Video John Curtin's Australian Journalists Association badge, 2007

TLF ID M008294

Prime Minister John Curtin's journalistic instincts came in handy during World War II when he kept the media onside with secret press briefings. He wore his AJA badge every day he was in office. 'John Curtin's Australian Journalists Association badge' is an episode from the series 'The prime ministers' national treasures', produced in 2007. Award-winning cartoonist and yarn spinner, Warren Brown, reveals the emotional lives of Australian prime ministers through 10 objects they used every day or even adored - from Robert Menzies's home movie camera, to Joseph Lyons's love letters, Harold Holt's briefcase and Ben Chifley's pipe. These treasures reveal the nation's leaders as you have never seen them before. 'The prime ministers' national treasures' is a Film Australia 'National Interest' program produced in association with Old Parliament House and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Educational details

Educational value
  • John Curtin started out as a copy boy on The Age, working his way up the ladder via the union movement. He joined the Australian Journalists Association (AJA) in 1917 and was elected Western Australian president in 1920, before moving into politics. Twenty years later he became Australia's fourteenth prime minister.
  • Curtin became prime minister in October 1941. Many Australian troops were fighting in the Middle East and north Africa, and others were based in Singapore. In February 1942 the Japanese took Singapore, with 30,000 Australian troops becoming prisoner. Australia seemed vulnerable to attack and even invasion. Curtin now moved to bring the Australian troops home from overseas, but British Prime Minister Churchill wanted to deploy them to Burma. Curtin fought against this, and won - but had to endure the anguish of knowing thousands of Australians, as they made the return trip to Australia, were virtually without protection against a strong Japanese fleet.
  • At the same time he had to stop Australians on the home front from panicking - and that meant controlling the news that the press would release. How could he do this? Curtin's affinity with the press served him well during those arduous years of World War II, when he kept newspaper editors on side with regular press briefings, even revealing dispatches from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. He wore his AJA badge every day he was in office.
  • John Curtin (1885-1945) was prime minister of Australia from October 1941 to July 1945. John Curtin's Australian Journalists Association badge is held at the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library in Perth.
Learning area
  • Civics and citizenship
  • The Arts
  • History
  • Studies of society and environment

Other details

  • Contributor
  • Name: National Film and Sound Archive
  • Organization: National Film and Sound Archive
  • Description: content provider
  • Address: ACT, AUSTRALIA
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  • Publisher
  • Name: National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)
  • Organization: National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA)
  • Description: Publisher
  • Address: ACT, AUSTRALIA
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  • Resource metadata contributed by
  • Name: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia Ltd
  • Address: AUSTRALIA
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  • Generic
Learning Resource Type
  • Video
  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and National Film and Sound Archive, 2011 (except where otherwise indicated). You may view, display, print out and copy this material for non-commercial educational purposes provided you retain all acknowledgements associated with the material.