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Blues' bootstudder dies

Former Carlton bootstudder Dennis Turner has died.
Former Carlton bootstudder Dennis Turner has died.

Dennis Turner, one of the last of the Carlton Football Club’s bootstudders, has died at the age of 79.

Turner served as a senior bootstudder through the late 1980s and 1990s, having completed a myriad of tasks as Carlton’s Under 19 and reserve grade team manager, commencing in 1969. His brother Hugh also officiated as a Carlton trainer.

Bob Lowrie, who started as a trainer with the thirds at Carlton on the same day as Turner, remembered that Dennis would regularly front up at the club of a Sunday morning to cook breakfast for the players when they left the track. 

“Dennis also worked behind the bar at 'Nick’s Nightclub'. He was a really, really good bloke and I had a lot of time for him. He would do anything for the Carlton Football Club,” Lowrie said.

Turner’s commitment to the club was rewarded with Life Membership in 1988 – the same year in which Premiership players Ken Hunter and David Glascott, together with club dentist Dr Don Hall, were similarly acknowledged.

Laurie Carter, the club’s bootstudder until 2007 who worked at the craft with Turner, Lou Saccardo and the late Frank Finn, remembered that they all served through that transitional phase following the introduction of moulded soles. 

“When the moulded ones came in with four stops in the top and two in the heel, some of the players wanted a couple more in the heel, so Dennis and me and the others would knock them in – 13, 15 and 19mm,” Carter recalled.

“Fraser Murphy always went for the 19 mil no matter what the weather was like and Stephen Kernahan always wore screw-ins. He said to me one day that his father once said to him ‘If you’re going to play League football you wear stops.”

Carter recalled that Turner combined duties at Carlton with those as a security guard at the Serum Laboratories.

“In the early days when they’d train in the afternoon he’d work in the morning and knock off early to get to the club. Now they train in the morning so it’s all changed,” Carter said. 

“Dennis always did his job, and he stood up for others,” Carter said.