AV Turner, ? on May 15 or June 15, 1928 crash?
Posted 11 May 2003 - 02:21
Posted 11 May 2003 - 02:34
But I don't know his christian names either... he's so often referred to as 'A V Turner' that it's almost as if he only had initials!
I'm sure John knows, and probably David as well.
While we're there, how about we establish where and what the Brookvale hillclimb course was?
Posted 11 May 2003 - 02:36
Posted 11 May 2003 - 02:41
Posted 11 May 2003 - 03:59
A.V. Turner's christian names were Albert Valentine and another report I have found said that he died in the Manly Cottage Hospital on the night of the crash.
Posted 11 May 2003 - 04:14
I wonder how come this significant victory was omitted?
I'm sure our friend from Hawaii will be delighted to get that information, Dick. You've contributed!
Posted 11 May 2003 - 04:49
In my upcoming list, I will devote one extra line to Albert Valentine Turner. Not wanting to use his initials, did he possibly go by a 'nickname' like "Bert" or "Val"?
Posted 11 May 2003 - 05:11
Posted 11 May 2003 - 06:20
I'm sure I've seen more than one reference to him as Archie
Hans - will have a think about early NZ hillclimb fatalities. None come immediately to mind
Posted 11 May 2003 - 07:25
Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
Indeed... thank you, mates!
In my upcoming list, I will devote one extra line to Albert Valentine Turner. Not wanting to use his initials, did he possibly go by a 'nickname' like "Bert" or "Val"?
Bert? Possibility, but I daren't suggest what I don't know...
Val? People might think he's a shiela!
By the way people always refer to him as A.V. I would think not... but I'm sure John Medley's spoken to people who knew him.
Posted 11 May 2003 - 08:57
It was probably a typo in your original post ,but the year of Turner's death was 1926 not 1928. Apparently he arrived in blazer and scarf over his tennis clothes, intending to return to the tennis courts after his 'climb.I have the date as 15 May 1926. My handwritten notes ( from ' Motor in Australia') from long ago say " AV Turner died Manly Hospital May16 as the result of injuries received at Brookvale Hillclimb the previous day. His was the second car away, covered the 660 yard course at 70 mph average , then hit a bump, he was thrown from his seat, lost control, and hit a picket fence. He was picked up unconscious, but failed to recover. Survived by widow and 2 children. Buried Manly Cemetery May 18".
I have seen photos of the car and surrounds after the accident. He hit the picket fence end-on and many pickets lie under the remarkably undamaged car. The fatal injury was a blow to the head of the very exposed driver.
He was the outstanding Australian driver of his day, his competition career spanning 1907( probably earlier) to 1926.
I believe Albert Valentine were the given names and agree with David that Archie rings a bell as his nickname but cant find anything on that at the moment
Posted 11 May 2003 - 10:26
OMG! Even the headline is screwed up.
Originally posted by john medley
...It was probably a typo in your original post ,but the year of Turner's death was 1926 not 1928...
Yes, it was 1926. My records are all right, just my posting refers to the wrong year.
Posted 11 May 2003 - 10:52
While Hans takes a dip in the waves at the nearby beach to wash the tears from his eyes, can you reveal anything about this Brookvale hillclimb course other than its length?
My guess would be either the main road from Pittwater Road up towards Oxford Falls, or alternatively the road that leads from behind the shops to join with that road at its summit... no Sydney street directories around here for me to include street names, though the main road is Warringah Road, from memory.
Of course, I would expect that the alignment of both has been changed over the intervening decades...
Posted 11 May 2003 - 11:29
TURNER, A.V. Well-known motor sport personality and record breaker during the 1920s. Turner was a con- temporary of such men as 'Wizard' Smith, Boyd Edkins and Charlie East. Albert Valentine Turner - invariably known to colleagues as A.V. - was born in 1887 and apprenticed at the age of 14 at Phizakerley's Sydney motor sales and service organisation. He started driving competitively in 1912 and - a year later - came second outright in the Sydney- to-Melbourne reliability trial. Soon after this he established a new speed record between the two cities - a record which stood until 1916 when Boyd Edkins achieved a faster time.
With this taste of success, Turner entered every Australian reliability and speed trial possible and established new Sydney-to-Melbourne records on four occasions. During the 1920s, Turner had a successful Sydney-based car operation selling Bugatti, Daimler-Benz and ltalas. He raced until 15 May, 1926, when he crashed his eight-cylinder Bugatti at a hillclimb in Harbord, NSW, and subsequently died of injuries. See also INTERSTATE SPEED RECORD BREAKING.
