|Posted on July 4, 2016 at 3:05 AM|
Extracts of a character sketch by "Indara" from the Australian Town and Country Journal, Wednesday 19th July 1905.
Born in the picturesque and historical little county of Berkshire, England, in 1831. Mr. Taylor is now in his 74th year. This fine old gentleman suggests, in figure, speech, and manner, a descent from the hard fisted, hard fighting yeoman who swarmed out to meet the Spanish Armada, formed the very flower of Cromwell’s invincible Ironsides, and put up such a desperate fight in Monmouth’s cause at the battle of Sedgemoor.
Modest and retiring, somewhat slow and deliberate of speech, but very earnest and sincere. A builder by trade, and perfect master of his calling, when only in his 23rd year, foreman of works in charge of the Berlin Waterworks, and the following year in charge of the Copenhagen Waterworks. Upon completion of the works he and his family embarked for Sydney, invested in a dray and horses and headed for the Stoney Creek Gold Rush. Three months’ prospecting, during which he sank a number of shafts, all of which proved "duffers". The common-sense side of his character asserted it self, and he commenced dairying and butchering, and, immediately the yellow metal, both in coin and dust, began to flow into his coffers.
At this stage the Lambing Flat Riots broke out and about 100 of the boys came along one night and attempted to force him to help wipe out the 'Chinkies'. He determinedly refused and called their bluff.
According to Mr. Taylor the gold digging industry started to subside in about 1865 when free selection came into force, and at about the same time the town of Young began to grow.
When asked if he had built the first house here, he replied, "Even better than that" laughed the old gentleman; "I made the bricks to build the first houses erected here."
As to a question about wild horses, Mr. Taylor offered the following; "Well, we found them a terrible nuisance before the country was fenced. And, indeed, I shot hundreds of them for their hides, and the carcases we used for feeding the pigs. I did a fair amount of horse breeding in those days, and many hundreds I exported to India."
After questioning it was revealed that Mr. Taylor was a member of the first progressive committee held here, and later became a town councillor, holding this for 15 years, and during that period was twice mayor. He was appointed to the first Land Board in 1885 and retains it until this day. He has been a member of the P&A Society since inception and President twice.
He was the first to introduce farming here on a share basis - that was in 1888 - and it at once caught on, and he was instrumental in establishing the butter factory.
Perhaps his most successful effort was in the establishment of the Young Co-operative Flour Mill. He and Mr. J.C. Gough practically floated the company themselves and when capital was available Mr. Gough erected the buildings. After eight or ten successful years Mr. Taylor left the Company and established the Young Milling Company with T.P. Chapman.
An interesting story as to how Mr. Taylor acquired his homestead block, Rose Hill, at the time a 320 acre lease, is related by a friend; "You see, it happened thus; Taylor and another man simultaneously put in at the local Lands Office an application for the lease. So the affair resolved itself into who could pay the deposit first."
"Taylor’s account was at the Oriental Bank, some distance away, his opponent at the Commercial Bank, in the near vicinity. Taylor was out of the office and into the saddle - he was riding a nearly full blooded racehorse - in went the spurs, and away they went, as though going for the Melbourne Cup. Next was witnessed a struggle between man and horse - the latter, with bit between his teeth, straining every nerve in an endeavour to continue his journey home. 'Eighty pounds please, and I haven’t time to sign a cheque', roared Taylor, elbowing clients from the counter."
"The manager knew his man, and handed over the notes, and Taylor was back in the Lands Office, and folding up his receipt when his opponent entered. That occurred, I think, in 1869."
Footnote; Rose Hill homestead still stands on the Cowra Road just out of Young, one of the most historic houses in this area. Edward Taylor was a nephew of James White, Young’s first European settler.
Young Historical Society – Brian James.