When in Canberra earlier this week, I lodged at the Hotel Kurrajong which is about two blocks from Old Parliament House and built at the same time - late 1920s. In the foyer of the K, they have old photographs showing empty paddocks stretching between the two. Fast forward 15 years, to the years of World War II, when the Prime Minister was John Curtin from Cottesloe in WA, and his Treasurer was Ben Chifley from Bathurst in NSW. Curtin died in office in 1945 (a few weeks after Rooseveldt) having been PM for 5 years. Chifley was PM from 1945 to 1949. During the war years, they used to walk to work from their lodgings.
This statue of their friendly morning ramble was unveiled about a month ago by our current PM, Julia Gillard from Altona in Victoria. It is based upon an iconic photograph which I have also included. It really is a terrific statue to stumble upon. Extremely life-like and very Australian in its accessibility and egalitarianism. The sculptor was Peter Corlett who was born in 1944. I cannot remember which street it is on, but it is very close to the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet (PM&C).
Chifley is the one with the pipe!
Curtin was a recovering alcoholic. Chifley had been a train-driver in his earlier life, and kept a mistress.