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Biographical entry Turner, John Stewart (1908 - 1991)


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    Turner, John Stewart Portrait

9 September 1908
Middleborough, England
9 May 1991
Botanist and Plant physiologist


John Turner was Professor of Botany and Plant Physiology, University of Melbourne 1938-1973 and quickly assumed leadership in the field of conservation. During World War II he was in charge of a team at the University of Melbourne working on tropic proofing optical instruments using a fungicide.


Born Middleborough, England, 9 September 1908. Died 9 May 1991. OBE 1974. Educated University of Cambridge (MA, PhD). Demonstrator, Botany School, Cambridge 1934-35, Senior Demonstrator 1936-38, Professor of Botany and Plant Physiology, University of Melbourne 1938-73. First President, Science Teachers' Association of Victoria, chairman, Schools Board General Science Standing Committee for 25 years, Chairman, Schools Board Biology Standing Committee for 30 years (major achievement "The Web of Life", published by the Australian Academy of Science). President, Royal Society of Victoria 1951-52, Fellow, Australian Academy of Science 1956, President, Wallaby Club 1962, Chairman, Board of Management, Melbourne University Press 1963-73. Involvement in the conservation movement included foundation member, Victorian National Parks Association 1952, foundation member, Australian Conservation Foundation 1965, early member, Victorian Land Conservation Council 1970 and Environmental Studies Association, founding member and chairman, National Trust Landscape Classification Committee. Commemorated by John S Turner Postgraduate Scholarship, Department of Botany, University of Melbourne.

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Archival resources

Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science

  • John Stewart Turner - Records, 1977 - 1988, MS 114; Adolph Basser Library, Australian Academy of Science. Details

The University of Melbourne Archives

  • John Stewart Turner - Records, 1925 - 1973, 1991.0118; The University of Melbourne Archives. Details

Published resources

Encyclopedia of Australian Science Exhibitions

Book Sections

  • Turner, J. S., 'The development of plant physiology in Australia' in Plants and man in Australia, Carr, D. J. and Carr, S. G. M., eds (Sydney: Academic Press, 1981), pp. 10-34. Details

Edited Books

  • Clifford, Harold T. ed., Cambridge - Castlemaine: a Tribute to John Stewart Turner on the Occasion of his 80th Birthday (St Lucia: Botany Department, University of Queensland, 1988), 71 pp. Details

Journal Articles

  • Ashton, D. H.; Ducker, S. C., 'John Stewart Turner 1908-1991', Historical Records of Australian Science, 9 (3) (1993), 278-290. Details
  • Gillbank, Linden, 'The University of Melbourne Herbarium, from McCoy to MELU: a broken paper-trail', University of Melbourne Collections, 1 (2007), 20-8. Details
  • Robin, Libby, 'The Professor and the journalist: Crosbie Morrison and John Turner, scientists in popular conservation campaigns', Victorian Historical Journal, 65 (1994), 154-68. Details
  • Turner, J.S., 'The Development of Plant Physiology in Australia', Records of the Australian Academy of Science, 3 (4) (1977), 27-46. Details


Resource Sections

See also

Digital resources

Turner, John Stewart Portrait


McCarthy, G.J.