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Johann Ferdinand (John) Sturken (1894–1943)

ONE OF BERWICK’S best known businessmen, Mr. John Ferdinand Sturken, of “Gowrie,” Berwick, passed away suddenly in the Mercy Hospital on January 30, after a brief illness of only five days’ duration. A returned soldier from the 1914-18 war, he was only 48, and last year re-entered military service to do his bit at no little personal sacrifice to himself.

A native of Fitzroy, he was the son of the late Henry Amadis and Annie Sturken. Before he enlisted for the last war he was employed at the Melbourne head office of the Bank of New South Wales and on his return he resumed his association with the bank. Later, however, he decided to strike out for himself, and in 1920 he became an auctioneer and estate agent at Berwick, where he has resided with his family ever since. Hiswife was a daughter of the late Mr. William Wilson, formerly well known as the owner of the Berwick Quarries. She survives him and there is one daughter. Joan Elizabeth (“Betty”). Both have the heartfelt sympathy of numerous friends throughout the district in the sorrow that is theirs today. Their grief is shared by one sister (Mrs. Keetley, of Dandenong), and one brother, Norman (of Kew).

The late Mr. Sturken proved a successful and enterprising business man. When he resigned from the bank, he launched the firm of John F. Sturken and C0., Commission Agents, and at the same time established the “Berwick County Times.” He took out an auctioneer’s licence and conducted sales at Cranbourne, Old Pakenham and in the surrounding districts. He was a Fellow of the R.E. Institute of Australia and a commissioner for taking affidavits. For some years he has been the Deputy Returning Offier at both Federal and State elections. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and interested him self in many local and district bodies, chief among them being the Berwick Agricultural Society. When that old-established body ran its record combined patriotic show in conjunction with Dandenong, he was president of the society. Many other movements in the town also claimed his sunport, and the Berwick community will miss him greatly.

When he enlisted in the AIF, for the present war, he attained the rank of WOl and was associated with the 1st Australian Ammunition Factory. However his health began to trouble him and he was admitted to Heidelberg Hospital for treatment. After 3 months there he was discharged unfit and returned to Berwick. He was not well for two months prior to his death but continued to move about. It was only days before the end that he entered hospital.

The funeral, which took place on Monday, was very largely attended. Before the cortege moved off Rev. Ernest Panelli conducted a service at deceased’s late home, “Gowrie.” Berwick, and he also performed the last sad rites at the grave side. The Returned Soldiers’ service was also read, and when the coffin was lowered, his comrades of the last war filed past the grave and dropped poppies into it as a silent tribute.

There was a wealth of floral tributes on the hearse and put on the oaken casket from his wife and daughter. The remains were laid to rest in the family grave at the Berwick Cemetery, where the pall-bearers were Messrs. N. E. Beaumont. P. H. Brunt. A. Milar. C. Roberts, J. Grant, H. M. Potts and S. J. Bird. W. J. Garnar and Son carried out the funeral arangements.

Original publication

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Citation details

'Sturken, Johann Ferdinand (John) (1894–1943)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 May 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


29 September, 1894
Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


30 January, 1943 (aged 48)
East Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service
Key Organisations