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Eli James Turnbull (1862–1919)

There passed away on the 16th inst., at his late home 'Ulinbawn,' Mulgoa, Eli James Turnbull, a native of the Hawkesbury River, a man of fine character, whom to know was to honor and respect. The late Mr. Turnbull died of chronic nephritis, and during the last six months of his life had been a great sufferer, but he bore it with a fortitude that is begotten of Christian resignation. He was a man of deeply, implanted religious convictions, and was one of the wholesome, robust and devout Christians that all the world admired. He detested cant and sham, and his true character was written large on his honest open countenance. A man of varied experience, and of fine intuition, he understood his fellow men, and bore with their weaknesses, perhaps more than most men, and never spared himself to uplift a wayward brother and put him on the right track. He was blessed with a grand helpmate, and a family that are a credit to their parents, in whose lives the influence of good example and splendid home-training left their indelible mark. Mrs. Turnbull was to her husband all that a true fond wife should be, and the knowledge of that will assuage her grief in her irreparable loss.

The late E. J. Turnbull was the third son of the late James and Mary Turnbull, of Sackville, and was born at historic Portland Head in July, 1862, and was in his 57th year. His early education was obtained at a small provisional school at Sackville, under the tuition of the late Edward Chatterton. Later he studied under his brother, Cyrus, who for many years taught at a school near Mulgoa. He returned to the home at Sackville and followed farming pursuits for a few years, and then bought a general store at Mulgoa, where he resided until his death. In 1886 he was married, by the Rev. Wm. Hughes, at 'Ulinbawn,' Sackville Reach, to Adeline Ann, second daughter of the late Thomas Green, one of the grand old pioneers of the Hawkesbury River, who passed away only a few weeks ago at a ripe old age, honored by all who knew him. To them were born five daughters, viz., Hilda (Mrs. W. J. Booth, of the police station, Cessnock); Ida (Mrs, Ernest Eaton, of Penrith); Ivy (Mrs. Cecil Roots, of Penrith), Nina and Linda, residing at home. The late Mr. Turnbull was one of a large family of eleven sons and daughters, one sister and two brothers having predeceased him. They were: Alice (Mrs. E. Kemp, of Narara); Archibald, of Sackville, and Ralph, of West Maitland. His remaining brothers and sisters are: Cyrus, headmaster of Broadmeadow Public School, Berry; Mrs. Chas. Green, Lower Portland; Arthur, of Lisarow, near Gosford; Mrs. I. N. Woods, Granville; Mrs. W. Harrison, Port Macquarie; Stanley, of Newtown, and Marshall, on active service abroad. Canon E. N. Wilton, an intimate friend of the deceased and his family came from Bathurst to assist at the burial service, travelling all night to get to Mulgoa in time. He conducted a short but touching service at the home, and then the cortege wended its way to the historic church about a mile distant.

Referring to the subject of this, notice, our contemporary, Nepean Times, says: —Mr. E. J. Turnbull was ever a leading personality in all affairs of the municipal life of Mulgoa, and for 25 years was officially associated with the municipal council. He was an alderman, and Mayor of the municipality on several occasions. He was also town clerk for a very long period, and it is perhaps correct to say that no man now living has a fuller, clearer knowledge of the municipality than that he possessed. No man assuredly could be more trusted or more universally liked. He was always approachable, and the information he gave — gladly imparted — was reliable and invaluable. By careful, conscientious, and consistent attention to the business in hand — the cultivation of some ten acres of orchard, he won a good living, in hard, exacting, and unfavorable conditions and dry seasons as well as those conditions when all farmers are happy. Here again, as a farmer Mr. Turnbull set the highest example, and proved himself to be of those who constitute one of the Empire's greatest assets, viz., the company of honest toilers. He had a fund of humor, and a strong religious sense that he assiduously cultivated. Mr. Turnbull was foremost in all church efforts — in all works that were promoted for the welfare of the community.

The last sacred rites were conducted at St. Thomas' Church, Mulgoa, on the 18th inst., by the Rev. Canon Wilton (of All Saints' Cathedral, Bathurst), who was, in 1905-6, in charge of the care of souls at Mulgoa for 18 months; he was assisted in the burial office by Mr. J. R. Le Huray, curate of St. Stephen's Parish, Penrith. The chief mourners were: Mrs. E. J. Turnbull (widow), Misses Nina and Linda Turnbull, Mr. and Mrs. Will. Booth (Cessnock), Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Roots and Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Eaton (Penrith), Mr. C. J. Turnbull (Berry), Mr. A. Turnbull (Lisarow), Mr. and Mrs. and the Misses Green (Lower Portland), Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Woods (Granville), Mr. J. Turnbull (Sackville Reach). Floral tributes of sympathy and appreciation were sent by Mrs. Fancourt, Mr. and Mrs. Walton and family, Misses Riley (Glenmore), Mrs. Rose (Sydney), Mr. F. Mills and family (Mulgoa).

Original publication

Citation details

'Turnbull, Eli James (1862–1919)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 21 April 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]


July, 1862
Ebenezer, New South Wales, Australia


16 February, 1919 (aged 56)
Mulgoa, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

kidney disease

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.