Adrian Robert Todd Turnbull
- 468Wallaby Number
‘Art’ Turnbull was a gifted three-quarter with size, pace, an excellent swerve and a powerful palm-off who journeyed long and far before he achieved national honours. Turnbull was born in London, educated in Sydney and Perth, played representative rugby for Western Australia and Victoria before a career in electronic engineering took him to Silicon Valley and Milan.
The Turnbulls emigrated from London to Rose Bay however they upped and left for the relative safety of the Blue Mountains after the Japanese submarine I-24 attacked Sydney in the early hours of June 9, 1942. Turnbull’s mother later returned home to Western Australia with ‘Art’ where he finished his secondary schooling at Scotch College. No rugby was played at Scotch at that time however at Turnbull’s urging the sport found a footing. That footing was enough for a 1st XV to be put together, a side Turnbull played in for two years (1950-51). He was also a member of the College’s Athletics team for two seasons (1949-50).
After graduation Turnbull enrolled to study Engineering at the University of Western Australia. He played his club rugby for the University and soon represented his state at U19 level. Turnbull had his first taste of senior representative rugby in 1954 when he debuted for Western Australia against Combined Universities. The following year he attended his first Southern States Carnival where he was adjudged the most outstanding Western Australian player at the tournament. In recognition of those achievements Turnbull was awarded a University Blue.
In 1961, Turnbull - who had moved to Victoria to undertake both a Masters in Engineering and a cadetship with the Navy - was playing his club rugby with the Powerhouse club and won selection for Victoria in their match against the touring Fijians at Olympic Park. Turnbull outpaced famed Fijian flyer Joe Levula for the Victorian’s sole try and coupled with his overall performance was rewarded with a Test debut in Melbourne.
Four years later Turnbull, who had during his time with the Navy worked on the guidance system for the Ikara anti-submarine missile, was head-hunted by an electronics company to work in what later became known as Silicon Valley.
‘Art’ Turnbull played one Test for Australia and will forever be Wallaby #468
Turnbull won his first Test cap on the left wing in the 3rd Test, 3-3 draw with Fiji at Olympic Park