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Turnbull, Ralph (1846–1935)

Another of the Hawkesbury's oldest and best known identities, Mr. Ralph Turnbull, passed away at his residence, "Karoola," Wilberforce, on Monday, after a lengthy illness and at the ripe age of 88 years. Had he lived a few more days he would have reached his 89th milestone. By his death a link in a unique chain of twins has been snapped his surviving twin brother, Mr. William Turnbull, being still hale and hearty, whilst Messrs Arthur and Fred. Daley, of Wilberforce, are twin nephews, and Peter and John Nolan; sons of Mr. and Mrs. Geoff. Nolan (nee Miss Doll Greentree, of Wilberforce) are twin great-grandsons of the deceased.

Born at Colo, the deceased was a son of the late Ralph and Sarah Turnbull, and had lived in the district all his life — for the major portion at Wilberforce, where he carried on farming operations. He was married at Redfern 64 years ago to Miss Maria Ann Dunston, sister of the late Mrs. Henry Dunston, of Grose Vale, who survives, together with a family of one son and seven daughters, viz., Amy Amelia (Mrs. Fred Greentree, Mt. Keira), Willie (Wilberforce), Edith Alice (at home), Fanny (Mrs. McGregor, Wilberforce), Jessie (Mrs. Poidevin, Wollongong), Minnie (Mrs. Arthur Bootle, Pitt Town), Gladys (at home), and Dulcie (Mrs. Ronald Hall, Wilberforce). Two sons and one daughter predeceased their father.

Right throughout his long life, until he retired owing to ill health a few years ago, the late Mr. Turnbull had been a hard worker, and even in his 80's could be found tilling the soil on his farm at Wilberforce. Although he did not take a prominent part in public life, he was always keenly interested in the welfare of the district, and for many years was a member of the council of the Hawkesbury District Agricultural Association, for which he rendered yeoman service. Upon his retirement from the council he, as well as his brother, who retired some years later, were made honorary life members—an honor which has been conferred on only two other councillors since the inception of the society. Kind-hearted and generous, and a Christian gentleman in the true sense of the term, Mr. Turnbull's life trail is strewn with the memories of kindly deeds, and to known him was to respect and esteem him.

It is said that the late Mr. Turnbull and his brother had never at any time lived more than a mile from each other, and that up till a few years ago the resemblance was so striking that it was difficult to tell them apart. It is true that Ralph's name often appeared under William's photograph, and vice versa, but this mistake was quite excusable considering the remarkable resemblance of the brothers. It is on record also that many years ago a well-known and highly respected attorney of Windsor, who did not mix his drinks, mistaking one brother for the other, went into a long business negotiation under the misapprehension that he was dealing with William instead of Ralph, who kept the joke up in good style until the right brother came on the scene. Then there was a good laugh all round.

The funeral on Tuesday afternoon was attended by a large concourse of people from all parts of the district — a striking demonstration of the respect and esteem in which the deceased was held by the community. The remains were laid to rest in St. John's Church of England cemetery, Wilberforce, the Rector (Rev. Stanley Howard, M.A.) conducting the last sad rites. Mr. Chandler reverently carried out the funeral arrangements.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • funeral, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 June 1935, p 20

Citation details

'Turnbull, Ralph (1846–1935)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/turnbull-ralph-17219/text29008, accessed 21 November 2017.

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