So it sounds like his nickname was A.V.
and the hill was at Harbord, now could it be Oliver st or would it be Girard st and Rowe st?
Posted 11 May 2003 - 11:36
Have just been through my NZ list again and am fairly certain there were no hillclimb fatalities in that period - at least none reported
Originally posted by Hans Etzrodt
While we are at this joyless subject, have there been any other fatal accidents in Australian or New Zealand hill climbs during the 1897-1949 time period?
Posted 11 May 2003 - 11:40
At North Manly there's a road that goes off to Harbord from Pittwater Road, this road (which was seriously realigned in either the late fifties or very early sixties) was suggested to me as probably the hillclimb site back when I was just finding my way around that area... the mid-sixties.
I think it was Mike Kable who pointed me in that direction, but I couldn't be sure. Then how he might know escapes me totally, except that he might have been in contact with someone who was there and told him.
The snag here is that 660 yards on a winding road might make it a bit difficult to average that speed...
I wonder if the Manly Daily is on microfilm somewhere?
Posted 11 May 2003 - 11:49
Posted 11 May 2003 - 11:52
You know, the one with Tojo Street and Hanover Street in it. It will present a very different picture for this road of which I previously wrote.
There are no 70mph roads off Pittwater Road heading towards Harbord except the main road, and it's the one that's been 'seriously realigned'.
Posted 11 May 2003 - 23:17
Clues to the location of the hill include Brookvale, Manly, and Harbord. I wish the seekers well. But it's a bit like the needle and the haystack.
Thanks Catalina Park for the Macquarie Dictionary reference which suggests AVT's career beginning in 1912. A 1922 issue of " Motor in Australia" lists ' AV Turner's Motoring Record' which starts in March 1907 with a win in the Royal Automobile Club of Australia's Two Day Reliability Trial driving a 15/20 Talbot, followed in September with a 2nd place in the same car at Artillery Hill climb.
Posted 11 May 2003 - 23:28
This ends virtually in Harbord, it's actually in North Manly and is in sight of the first vestiges of Brookvale.
And it's where whoever told me some thirty something years ago it was...
The hills at Brookvale are definitely not in Manly or Harbord... in fact, the aforementioned site is the only one that could be considered to be Harbord at all.
I take your point about the speed too, John, it seemed a bit fanciful to me as well. And if the road was windy and uphill, I'd say it was fanciful as a finish line speed as well... depending, of course...
Posted 12 May 2003 - 02:43
A V Turner,was known as the "Prince of Drivers" by the press, as Bert by his family, and as Archie by his friends.
So you were right David.
The article also says that he crashed " beyond the finish line of a hillclimb up Harbord Street in Brookvale ( sometimes incorrectly reported as Curl Curl ) NSW, in his 1923 model Type 30 Bugatti on May 15, 1926. "
Ray, you seem to be right on in your geography of that area.
Posted 12 May 2003 - 03:33
Posted 12 May 2003 - 05:54
Good additional info! ( My guess is Barry Lake's additional info must have come from a contemporary newspaper)
And here I, a doubting Thomas, thought it would all be too hard. I'll now head off and check road directories to confirm our guesses at what the hill would have been like.
And,yes Ray, the AVT Type 30 later was owned and raced in Oz and NZ by 1927 Goulburn winner Geoff Meredith, and after his untimely death became the much/constantly modified black "Clements Bugatti" of Sydney- Melbourne (last official) light car recordholder and early Aust GP fame.
Posted 12 May 2003 - 07:21
Like I mentioned previously, the most likely road is now the main road from the North Manly area to Harbord and the back of Brookvale. I'm totally frustrated by the fact that I don't have a modern one, however, to check the name of that road, but I know for a fact that it was realigned, straightened, widened and all that stuff in the early sixties or late fifties.
My 1919 street directory, however, will doubtless be of some use...
And what of the surface... I suspect it would have been gravel. A kind of sandy gravel, with sandstone outcrops. But I may be wrong...
Posted 23 May 2003 - 00:06
Originally posted by Ray Bell
I feel that modern street directories will be of little use, John, especially if we want to know what the road was like.....
Or they might be of some use...
