To late Classic Wallaby Ross Turnbull three things were dearly important: family, footy and France, the latter of which Turnbull had long dreamt of publishing a book on.
Earlier this month, two years after his death, Ross’ dream was realised, with the help of his wife and two of his closest friends, with the publishing of Five Walks Around Central Paris.
The inspiration for the book came from Turnbull’s original works; a well-known Francophile, Turnbull spent countless hours in his many trips to Paris wandering the streets, making notes, hoping to one day publish a book on the great city.
When Turnbull died of cancer in 2015 it looked liked that this would not happen. But before his passing he set out with his close friend, and the book’s photographer, Brent Carswell, to transfer his notes into a manuscript.
After his death, his widow Caroline got in contact with book publisher and another of Turnbull's close friends, Jaqui Lane, to help realise her late husband’s dream.
For two years, the three worked on the book, and this month, at the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, it was launched, with many of Turnbull’s friends in attendance.
“Ross spent any opportunity he could to go there (Paris), and used to write notes about where he walked, and the pubs, cheese shops and places that he saw,” Lane said.
“Ross was larger than life, never took a backwards step, and had a great love of rugby and a great love of Paris." - Jaqui Lane.
"He was indefatigable in his energy, and he came across some tough times in his life, but he was always very positive about how he dealt with them.”
One of the driving forces behind the professionalism of the game, Turnbull was a hugely influential figure in the rugby community.
After his playing career (he played one Test for the Wallabies against Ireland in 1968 at Lansdowne Rd), and time as Wallabies Team Manager, Ross became Chair of NSW Rugby, and was one of two Australian delegates to the International Rugby Board, now World Rugby.
To find our more about the story of Ross, his wife's work and to purchase the book, head to www.walksaroundcentralparis.com.