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John Curtin 07 Oct 1941 14th Prime Minister
John Curtin was sworn in as Prime Minister after the Fadden coalition government lost majority support in the House of Representatives.
John Curtin 19 Nov 1941 The second Sydney
The HMAS Sydney and the German raider Kormoran fought an hour-long battle 150 miles west of Shark Bay, Western Australia. Both vessels were stricken. The Sydney was on fire but moved slowly away. Most of the Kormoran crew survived and were picked up, but the Sydney and all 645 men aboard disappeared. Ten anguished days later Prime Minister John Curtin made the news public.
John Curtin 09 Dec 1941 Declaration of war
Two days after the Japanese attack on the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Australia declared war on Japan, and on axis powers Finland, Hungary and Romania.
John Curtin 19 Feb 1942 Bombing of Darwin
Japanese bombers made the first attack on Darwin four days after Japan captured Singapore. The Japanese advance was stopped in the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway atoll in May, and at Kokoda in November 1942. Attacks on Darwin and Katherine continued until November 1943. Bombs were also dropped on Townsville, Queensland, and Wyndham, Derby, Broome and Port Hedland in Western Australia.
John Curtin 31 May 1942 Submarines in Sydney Harbour
A torpedo fired from a midget submarine missed its target, the USS Chicago, and struck HMAS Kuttabul at Garden Island in Sydney Harbour, killing 19 sailors. Two other midget submarines, launched from a flotilla of Japanese submarines lying off the coast, were disabled and captured.
John Curtin 07 Jun 1942 Income tax goes federal
Enactment of the Income Tax (War-time Arrangements) Act enabled the Commonwealth to take over from the States the power to levy personal income tax.
John Curtin 11 Aug 1942 Hollywood bombshell
Film star and Austrian refugee Hedy Lamarr and a fellow inventor took out a United States patent for a technique for generating a secure spectrum of radio frequencies to guide torpedoes. The technique was later used in missiles and for mobile phones.
John Curtin 24 Dec 1942 Planning for a future
A Department of Post-War Reconstruction was established. Dr HC Coombs was appointed Director-General in January 1943.
John Curtin 03 Mar 1943 Soviet embassy
A Soviet embassy was established in Canberra and an Australian diplomat was posted to Moscow.
John Curtin 14 May 1943 Centaur tragedy
The hospital ship Centaur with 268 people aboard was torpedoed off Cape Moreton, Queensland. It sank in 3 minutes, with all lives lost. It was en route to the war zone and carrying no patients.
John Curtin 21 Aug 1943 17th federal election
74 House of Representatives seats and 19 Senate seats
John Curtin 23 Sep 1943 First women, 17th parliament
Forty years after women candidates first stood for parliament, Dame Enid Lyons and Dorothy Tangney became the first women to win seats in parliament. Enid Lyons took a seat in the House of Representatives and Dorothy Tangney a seat in the Senate.
John Curtin 22 Jul 1944 World Bank
The agreement by allied powers to establish the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund was reached at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The initial aim was to establish international institutions to fund reconstruction in countries ravaged by the second world war.
John Curtin 05 Aug 1944 Cowra outbreak
Japanese prisoners of war broke out of their detention camp in Cowra, New South Wales. They were armed with improvised weapons and 231 prisoners were killed and 108 wounded. The survivors were captured in the next few days.
John Curtin 19 Aug 1944 Referendum
A proposal related to post-war reconstruction and democratic rights, including constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and religion, was not carried.
John Curtin 14 Dec 1944 Liberal Party of Australia
The new party was formed at a conference in Canberra. It emerged from an agreement to merge the United Australia Party and other non-Labor organisations, including the extensive Australian League of Women Voters.
John Curtin 30 Jan 1945 11th Governor-General
The Duke of Gloucester served as Governor-General until 11 March 1947. Sir Winston Dugan was acting Governor-General from 19 January to 11 March 1947.
John Curtin 25 Apr 1945 United Nations
The San Francisco conference to establish the United Nations opened. A new organisation to promote international peace, replacing the League of Nations, had been planned since representatives from China, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States met at Dunbarton Oaks in Washington DC in 1944. Forty-six nations sent delegates to draw up the Charter which was signed on 26 June 1945.
John Curtin 08 May 1945 VE-Day
Germany’s surrender to the allied forces ended the war in Europe.