14 Jun Local Profile: Phillip Taylor
Phillip Taylor was born at Gladstone Base Hospital in 1953 and has lived here ever since.
“Some of my earliest memories include attending South Gladstone State School, and being taught by my favourite teacher Dolly Robson. Dolly was my Maths teacher. I then moved to Central School, where I became involved with rugby league, and trained with some well-known local coaches by the names of Eric Winc, Mick Ole, and Mr Rinquet (nicknamed Paddles). We won the competition in the five stone team whilst we were there,” said Mr Taylor.
Some of the biggest changes Mr Taylor has encountered include the closure of the Meatworks in 1963, the construction of QAL and the Boyne Smelter, and the establishment of Gladstone Airport.
“Some of the biggest changes would have to be the closing down of the Meatworks, and the building of QAL in its place. When I lived in South Gladstone, it was at the end of the street. I was able to watch it as it was all being built. Before QAL was constructed, there was a school near the Meat Works called Parsons Point State School. This school was attended by my mother and her family. Another big change was the expansion of the Gladstone Harbour, and the building of the new coal wharves. The Powerhouse and the Alumina Refinery down at Boyne Island were also constructed. The population of Gladstone increased greatly during this time, due to people moving to the area to work at QAL.
“In the old days, the main town of Gladstone finished near where the Rocky Glen is now. If you went for a drive past there, everyone thought they were going on a big trip. The three main areas of Gladstone when we were young were South Gladstone, Barney Point, and near the hospital. The airport was built a bit later on, and was way out of town back then. Before it was built, there was a dairy farm at its current site.”
Phillip and his wife Ellen owned a house on Facing Island and spent many weekends there with their children, fishing, and crabbing.
“It all started when I began working for Keith and Margaret Lister at Lister’s Motors. Keith and Margaret owned a house at Farmers Point, Facing Island. When Ellen and I got married, and had our first two children, we used to go and stay in their house for our holidays. Long story short… when I was about twenty-one, we decided to buy some land on the island, and contacted Keith Lister, who I knew owned some land at Northcliffe. Unfortunately, he had just sold it, so we missed out. He did, however, know a man by the name of McGree who owned three or four blocks there, that were big enough to be subdivided. We liked one particular block, because it was in the front, and you could see your boats down at the Oaks. Dr McGree agreed to sell it to us, and Ellen’s father, brother, and Ellen and I bought the block, and split it into three. They both went on to sell their blocks, but we have now had ours for 48 years.
“I really enjoy the fishing and crabbing. It is also a great little community, and we all look after each other. We were the first house there in the new community, and now there are about fifteen.
Facing Island is also where we met Kelly and Norma Hutchings. Kelly was principal of the West School, and they became our best friends.”
Mr Taylor used to travel frequently for work, and although he visited some interesting places, he only ever thought about leaving once.
“I thought about leaving once, to go to Brisbane to work with my brother-in-law, Jimmy. He wanted me to come down and to do some mechanical work within his business. This was back when Ellen and I were first married. The Island, the crabbing and fishing kept me here in Gladstone though!”
Phillip now has three daughters who all still live locally, ten grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.