Allan Taylor had many titles over his life “King of the respirator kids”, “Mr Hockey” and “Tate”. No matter what he put his talents to he led and inspired…
John Allan Taylor was born in Mudgee in 1931. At the age of five he contracted polio and spent the next four and a half years in hospital; two of these inside an iron lung. He was the first polio sufferer in NSW to be treated in this way and gained the title “King of the respirator kids”. Through this illness he lost the use of his right arm and had limited use of his left, but he learned to use his feet to undertake many tasks.1
His family moved to Taree and Taylor completed his schooling before doing a business course at TAFE. He afterwards obtained office work with Griffin Engineering in Albert Lane, Taree.
Taylor became the driving force behind the formation of the Manning Valley Hockey Association of which he was President and Secretary. His strength lay in promoting the sport and he increased the number of teams from four to 16. He coached both club and representative teams and was NSW State Junior Selector and State Vice President. He became known as “Mr Hockey”.2
Taylor did not contain himself to hockey. His diverse sporting interests included bowling (where he used his feet to bowl), boxing, motor cycling, cricket, surf lifesaving and VS sailing. He wrote regular articles for the Manning River Times called “On the Sportline with Tate”.3 Taylor was also involved with St John’s Church of England.4
Tragically on 9 June 1968, Taylor died suddenly aged 37 leaving his wife Ivy with three children and expecting her fourth within days of his death.5 Taree was shocked. The sheer number of those who attended his funeral service was a tribute to the man who had given so much so others could enjoy sport.6
In 1988, Taylor’s mother Florence was invited to officially open the synthetic hockey field in her son’s honour – the “Allan Taylor Memorial Field”.
Author: Janine Roberts and Allan’s sister Gloria Davidson. Story suggested by Ian Gorton.
1 The Sun, 17 March 1938, 10; Manning River Times, 26 June 1968; Pix, Vol. 2 No. 22 (26 November 1938), 8-9.
2 Manning Valley Hockey Association, Hall of Fame, Allan Taylor https://www.manningvalleyhockey.org.au/hall_of_fame.php?page=life_members&item=Allan%20Taylor
3 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 28 July 1951, 8.
4 Northern Champion, 1 May 1953, 3.
5 NSW BDM, Death Index for John Allan Taylor, No. 18955/1968.
6 Manning River Times, 26 June 1968.