Communities@Work commemorates John Turner as it celebrates the third anniversary of the opening of the John Turner building

On 1 December 2019, Communities@Work celebrates the third anniversary of the opening of the John Turner building, an integral figure in the organisation’s history, whose far-reaching vision and enduring commitment to the Canberra community led to the development of the purpose-built community facility.

Mr Turner, Communities@Work’s Board Chair from 2004 to 2010, established the project during his time as chair, leading to the building opening its doors seven years later. The John Turner building strengthens Communities@Work reach in the community, enabling it to grow and  enrich the lives of people in our community in life-changing ways.

Mr Turner passed away in February 2019.

The John Turner building is a testament to the growth of Communities@Work since the organisation’s establishment in 1977. It reminds us of Mr Turner’s committed support for our mission to create a strong, healthy, inclusive and resilient community in Canberra, where everyone can reach their potential, make a contribution and share the benefits of the city we live in. 

A Great Legacy

Mr Turner left behind a great legacy, not only with Communities@Work, but also in the impactful work he did for the Canberra community. He was instrumental in the creation of Floriade, the declaration of Namadgi National Park, and the establishment of the Parks and Conservation Service.

While not born in Canberra, having moved here in 1959, Mr Turner embodied the ideal citizen and was a devoted public servant. His journey began with a recruitment to the then Department of the Interior in 1965, followed by an appointment to the ACT City Manager’s role in 1987. With responsibility for the city’s entire services, including transport, roads, policy, housing and conservation, Mr Turner made sweeping changes that are embedded in our community to this day. In 1988, he moved on to manage the Department of Urban Services, until his retirement in 1997. 

In typical style, his retirement did not mean the end of his service to Canberra’s community. If anything, his contributions to the community grew, whether in the sports sector as a life member and Chair of the Cricket ACT, or in social welfare as a Board member and then Board Chair for Communities@Work.

Mr Turner’s outstanding service to the community was recognised when he was awarded the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2015.

Vale John Turner 

Communities@Work was saddened by the news of Mr Turner’s passing, but his significant contributions to our organisation will continue to be remembered and commemorated through his building.

Days before the third anniversary of the John Turner Building, Communities@Work’s CEO Lee Maiden, along with present Board Chair Alan Greenslade, paid tribute to Mr Turner amongst a gathering of board members and the organisation’s employees. 

Communities@Work’s CEO, Lee Maiden said “Mr Turner’s legacy will live on for many years. His dedication to the Canberra community was inspirational and his forward thinking has allowed Communities@Work to create a foundation upon which we will be able to grow for years to come.”

We remember and acknowledge Mr John Turner’s passion for the Canberra community. His vision and work is embedded in the city of Canberra and the spirit of Communities@Work. 

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