|27 Feb 2023|
Happy 100th birthday
Trinity celebrates milestone for a great teacher and arts trailblazer
Long-serving teacher Max Taylor, one of the founding fathers of Trinity’s arts programme, has celebrated his 100th birthday last Sunday the 26th February 2023.
Mr Taylor, originally from a farming family near Maitland, NSW, joined Trinity as a history teacher in 1945 and served the School for some 45 years, initiating many arts events in the post-war years when they were something of a rarity.
He started a music group for boarders, formed a choir, produced plays – The Importance Of Being Earnest was the first - and organised the first School concert in the Dining Hall in 1951.
He attracted performers of considerable note, including his sister-in-law Mary Adams, who had recently starred in the National Opera’s production of Carmen, and British actor Dame Margaret Rutherford, who read poetry.
Mr Taylor also organised Art exhibitions and competitions to show the work of students, and attracted notable judges including the celebrated painter Lloyd Rees.
He formed a Trinity Arts Society, actively encouraged by then Head Master James Wilson-Hogg and later his successor Rod West.
He was Taubman House Master from 1965-72 and was awarded an AM in 1978.
Showing that philanthropy has a long history at Trinity, he came up with the idea of running an art gallery, the original Delmar, as a commercial operation, and using commissions to fund scholarships for senior students who excelled in the arts.
One of his regular clients was the mother of Anna Volska, the actor and wife of theatre luminary John Bell.
He later opened his own art gallery in Smith St, Summer Hill.
Mr Taylor accepted many tasks in his early days, including running the Triangle and serving as Boarding House Master for nine years.
“It was pretty primitive in those days, and so was the food,” he recalled. “I enjoyed it – apart from the food.”
However it was establishing and promoting the arts that captured his attention.
“Fortunately, James Wilson-Hogg recognised I wasn’t going to be any good coaching rugby, and supported me in something I was really interested in."
“That certainly warms my heart.”
Long-time friend and colleague Ashley Lucas, Head of the Languages Faculty, said Mr Taylor maintained a good rapport with his classes right until his retirement - his last Year 10 class threw a surprise farewell party for him in the classroom which he remembers fondly.
“Ashley stated that Max loved tennis and played the sport into his 80s. He gave it away when he no longer felt able to serve as he had. He almost beat me when I was in my mid 20s and he in his 60s."
“Ashley also stated that Max often expressed some form of disapproval of staff who were uninterested in the Arts or who did not read fiction. He felt that teachers needed to have at least some acquaintance with some areas of the arts. His pet hate was English teachers who did not read widely.”
Congratulations Max on reaching such a significant milestone in your life and thank you for the positive and long lasting impact you had on so many young men of the School over the years.