1 January 1966
Associate Professor Ian Turner approached his studies of Australian popular culture in a lighthearted style. Every year from 1966 until his untimely death in 1978, his Ron Barassi Memorial Lectures were a highlight of the campus calendar.
With a Richmond beanie, beer stubbie and meat pie as his props, Turner lectured his students on the deep cultural rift between Australia’s north and south. He named this rift the ‘Barassi Line’ – dividing Australia between the rugby league lovers of the north and the AFL enthusiasts of the south.
Turner insisted that his annual lectures were not a joke: ‘I try to answer some serious social questions football raises and to pose others’.
Turner himself was an historian and a political activist, and was well known on campus as a staff radical during the Monash Troubles (although he, like other activist staff members, was critical of the Labor Club’s confrontational tactics and simplistic rhetoric).
A new Hall of Residence has been named for Ian Turner. See more: Turner Hall.