Being in Brisbane, and there being a paucity of Sydney street directories in this home, I had given up on finding anything here.
But today I stumbled across a Sydney street directory and I had a look (as you would...) at the map encompassing North Manly.
Recall that I said the road was realigned?
I suspect that it was more than just realigned, going on what this map shows, and I'm more anxious than ever to get back to Harden and look at my 1919 version.
Harbord Road comes south from Brookvale and these days feeds you into Lawrence Street, which goes off to the little shopping area at Harbord and then feeds you through to Freshwater Beach.
But where Harbord Road now ends, at the junction with Lawrence Street, there is a tight turn to the right as well, this being into Rowe Street... I think I should scan the map to explain all this...
Now look at Oliver Street here, that's the new road up to Harbord that I've been talking about all along, and see it leads off to another main road out of the picture... not to Harbord Road?
Well I think that Harbord Road used to come through to Pittwater Road, that Rowe Street has been renamed (or Rowe Street was always there, but the naming extended... hang on, just bear with me here...) and that Palomar Parade is also possibly a rename of a section of Harbord Road.
1. Harbord Road once ran right through to Pittwater Road via the path now renamed Rowe Street.
2. Harbord Road once ran right through to Pittwater Road via the curved section of the present Rowe Street and what is now Palomar Parade.
Obviously, Rowe Street and Palomar Parade, if they did come right through, have been truncated by the works to create Oliver Street, which I feel sure happened around the end of the fifties.
Now things are starting to make sense... that it was, as I was told all those years ago by somebody, the road that heads off Pittwater Road to the back of Brookvale and Harbord, that it was in Harbord Road, that it was in Harbord and that it was in Manly. Only thing that doesn't fit is the description of the event being in Brookvale, but on the road leading to Brookvale it was.
A few more days I should be able to find that old street directory and scan the 1919 setting... I hope!
Posted 23 May 2003 - 03:41
Of more import (to me, at least...) is that I think I now remember who it was who told me where the hillclimb was held.
I suspect I asked Bob Levett's father (himself a Bob Levett, but that's another matter), who died about two years - maybe three years - ago aged about 85.
That would have made him about nine years old when the hillclimb was held. He lived in that area. But more to the point, his parents weren't averse to going to such events.
He told me a while before he died that they used to regularly head out to Penrith for picnics by the Nepean River of a weekend, and that one (or was it more?) such weekend they found all the fanfare and noise of a race meeting at Penrith Speedway taking place.
They went to watch the racing instead...
This also ties in with the way I (seem to) recall having the location described to me. What he would remember, as a nine year old, would not necessarily tie in with which roads went where and that sort of thing. He would have remembered how he got there, by which I mean what path they took, and the topography.
Of course, I could be wrong, but I'm beginning to be more convinced than ever that I'm not. I've looked for signs of this hillclimb on a number of occasions, once arriving over a crest in one of these streets, possibly Rowe Street or maybe the next one up, and finding a baby crawling across the narrow road in front of me. The thing I remember most, however, is the bitterness of the mother when I took her baby to her and told her I'd nearly run over the kid.
Bitterness with me, that is... some people!
Posted 23 May 2003 - 10:51
I did know someone that would know and he has lived in Martin st for about 60 years!
Posted 23 May 2003 - 11:24
All the same, it wouldn't hurt at all if you were to ask this friend...
Posted 31 May 2003 - 13:59
And no wonder this has remained a mystery for so long!
Here's the 1919 street directory map of 'Queenscliffe, Brookvale, Freshwater (and portion of Dee Why), which altogether ignores the inclusion of Curl Curl!
...compare, if you will, this one with the 1980s version posted above (and below...).
Now, check out the enlargement of the section of our interest, alongside that modern map:
Now what I'd really like to do is superimpose one over the other, but the fact is that if you don't know what licence was taken when both of the maps were drawn (and there is variation for the sake of the cartographer's nightmares!) you can't really do that accurately. You can readily see that the scaling of the older map is way out.
What I have also done is change the map I posted the other day, scanning in a slightly later version at a size that more closely approximates the 1919 version.
Someone really needs to get into the Manly or Warringah Council offices and get more accurate maps.
The salient point, however, is that Harbord Road was nothing like it is today in 1919, and one assumes the twenties!
