Wal Turner was born in Oakleigh in 1919, the first of eight children of Alf and Daisy Turner. His father was a cattle dealer and drover. In 1927, the family moved to a dairy farm on Halton Road, Dandenong. Since that time, Dandenong was central to Wal’s life.
Wal left school at fourteen to work in market gardening, initially for Jack Baines, and then for Mr and Mrs Les Lawrence. He met his wife, Joyce, in 1939 and at the end of the war, they bought seventeen acres of market garden on the corner of Halton and Elonera Roads.
Wal earned a reputation for producing fine vegetables, particularly celery until he sold his farm in 1967. Wal regularly made the early morning trips into the Queen Victoria Market. His work with the Dandenong Show Committee stems from this time.
For sixteen years until he retired in 1984, Wal worked for McEwan’s as a foreman in their Clayton warehouse and in 1973 stood for Council.
He was motivated by the desire to improve the inadequate educational facilities in the North Dandenong area. Wal had anticipated staying for just one three-year term; instead he continued to serve until 1994 and was Mayor twice.
He was a dedicated Councillor and became a member of countless, varied committees and organisations. He saw this as the duty and role of a good local government representative and derived enormous pleasure from being able to serve the community and help develop its facilities.
Wal especially remembered his work with the Dandenong/Springvale Water Board, Dandenong TAFE, the ‘Pillars of Freedom’ project, Dandenong & District Benevolent Society, Heritage Hill, Dandenong North Senior Citizens’ Club and the Jan Wilson Community Centre. Others will remember many other examples of his service.