A political drama set against the background of what seemed like the imminent collapse of the entire global economic system, The Fremantle Candidate is a witty and heart-warming story of a man rising from the ashes to start again. It tells of the forging of the character of Australia's greatest leader, a man who was to die in the service of his country.

Australia is in the middle of the Great Depression and John Curtin, having lost the seat of Fremantle in the 1931 general election returns to Perth a broken man. He's back on the bottle in spite of a long held promise to his beloved wife, Elsie, never to drink again. If he wants to get back to Canberra he has to overcome his own demons as well as the party hacks looking for a more pliable candidate for the seat.

As he struggles to retain his influence in the mire of local party politics, Curtin strikes up a friendship with one of Australia's most important thinkers and writers of that time, Walter Murdoch, who has his own political aspirations. With Murdoch's help he comes to understand the true causes of his addiction, but in the process he must also take advantage of Murdoch's social and political influence.

At the heart of the play is a study of the character of this most important and enigmatic of national leaders; a deeply ethical and decent man who also understood that to be a politician, was to be ready to bend rules and manipulate people, but always with the object of best serving the men and women of Australia.

  • political drama
  • 110
  • 6 total
  • 1 female identifying, 5 male identifying
  • history
  • 18+
  • adult
  • Australian Script Centre




Production archive for 'The Fremantle Candidate' by Ingle Knight, directed by Chris Bendall, 2012. Includes video interviews with cast and crew.



The leading professional organisation supporting, advocating and promoting the development of Western Australian playwrights and performance writing.


PLEASE NOTE: This page contains links to files that have been sourced, and websites that are maintained by other businesses and organisations. Please refer to our terms of use.

Search for details of past productions at

AusStage provides an accessible research facility for investigating live performance in Australia.

Search by play title and/or playwright name
Results will open in a new window

PLEASE NOTE: You will be directed to for search results; Australian Plays Transform is not responsible for their completeness. Refer to our terms of use.

SKU: ASC-1432 Category:

We acknowledge that we live and create on unceded lands. We pay our respects to the First Peoples of Australia, and to their elders past, present and future.

© Australian Plays Transform 2024