Jack Edward Turnbull
John (‘Straub’) Turnbull was one of those ill-fated players who were on the 1939 tour to the British Isles, war breaking out a few days after their arrival in England. However a game was arranged on the way back to Australia at Bombay, Australia winning 21 to 0. It was held so players could say they represented their country.
Straub graduated from Sydney Boys’ High School. This school has produced many Wallabies over the years, such as John Bosler, John Brass, Roy Cawsey, Roy Cooney, Mick Cremin, Peter Crittle, Keith Cross, Wal Dawson, Keith Gordon, Peter Johnson, Jason James-Hughes, Russ Kelly ( before going on to Canterbury Boys’ High School), Syd King, Adam Magro, Tom Pauling, Alan Skinner, Phil Smith, Gordon Stone, Ken Tarleton, John Thornett, Turnbull, Chris Whitaker and Stan Wickham ( prior to Parramatta Marist Brothers).
In 1935 the NZ Maori toured Australia, and in the second NSW match John Turnbull, then only 20- years- of -age and playing for Eastern Suburbs, replaced Keith Ramsay as a lock. The Blues won by 20 to 13 in his debut. However in the third match Turnbull in turn was replaced by Randwick’s Rex Larnach-Jones.
Turnbull did not make the 1936 Australian tour to New Zealand, and did not play against the mighty Springboks in 1937,nor the 1938 New Zealand team.
Now 23 –years- of -age, he had proved himself in club rugby with Eastern Suburbs and for NSW against other States, and performed well in the trials for the 1939 tour to the British Isles. He was selected for the tour, but as noted war broke out, thus seemingly ending his representative career.
However, at 32- years- of -age, he was selected in ‘A New South Wales Team’ against the 1947 All Blacks, this time in the frontrow. He was obviously being considered for the 1947-48 tour to the British Isles, France and North America. He missed out, only Bill McLean of that team being selected.
In all, Turnbull played twelve games for NSW, 86 first grade games for Eastern Suburbs, and one non-Test match. He joined the Army in the Second World War and was taken prisoner.