Ian Turner

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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.


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