Ted Turnstall reaches a milestone
Port Kennedy’s Edward Tunstall credits years of hard work and eating straight from the farm for his longevity as he turns 95 this week.
Edward — better known as Ted — was born in Murgon, Queensland, into a big dairy farming family of 13 siblings.
Ted said there was always work on the farm to keep him moving and he went years without a break or a holiday.
Then at 20 years old, when World War II broke out, Ted enlisted to serve as a soldier — taking him far away from farm life, to Papua New Guinea where he joined the allied defence against the advancing Japanese forces.
Ted said he would track Japanese troops in the Aitape-Wewak area, much of the time on his own, in difficult jungle terrain and harsh conditions.
He said his father taught him to shoot at age 11, a skill which served him well during his service. Ted said he met his late wife May, her sister Gladys and girlfriend Merle while in Northam on leave from the war.
“They said to us, ‘go and have a look around but don’t go far because we might need to pick up and go’,” he said.
“So I thought I’d go for a walk and there she was, with her friend and sister, they had come out after finding out their brother, Arthur, was missing, he must have died or been killed.
“And I thought; ‘Aww gee, that’s pretty bad’, and they were really upset about it, it was really hard on them, after he (Arthur) went out on plane (from Bougainville) and never came back.
“I thought; ‘Gee, that was a nice kind of girl’.”
Ted said he wasn’t allowed to tell May where the army was sending him when he had to return to New Guinea, but they exchanged letters.
“I was over there for quite a while and I thought I’d like to see them when I got back,” he said.
“And they were waiting for me and I thought; ‘By joe, that’s all right’, I was with five of my blokes who weren’t killed overseas.”
The couple married in WA and moved to Queensland, back to the family farm, where they had five of their own children.
Ted is now a grandfather of 11 and great-grandfather to an ever-growing family brood.
He celebrated his birthday, October 13, with friends and family at the Secret Harbour Golf Club at the weekend.
Ted Tunstall turns 95 this week and credits years of farm work on his family’s dairy farm (pictured) just outside Murgon, Queensland, for his longevity.