McDonald Street appears never to have existed (apart from on plans) and Manly Road has become Harbord Road. I think it's safe to say that Harbord Road always diverted (because of the steepness of the hill) via either the path of the modern day Rowe Street or the modern Palomar Pde in its original form as Dalley Road. It's quite possible that usage of a section of unoccupied land has led to the formation of that semi-circle of what's now Palomar Pde.
Not only that, Palomar Pde and Rowe Street (as I expected) have metamorphesised into things they never were before. And Catalina's suggestion was blown out the window by the total lack of a bridge at the Queenscliffe Beach end, while it almost appears that Pittwater Road's bridge over the lagoon might have only been for the trams.
I'll look further into all of this, but I certainly wish I'd had this same information forty years ago... my discussion with Bob's dad (if it was him!) would have been much more fruitful. There would probably still have been traces of the old roads.
Posted 13 June 2003 - 23:03
Motoring is taking its toll of its most skilled and competent exponents. It is but a short time since Albert Vaughan, hero of many performances, was sent suddenly into eternity, with another noted racing driver, Leo Salmon, and on Saturday Mr A V Turner, probably the best known motorist in the Commonwealth, met his death in following the sport which was so alluring to him.
Neither of these other drivers mentioned are in the Speed's Ultimate Price thread, so it appears that they should be included. Maybe John Medley or someone* can fill in a few more details?
So did anyone get to check out the Manly Daily? It would surely be a better source of information that The Sydney Morning Herald, which devoted about three lines to the incident.
And is anyone interested in getting together with me about Monday week to inspect this site, look over these roads and maybe go to the Manly Daily office and see if there's anything there to be learned?
Posted 14 June 2003 - 07:21
Posted 14 June 2003 - 07:43
Salmon ran Salmon's Motors,Sydney Jewett and Citroen agents ( Vaughan was an employee) and father of Kevin Salmon later to race the McIntyre Hudson in the 1930s and the ex Head brothers MGTD Special in the 1960s
Posted 15 June 2003 - 23:49
Might also be appropriate to include these names in the Ultimate Price thread.
Have you anything to add to the surmise I have posted about the maps?
Posted 26 June 2003 - 02:13
.....And maybe he wants to add his name to the list of TNF badge purchasers?.....
Posted 21 July 2003 - 07:53
Turns out I had it all wrong... I took photos, I now know exactly where the climb was, I spoke to a gentleman who was there that day (he's 96 now, totally lucid, remembers it all...) and I also learned that it wasn't the only time they held a hillclimb there.
I'll post more about it later, probably when I get my photos processed.
Posted 22 July 2003 - 02:32
After finding out very little, I was guided to a lady who'd lived there all her life. She was only 67, however, and had never head of any hillclimb. She did point out that there had been tennis courts opposite her home when she was younger. But she also told me that her grandfather had played a big part in building Rowe Street. And that bullock teams had an awful hard time getting up the hill... she spoke of 'firing' the bullocks, whatever that meant, and it makes me wonder why they didn't go around the flatter Pittwater Road route...
After further guidance from another aging soul, I knocked on a door over the top of the hill and found Norm Jones, aged 79 and in residence in the immediate areal all his life. I asked if he knew anything about a racing driver being killed there in 1926... "A V Turner!" he said. So we had some contact... but in the course of the discussion he revealed that he thought the crash had occurred at the northern end of Harbord Road rather than the southern end where I had always assumed the event to have been held.
His older brothers had better knowledge, of course, but Norm was the sole survivor. I asked if he knew of anyone else... "Charlie Goodman, he's 85, maybe more..." and he proceeded to give me rough directions to Charlie's home. I walked up there and straight to the house. After ringing the front doorbell he came out the back door... I know you want these details!... and I introduced myself. "I want to know what you can tell me about A V Turner," I said to him.
"Never heard of him!" came the agonising response. So I prompted him by mentioning racing cars and crashes. "Oh, yes, of course! He crashed into the front of Peterkin's place!"
And so it went on. The Peterkin family had a market garden on Harbord Road near Brighton Street... on the western side, south of Brighton (well, Amourin really), so to the bottom left of the junction shown on these maps:
Now you can plainly see that the site of the crash is just past a bend, the cars having rushed up the hill from the junction of Abbott Street or thereabouts. This is a hillclimb up a very steep hill with no bends except at the finish line... or after the finish line really. Scaling on the modern map shows that it's about 670 or 680 yards from Abbott Street to Brighton Street. The hill effectively ends at Brighton Street, so I'm sure that's the finish line, with a little distance between the start and Abbott Street to allow for marshalling the cars.
