Benjamin Horace Turner
Ben Turner built his English Manor House around a large rock on land he purchased at Clover Hill, Macquarie Pass.
Ben was born in London 1910 and was always interested in flying. At the age of 22 he made his first parachute descent, a risky thing to do in 1932. Over the years he made many jumps and achieved the fastest record for ‘World’s Timed’ parachute descent, jumping from an average of 600 feet, six times in just over 28 minutes.
In 1938, Denzil MacArthur Onslow who had obtained the rights to GP Parachutes in Australia employed Ben to manufacture parachutes for soldiers during World War 2. After the war, with no use for parachutes, Ben began sewing swimsuits (Scamp) made from the silk destined for the parachutes.
In 1949, due to ill health, Ben retired from the company. Ben, his wife Jean and their English Sheep Dog Roger, relocated to Clover Hill, Macquarie Pass. In the 1970s, the original Thomas family farmhouse which was home to Ben and Jean, was lost to fire. In the same decade the National Parks and Wildlife Service resumed his property to form part of the National Park.
Ben remained on the property for the rest of his life, and built another home around natural rock formations on the farm. Known locally as Ben’s Folly, the Tudor style house grew with each passing year and became a local icon to bushwalkers and travelers up the Pass.
In May 2001, Ben Turner passed away at his Clover Hill home at the age of 91 years, and was remembered at a wake held in his honour at the Albion Park Hotel after his death.
Clover Hill farm with original Thomas family homestead in the distance c.1950 Donated by Julie Hastie.
Welcome to our new home at the Shellharbour Civic Centre! Shellharbour City Museum (formerly Tongarra Museum) is now open seven days a week.read more
Join us on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month at 10am, starting February 2018. Free access to Ancestry.com and Find My Past!read more
Tour Shellharbour’s history via the ‘Tread Shellharbour’ App including Killalea State Park and the Lake Illawarra Art Trail.read more