It has come time to draw a curtain on the early life of William Tydd Taylor and his wife Margaretta Lucy Lind. It’s been a sprawling story with many characters, littered with names familiar in Armidale and beyond.
We met Harriot Taylor, William’s mother, who took us into the heart of British intellectual life in the nineteenth century. Harriet became intellectually and then physically involved with the British intellectual John Stuart Mill, marrying Mill after the death of William’s father, John.
Harriet collaborated with Mill, becoming a significant intellectual figure. When she died, her daughter Helen (William’s sister) carried on Harriot’s work, becoming in her turn a prominent British feminist and radical intellectual.
We met William’s cousin, Archibald Clunes Innes. Innes came to NSW as an army officer whose service included a brief period as commandant of the Port Macquarie Penal Settlement. Returning to Port Macquarie, Archibald Innes built a sprawling business and commercial empire extending into Queensland. Glen Innes carries his name.
Innes built a mansion on the shores of what he renamed Lake Innes. On those shores that hunchback and melancholic poet George James Macdonald, New England’s first poet and Armidale’s founder, wrote a poem triggered by the site of the ranges.
There, too, Archibald Innes’s young niece Annabel Innes later Boswell kept a journal, recording household activities in a very Jane Austin fashion including the constant stream of visitors.
It is from Annabel that we have that description of the first election campaign in New England in which Archibald Innes’s father in law, Alexander Macleay, came to be elected to the NSW Legislative Council.
It’s from Annabel, too, that we have the description of the visit of Governor Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy and wife Mary, the first Vice-Regal visit to New England including Armidale.
William and Margaretta Taylor were among those who attended the function at Lake Cottage for the Fitzroys.
It was almost certainly Archibald who drew William and Margaretta to Port Macquarie in 1840 where they first stayed on an Innes property, Thrumster.
They arrived at the end of a boom where rapid immigration and pastoral expansion had built great commercial and pastoral empires, if at great cost to our Aboriginal peoples.
In our story, we traced the rise of the economic boom and then its collapse into the depression of the early 1840s. William and Margaretta would survive that collapse. Archibald Innes would not.
This part of our story finished with William Taylor’s initial entry into public life. This would culminate in Taylor’s election as the second member for New England in the NSW Legislative Assembly. But this part of the story will need to wait for a later series.
JIM BELSHAW’S email is email@example.com
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.