Of all the news brought by the late mail the sudden and unexpected death of Mr. John Taylor was that which excited amongst the many colonists to whom he was known the strongest feeling of sorrow, he was a man whose whole career had been straight forward and honourable—one of the few who has never been evil spoken of.
Before coming to South Australia Mr. Taylor was for a short time in the Bank of Australasia at Sydney, and came with Mr. George Tinline to this colony during the managership of Mr. Newland. They shortly left the Bank of Australasia, and were both engaged in the Bank of South Australia, at which time Mr. Taylor was nineteen years of age. After a while Mr. Taylor abandoned banking pursuits and devoted himself to a pastoral life, his first station being Ryelands, the freehold of which, comprising about 10,009 acres, he eventually purchased. He was intimately acquainted with the late Mr. John Stephens, proprietor of the Register and Observer, and on Mr. Stephens' death in 1850, being one of his executors, he undertook the active management of those newspapers, and there can be but one opinion of the able, disinterested, and most successful manner in which he performed his arduous duties. We believe that the widow and children of his deceased friend have always felt that a deep debt of gratitude was due to him, and we can say from personal knowledge that every member of the newspaper establishment, whether in the literary, the commercial, or the mechanical department, remembers him with affection and respect as a kind friend and a most talented manager. On the sale of the property to the present proprietary in 1853 Mr. Taylor went to London, but soon returned to the colony, and in the year 1856 joined the mercantile house of Elder & Co. in connection with his brother-in-law, the Hon. Edward Stirling, the name of the firm becoming Elder, Stirling, & Co. He subsequently married a niece of the Hon. F. S. Dutton, and with her paid another visit to England, where he had the misfortune of losing her in the year 1862. Soon after this he returned to Adelaide, and in 1863 withdrew with Mr. Stirling from mercantile pursuits, the style of the firm having been since then Elder, Smith, and Co. During his connection with that house the Wallaroo and Moonta Mines were discovered, in both of which Mr. Taylor was a large original shareholder. Since his retirement from business he devoted his chief attention to pastoral matters. He had already upon his freehold estate of Ryelands and his run at Mount Arden about 30,000 sheep, and he now purchased from Mr. J. W. Tyler several large runs near Mount Victor on the Eastern Plains, together with about 20,000 sheep. In the same neighbourhood he took up an immense quantity of land, intending to devote considerable time and attention to its improvement, the great desideratum being water. In December last he married a daughter of Mr. Marshall MacDermott, S.M., at Kooringa, and soon afterwards went with her to England, intending there to purchase suitable machinery for carrying out the project to which we have just referred, but which was not destined to be fulfilled, for scarcely had he reached England when he fell a victim to a fatal disease, contracted during the voyage, as already described in our columns.
Mr. Taylor has left considerable landed and other property both in England and South Australia. His executors are Messrs. Edward Stirling, William Milne, M.P., G. M. Waterhouse, A. L. Elder, and S. Tomkinson.
'Taylor, John (1821–1865)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/taylor-john-14773/text25938, accessed 25 March 2017.