Deposit P2 - Ian Turner Collection

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Ian Turner Collection


  • 1884 - 1961 (Creation)

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Extent and medium

7.81 m

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Name of creator

(1922 - 1978)

Biographical history

Ian Alexander Hamilton Turner was born on 10 March 1922 at East Malvern, Melbourne. He was educated at Nhill State School, Geelong College and the University of Melbourne where his political interests were informed by the Spanish Civil War, fascism and communism. On 23 October 1941 Turner was called up for full-time service and in August 1942 he transferred to the Australian Imperial Force. In 1943 he joined the Communist Party of Australia. After his discharge from the AIF on 7 February 1945 Turner returned to the University of Melbourne (LLB, 1948; BA, 1949) where he was co-editor of Farrago, joint-secretary of the Labor Club and president of the Students' Representative Council. In 1949 Turner was made secretary of the Australian Peace Council. Following a directive from the CPA, he obtained a job as a railway cleaner and was elected an official with the Australian Railways Union. When Turner was sacked from the railways in 1952, he stood unsuccessfully for the Legislative Assembly seat of Glen Iris as a communist candidate and worked as secretary of the Australasian Book Society. He was expelled from the CPA in 1958 for his opposition to the Soviet Union’s suppression of the Hungarian uprising of 1956. Turner obtained his PhD in 1963 at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. His thesis provided the foundation for his books, Industrial Labour and Politics (Canberra, 1965) and Sydney’s Burning (Melbourne, 1967). After lecturing in history at the University of Adelaide from 1962, he moved to Monash University, Melbourne in 1964 where he taught Australian History and was promoted to associate-professor in 1969. Turner died on 27 December 1978 on Erith Island, Bass Strait.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

A large collection of political pamphlets, serials and some books; press cuttings and printed material re the Communist Party of Australia, the peace movement, international communist movements; press cuttings on the Australian labour movement in the 1890s and on political and industrial matters, 1946–1956; notes on his interviews with Katharine Susannah Prichard and Senator Don Cameron, 1960; minute book of the North Melbourne Branch of the Political Labor Council, 1913; rough minute book of the Tanners & Curriers Union of Victoria, 1884-1995; file on Coal and Bunkering Pty Ltd; photographs, prints and maps.


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Researchers must sign an access agreement

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Entered from deposit description on 21 August 2012




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