Grant Turnbull, 1950

Painting by Martin Greer.

This painting shows Bondi local, Grant Turnbull, posing with the first balsa board to arrive in Australia, in the summer of 1950-51. The skegless board had been surfed by the Duke in Hawaii in the late 40s and was brought to Australia by American actor, Peter Lawford, who starred in the Australian movie ‘Kangaroo’.

Grant left the board with the beach inspectors, who stored it where Beach Hire operated for decades under the promenade, often using it as a rescue board. It is said that the captain of the Bondi Surf Club made off with the board in the early 60s and it has not been seen since.

Grant Turnbull was born in 1929 and has been a member of North Bondi Surf Club since his teens. For many decades he taught swimming and surf skills to kids. He also worked as a ski instructor, both here in NSW and in Austria. Grant was a part time model in his younger days and also worked as a steward for QANTAS. Grant Turnbull still lives in Bondi.

Martin Greer

6 thoughts on “Grant Turnbull, 1950

  1. How is Grant these days , I only know him via my sister Maureen who was the love of his life, to bad they did not marry. Did

  2. I know Grant from Sὃll in Austria. I first met him when I was in his ski class about 1978. A lovely bloke. I have written to him at his home address which was given to me by Dan Webber of Bondi Stories. I hope I can contact him!

  3. Vale Grant, who passed away on February 5. Everyone around Bondi will miss his cheerful smile and gentle nature. He was just the most lovely bloke. If you ever met him, you’d want to sit down and talk to him again and again. He was so lovely. Every day’s a bonus, Grant, Every day’s a bonus. Wish i could talk to you one last time.

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