John Taylor was a baker in England, and arrived in Australia in 1852. He 'visited Melbourne, Castlemaine, Creswick, Hard Hills, etc., and finally decided to settle in Ballarat, where he was very successful and did a very large trade, employing many hands,' (Gardner, 1910, p.9).
He built a bakery on the corner of Dana and Raglan Streets in 1856 and named it the 'Red House', developing a turnover of £20,000 a year. During the 1860s Taylor advertised extensively in the Ballarat press. He took out a quarter page promotion in the 1862 Ballarat directory, describing himself as a 'Wholesale and Retails Grocer, and Bread and Biscuit Baker.' In 1863 he rebuilt his works and from that time on he placed the Governor's crest on his advertisements. His copy declared that he was 'Under the immediate Patronage of His Excellency Sir Charles Darling.' The text continued 'J. Taylor begs to announce that having completed the erection of his powerful steam machinery for the Manufacture of Biscuits, Confectionery, &c., His Excellency kindly honoured him by opening the works in person on Wednesday, December 9th, 1863, on which occasion he had the distinguished honour of receiving his first order from His Excellency,' (The Evening Times, 9/1/1864). As well as paying tribute to his patron, Taylor pointed out his capacity to take wholesale orders, and asserted that 'a single trial will suffice to establish the superiority and cheapness of the great variety of goods manufactured at his establishment.' His range of goods included biscuits, boiled sugars, and lozenges. In 1867 (under the patronage of His Excellency Sir H. Manners Sutton, K.C.B.) Taylor opened a second store, on the corner of Sturt and Raglan streets, it was 'a Retail Confectionery Establishment', providing 'a constant and fresh supply of Fruit, Pastry, Confectionery, Biscuits and Wedding Cakes.' (Courier, 1867)
Gardner wrote that economic conditions in the mid 1870s led Taylor to close his shop and take up farming at Boort for seven years. He resumed his work in 1881, taking up a shop at 526 Sturt Street, Ballarat, for baking, biscuit making, and confectioning, again establishing a very solid business. After his retirement he passed the business on to his son Robert, who was still managing it in 1910.
Mr Taylor was very active in his community, sitting on the committee of organisations such as the Old Colonist's Association, Benevolent Asylum, Ballarat Hospital, and Mechanics Institute. He was a director of the National Insurance Co. of Ballarat, and several mining companies, as well as holding rank in both the Masons and the Independent Order of Oddfellows.
His tokens, made for him by Thomas Stokes of Melbourne, all differ in their reverses. All three of these were common reverses on tokens by Stokes, and all of Taylor's tokens were issued in 1862. One uses the Australian arms of the Kangaroo and Emu with motto 'Advance Australia,' while another uses the wheat sheaf and the same motto, and the third bears the vine branch and motto 'In vino veritas.'References:
Gardner, F. (1910). 'Trade tokens and the firms who issued them.' The Australian Storekeepers and Traders Journal. 30 September, p.9.
Sharples, J. (1993). 'Catalogue of Victorian Trade Tokens.' Journal of the Numismatic Association of Australia. Vol. 7. December, p.17.
Ballarat Directories 1856, 1862 and 1865-1866.
Advertisement. Birtchnell's Ballarat Directory for 1862, p.42.
Advertisement. The Evening Times. 9 January 1864, p.1.
Advertisement. Ballarat and Ballarat District Directory for 1865-1866. Advertisements section, p.14.
Advertisement. The Ballarat Courier. 14 June 1867, p.4.
Hope, John. 'Taylor, J.' Unpublished MSS. 2005, 2pps.