Curtin University is named after John Curtin (1885-1945), a Western Australian who transformed Australia during World War II. Although only formally educated until the age of 14, John Curtin embodied the ideals of scholarship throughout his very active life. To help support his family, he worked variously as a printer’s apprentice, a labourer, a clerk, and a newspaper copyboy, eventually becoming editor of the Westralian Worker before entering politics as the Member for Fremantle in 1928.
It was through foreign policy that Curtin changed Australia forever, moving it from a nation with an inward perspective to a nation with a broad, international outlook, capable and prepared to make its own decisions. As a wartime leader, he was able to transcend party differences by appealing for national unity and his government worked hard to formulate a plan for a better post-war Australia.
Curtin University strives to honour his reputation for vision and international perspective.