Death of Mr. William Taylor - Adelong's Grand Old Man

10 April 1945 The Tumut and Adelong Times

With the passing of William James Taylor at his residence in Adelong a few days ago the town and district lost one of its oldest and most highly respected citizens.

He had attained the grand age of 91 years, more than 80 of which had been spent in Adelong, and it could be said with justification that he was the grand old man of the district.

Born at Canterbury, N. S. W., on February 4, 1854, he was but a lad of six or seven years when his father, attracted by the reported gold strike at Kiandra, headed for the new diggings.

The long trek was made by coach as far as Gunning when bolting horses capsized the vehicle, fortunately without, serious dam-age to the passengers.

The Taylor family continued on to Gundagai with a teamster, where they hit a flood in the Murrumbidgee River and, no punt being available, they proceeded to Tumut by way of the Marked Tree Road. 

In Tumut the reports from the diggings were so discouraging that the family decided against making the trip and Mr. Taylor snr. came across to the Adelong diggings to have a look at the place.

From that casual visit, made with no intention of settling, developed the association of the Taylor family and the township that to date has lasted over 80 years.

Actually, one attempt was made to leave the district; but, travelling with a teamster who intended to take them right through to Campbelltown, an axle broke and the waggon capsized.

Mrs. Taylor then absolutely refused to continue the journey and the family returned to Adelong. 

At the age of 11 years Mr. William James Taylor, the deceased, commenced work.

He became whip boy at the Great Victoria mine and worked at that job for a couple of years, when an uncle decided that he should go into the boot making trade and the lad was sent to Sydney to be apprenticed. 

The training completed, he returned to Adelong and joined his father in the business that had been established in the main street.

After his father's death he carried on for many years right up until his retirement; but in the mean-time his son Harold took over the business and is still operating to this day. 

Thus, the Taylor family has been carrying on the boot making trade in Adelong for an unbroken run of 80 years. 

At the age of 26 the late Mr. Taylor married Miss Emma Alice Howard, of Tumut, and to them a family of seven children were born.

All of these children survive and all of them to this day have a large connection with the old town - Ethel, of Adelong, Fred of Albury, Effie May (Mrs. J. Bannon) of Adelong, Arthur E. and Harold H., Gertrude (Mrs. F. Davis) of Adelong, and Cecil of Tumut, comprise the family. Mrs. Taylor predeceased him by 12 years.

It would be difficult to know where to start to compile the history of Mr. Taylor's association with the town and district.

He was a good citizen first and last and during his lifetime he held many important social positions in the community.

He was president of the old Literary Institute, served on practically every committee in the district at one time or another and he was a very enthusiastic member of the Oddfellows' Lodge. His association with that body lasted 74 years and he had the distinction of being the oldest Oddfellow in the district.

He was a very keen sports-man, as well as being a capable exponent of most sports himself, but the fact that he did not play a certain game did not detract from his interest in that sport.

His own particular specialties were footrunning, cricket and handball, and his business premises in the old days was the meeting place for all sports men in the district.

He was a very enthusiastic angler also and, particularly during the autumn of his life, he knew no better way of enjoying himself than with rod, reel and a good stream in front of him. 

The late Mr. Taylor was an excellent raconteur, and he was a fund of information on ancient Adelong, stories of which he delighted in relating.  Right up until the last 12 months he was in full possession of his faculties and he was really a delightful companion.

However, old age cannot continue indefinitely and when a few months ago Mr. Taylor had to take to his bed it was generally and respectfully realised that a grand life was on the ebb.

Carefully nursed by his devoted family, he lacked nothing in the way of love and care, but it was a losing fight, and he passed away peacefully on the night of March 25 last. 

The funeral was representative of all classes of the community.

The cortege was a long one, with the brothers of the Oddfellows' Lodge present in regalia. 

The Rev. Alexander officiated at the graveside and Boston Bros. were the undertakers.

Floral tributes were numerous and telegrams of sympathy came to the bereaved relatives from all corners of the State.

It was a fitting end to a grand life and we (the 'Tumut & Ade long Times"), on behalf of the district, extend to the bereaved relatives our sincere sympathy in the great loss they have sustained.  

Obituary - Mr. W. J. Taylor

7 April 1945 Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga)

The death occurred on Sunday, March 25, of one of Adelong's oldest most respected residents, Mr. William James Taylor, son of the late Mr and Mrs. James and Agnes Taylor, of Waverley, at the age of 81 [Sic- see above] years, after a lingering illness of nearly a year.

Although he was bedridden for ten months, he was always in the best of spirits and was carefully nursed by the rest of the family till he peacefully passed away.

Born at Canterbury he went by coach to Adelong when a boy, where he worked on the Old Hill, whip driving at the mines.

His father sent him to Sydney at the age of 13 years to be apprenticed to the boot trade with his uncle, Mr. Plummer, for five years.

He afterwards went back and worked with his father in the boot shop at Adelong, and was a first class tradesman.

His father afterwards left the business to Will and James Taylor (his brothers) who survive him.

He married Emma Alice Howard, of Tumut, who predeceased him 12 years ago.

They reared a family of seven children, three boys and four girls, all living: Frederick James (Albury), Effie (Mrs. Bannon, of Adelong), Cecil (Tumut), Gertrude (Mrs. F. Davis, of Adelong), Ethel Maud (Adelong) and Harold Adelong), who still carries on the business.

Two sisters survive him, Anne and Jennie of Campsie, and two brothers and two sisters predeceased him, Joseph, Thomas, Harriett (Mrs. Dunn) , and Mary.

He was a good townsman and was in everything including all kinds of sport, particularly cricket which he used to play and for which, later on he was a competent umpire.   

He took a great interest in minstrel and dramatic Shows and was handicapper for athletic sports and foot-running.

He was a prominent Odd-fellow for 73 years, a record for the district, and was president of the Literary Institute for many years.

He was very fond of fishing and spent many hours late in life at the sport. 

He was a warden of the C. of E. For many years.

The funeral took place on March 27, a short service being held at the home before the funeral left for the Church of England section of the cemetery.

Many beautiful wreaths end flowers, and letters and   telegrams of sympathy were received. Members of the Manchester Odd-fellows bodge were the pall bearers. 

The Rev. Alexander officiated and Messrs. Boston Bros, were the undertakers.