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Turner, who worked very hard and paid great attention to detail, enjoyed gardening and playing bowls in his spare time.

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George Turner

National Library of Australia

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George Turner(1851–1916)

Premier of Victoria and first treasurer of the Commonwealth

Turner was a lawyer, a quiet, ordinary man, who came to hold some of the highest positions in the land, gaining great respect. He entered politics as a reformer. Soon his party chose him to be premier, as he was a man who could handle the hard times which hit Victoria in the early 1890s. He had the tough job of cutting back spending because the government had run out of funds.

He was elected to the Federal Convention of 1897–98, where he spoke plainly of difficulties and options and did not make grand speeches. With his usual care he took a long time to decide whether Federation would help or damage Victoria. He was worried about
the farmers who would no longer be protected by the tax on stock coming into Victoria from New South Wales and Queensland. Deakin helped persuade him to campaign for the 'Yes' vote.

Turner was elected to the Commonwealth Parliament in 1901 and became treasurer in Barton's government. To have such a safe and careful man as treasurer helped people to have faith in the new government.