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John Curtin College of the Arts is a high school with student intake from the greater Fremantlemarker area, in Western Australiamarker. The school currently has over 1100 students attending.

Originally, named John Curtin High School after the late prime minister John Curtin, it was the first government-built secondary school in the south-west metropolitan region of Western Australiamarker. It was built to replace the twin co-ed schools Fremantle Boys' School and Princess May's Girls' School. The first building was opened in 1942, the rest of the school was built between 1954 and 1958, and an arts centre was added in 1987. During the first decade or so of the school's operation, a number of annexes were dotted around Fremantle and used for some classes.

The science annex, built later than the main school, is separate from the main school buildings because it was funded by the federal government.

John Curtin College of the Arts


Fremantle's first official cemetery was on top of the land that is now the College oval. The cemetery was first established in 1852 and used until 1899 when it was decommissioned. It later fell into a poor condition. Throughout the 1930s all unbroken headstones were transferred to Fremantle Cemeterymarker on Carrington Street. Families were required to pay for the exhumation and reburial of their relatives’ remains, and many did not do so for various reasons. The existence of these interred bodies has over the years given rise to a number of campus ghost stories (often involving the oldest building on campus, the Manual Arts building).

Following the entrance of Japanmarker into World War II and the threat of attack on Australia, four anti-aircraft gun emplacements were established where the College buildings currently stand. Throughout the war years the former cemetery became a base camp used by the troops who manned the guns and was a significant part of Fortress Fremantle for the defence of the port.

John Curtin College of the Arts has many specialist programs including football , drama, dance, music, ballet, music theatre, arts media and the A.E.P. (Academic Extension Program) for English, mathematics, science and society and environment.

In 1990, a history of the school was written by the then Ancient History teacher, Tim Johnson. The slim volume, entitled Guns Graves and Dreaming, the History of Fremantle's High School: John Curtin Senior High School, was never published (but is available at a number of Western Australian libraries).

In 2001, the College was placed on the WA Register of Heritage Places.

In 2006, John Curtin College of the Arts celebrates its 50th year of operation, and hosted a gathering for the school community in honour of this event on the 12th of November.

Famous alumni



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