TAYLOR, George Augustine (1872-1928)


TAYLOR, George Augustine (1872-1928)
artist, journalist, and inventor
was born at Sydney in 1872. He first became known as an artist, and was a member of the Sydney Bohemian set in the 1890s, whose doings he was afterwards to record in his Those Were the Days, a volume of reminiscences published in 1918. He contributed drawings to the Bulletin, Worker, Sunday Times, Referee, and London Punch, but later became interested in aviation and radio, and did some remarkable work in connexion with them. He experimented with a motorless aeroplane, in November 1909 constructed one of full size, and rose into the air and manoeuvred it (Sydney Morning Herald, 7 December 1909, p. 3). Much gliding had of course been done in America and Europe many years before this, but the principle and design of Taylor's machine appear to have anticipated the types being used in Europe more than 10 years later. In wireless Taylor did some excellent pioneer work. He had been experimenting for a long time, and in 1909 had had sufficient success to be invited to join the Australian military forces as an intelligence officer in connexion with aeronautics and wireless. In 1910 and 1911 he succeeded in communicating from one part of a railway train to another, and in exchanging messages between trains running at full speed. He had founded the aerial league in 1909 and the wireless institute in 1911. It was largely on account of his representations that the first government wireless station was erected in Australia. He did some interesting experimental work in connexion with locating sound by wireless, which proved useful in the 1914-18 war when methods of locating submarines had to be devised. Taylor visited Europe in 1922 and studied broadcasting developments. On his return at the end of that year he formed an association for developing wireless in Australia and was elected its president. At a conference of wireless experts called together by the Commonwealth government in May 1923 Taylor was elected chairman, and did valuable work in framing broadcasting regulations for Australia. He was also a pioneer in the transmission of sketches by wireless, both in black and white and in colour.
Taylor had for many years before this conducted a successful monthly trade journal called Building, of which he was proprietor and editor. Gradually other magazines were added, including the Australasian Engineer, the Soldier, the Commonwealth Home, and the Radio Journal of Australasia. He also published two volumes of popular verse, Songs for Soldiers (1913), and Just Jingles (1922), and some small volumes of sketches and stories. He was much interested in town-planning, and published in 1914 Town Planning for Australia and in 1918 Town Planning with Common-sense. He died as the result of an accident on 20 January 1928 leaving a widow. In 1929 a gift of £1100 was made to the university of Sydney by the G. A. Taylor memorial committee to found a lectureship in aviation or aeronautical engineering in his memory.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January 1928; W. Moore, The Story of Australian Art; F. B. Cooke, appendix to Taylor's lecture on Aerial Sciences and their Possibilities in the Pacific, given at the Pan-Pacific Science Congress, Australia 1923; The Brisbane Courier, 31 January 1911.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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