Now, a little more... This was called 'Allen's Hill'... Norm told me that, Charlie confirmed that Joe Allen had a Poultry farm and orchard where the Freshwater High School is today. In Miles Street was a farm owned by a Mr Mitchell who'd married one of Joe's daughters and that probably explains that Orchard Street was named for Joe's orchard which was then broken up among the family.
Charlie described the road... "It was rough as guts and steep from Miles Avenue to Wattle Street, then it got even steeper, the cars were almost standing on their tails up there, and there were large rocks on the road."
The ingredients which were to claim the 'outstanding driver' of the time are starting to become evident: a desire to get a really good time in first run so he could get back to the tennis; road conditions hardly favourable to doing this; a finish line followed by a bend that was strewn with loose rocks.
"The Peterkins had a large picket fence in front of their house. Behind that there were wattle... I guess they were black wattle... trees. He hit the fence and went into the wattle trees. I came along just after it had happened." This is an eyewitness account, even if the eyewitness was only 18 or 19 at the time of the event.
A couple of other minor issues... he showed me an old map which indicated that this was once Pittwater Road (maybe there was a swamp on the lower ground where it now runs past the Brookvale Mall? Further indicates the need to work those bullocks so hard...)... and this wasn't the first time there was a hillclimb run on this particular course. He thinks at least two previous events were held.
Who's going to get stuck into the Manly Daily?
Norm Jones also said that "...Allen's Hill was where you would test out a car for hillclimbing ability."
When I get the photos processed (not for a little while yet) I'll post them. Among them you'll readily see that the present day climb from Wattle Street to Brighton Street has been eased significantly from the original landform.
As to the speed... the start of this hillclimb, and a significant section of it, to Miles Street, in fact, was actually slightly downhill. Could it have been that this Bugatti got up to enough speed to average 70mph for the run?
Posted 22 July 2003 - 03:10
Posted 22 July 2003 - 08:14
Do you remember me saying that there was someone that I knew in Martin St that would know, well you met him!
Charlie Goodman is my ex- wife's grandfather!
I have not spoken to him or heard about him since I split up with my ex and I am glad to hear that he is still active and has his memory! He used to work for the Manly Daily when he was a young bloke!
Posted 22 July 2003 - 09:03
He's a nice old guy, even though the printing presses did his fingers no good at one stage.
Posted 22 July 2003 - 09:19
Yes, but you needed a day out!
Originally posted by Ray Bell
You mean to say I could have simply rung him up?
Would you have got the full story over the phone? I didn't think so!
Posted 22 July 2003 - 09:25
The photos I saw in the Peter White albums ( photos taken, according to the copperplate writing on the back, by Mrs JAS Jones of Lithgow) confirm both rocks IN the road as well as rocks ON the road , as well as showing the fateful picket fence. The photos show the car on top of the remains of the picket fence ; but I dont recall seeing any wattle trees. It's nice too to see that the guess about a straight steep piece of road was not far out ,but the downhill start is a surprise
Posted 22 July 2003 - 09:46
By the way, both Norm Jones and Charlie Goodman recently participated in an oral history taping for the Manly Library. I don't think this incident was mentioned... but I didn't ask them.
Posted 13 August 2003 - 09:16
Note the way the left hand side of the road particularly has been cut into the natural fall of the land?
This shows how much steeper it was in the days of A V Turner, or at least gives a good indication. There is a car just coming out of the Wattle Street intersection between the camera and the truck), where Charlie said it got so much steeper.
It's hard to appreciate the downhill start, but it is slightly downhill. The start is well into the distance in this shot, best indicated where the tree on the right tends to overhang the last of the trees on the left.
Now this is the bend in the road at the finish...
The crash would have been into the front yard second from the corner.
And the man who led me to the truth?
Say hello, Catalina Park... and note that Charlie has his 'Meals on Wheels' T-shirt on... he delivers to the 'oldies' who are twenty years younger than himself (or he recently did)!
.....I've reposted this because the first photograph was actually the wrong one!.....
Posted 07 November 2007 - 09:05
Not only that, but the small item suggests that this same Delage was the one Owen Platt Hepworth was brave enough to race at Bathurst in 1948, including a timed speed of 104 mph. I wish I'd known that when I wrote that Bathurst book.
Just another bit of A V Turner history