Australia.

John Curtin's keen sense of social justice and community service was evident in his political career. He created the foundations of progressive social legislation, including the introduction of the widows' pension, sickness and unemployment benefits and the beginning of a national health scheme. He also guided Australia through an overhaul of the national economy and emphasised the importance of full employment as a major objective of government.
Updated 15/09/2022 09.59 AM