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Updated: 24/09/2006


Footballers Famous in other Fields

John Joseph Curtin (1885-1945)
John Curtin was born in Creswick, Victoria, on January 8, 1885.

His birth, along with that of Ben Chiefley, a fellow Labor and Wartime Prime Minister, was commemorated by release of a PSE on the 25th January 1985. Their were two  Commemorative Postmarks, one from Perth, West Australia ( PM 1191) and another from Creswick, Victoria ( PM 1194).

  Curtin and Chiefley PSE

Curtin left school at the age of 12, started his working life in a print shop, and then became a journalist.

Between 1903 and 1907 he was a good amateur footballer playing for Brunswick in the VFA until poor eyesight shortened his career. He then became a Brunswick committee man and served on the Committee of Investigation into rough play for the VFA. In 1917 he moved to Perth in WA. He barracked for Carlton in the VFL.

Curtin entered federal politics in 1928, winning the Fremantle seat in the House of Representatives for Labor. By 1935 he was leader of the Labor party and in October 1941 became prime minister. As prime minister he worked determinedly to adapt the economy to a wartime situation and to establish Australia as part of the Pacific region, more dependent for security on the United States than on Great Britain; he also came into conflict with Winston Churchill, arguing heatedly for the withdrawal of Australian troops from the Middle East. Curtin's excessive workload undermined his health and he died in office on July 5, 1945, a few months before the Allied victory.

The first stamp featuring John Curtin was issued as part of the third series of Australian Prime Ministers on the 26th March 1975. (left) Other PM's included Scullen, Lyons, Page, Fadden and Chiefley. The Wesley Cover Service as well as Australia Post released a First Day Cover. The five stamps were also released in a Post Office Pack.

A set of five stamps, 2 FDCs , 5 Maximim Cards and Post Office Pack, commemorating the five war time Prime Ministers, including Curtin (right) were issued on the 11th August 1994, nearing 50 years from the end of the second world war.