Barry Dickins to talk on Squizzy Taylor: 16 November 2006

Barry Dickins is to speak about Squizzy Taylor on at the Collingwood Library on Thursday 16 November 2006 at 6.30 p.m. (bookings 1300 650 444). The library is in Abbotsford, next to Collingwood Town Hall on Hoddle St and Collingwood Station. Dickins’s play “Squizzy Taylor” has apparently just completed a successful season at the Carlton Courthouse Theatre, but I missed it. I’m glad it was successful because this lover of Smith St sounded a bit down on the writing side of things in this article. Joseph “Squizzy” Taylor was born in 1888 and shot dead in 1927, aged 39, having married at St James’s Fitzroy, committed murder at Glenferrie Station in 1923, and died at St. Vincent’s after a Carlton shootout. According to the brilliant online edition of the Australian Dictionary of Biography:

“Between 1913 and 1916 Taylor was linked to several more violent crimes including the murder and robbery of Arthur Trotter, a commercial traveller, the burglary of the Melbourne Trades Hall, in which a police constable was killed, and the murder of William Patrick Haines, a driver who refused to participate in the hold-up of a bank manager at Bulleen. Taylor was tried for the murder of Haines and found not guilty. Although rarely convicted after 1917, Taylor remained a key figure in an increasingly violent and wealthy underworld. His income came from armed robbery, prostitution, the sale of illegal liquor and drugs, as well as from race-fixing and protection rackets. With Paddy Boardman, he conducted an efficient and lucrative business in rigging juries, a service of which he made regular use. …

‘Squizzy’ was a colourful figure in the drinking and gambling clubs of Fitzroy, Richmond and Carlton. A dapper little man who dressed loudly, he strutted through the courts, race-courses and theatres. While hiding from the police, he wrote letters and verse to the press. Yet he had few redeeming qualities. Taylor won lasting notoriety by imitating the style of American bootleggers; he never matched their influence or immunity from the law, and at the time of his death could no longer command fear or loyalty from the underworld.”

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42 Replies to “Barry Dickins to talk on Squizzy Taylor: 16 November 2006”

  1. I have a photo of Squizzy taylor (found amongst family photo's) as a young man probably early 20's with 4 other men and am trying to find out our connection with him, if we are related!!!! did he have a sister?

    1. Carol, my grandfather was conected with Squizzy thru the famous Kilpatrick Jewell robbery in 1918, it was probaly who he who got shelved by Squizzy which started the Fitzroy Vendetta, love to see your photo's on any history mattter,fascinated by the 1920 era
      regards Terry

    2. Hi Carol,

      Not sure if you will ever see this reply as it was some time ago you posted. I just found out that I am related to Squizzy Taylor as he married my relative Ida Muriel Pender… I too would love to see any photo's as I am only just starting to do my research.

    3. Hi Carol,

      I have read your blog re photo of squizzy would love to compare photos to find whether or not my photo is squizzy also,



  2. i believe my grand father joe barnett/ barrister at law defended taylor pehaps murder charge not sure? would appreciate any information

  3. I have recently found out that Squizzy Taylor is my great great uncle. i have read the book runner and i would like to find out whom it was he married, so i can know how it is i am related.

    1. Hi Ellie,

      I too just found out that Squizzy Taylor was related to me, but through marriage.. He married my relative Ida Muriel Pender.

      Would love to know if you had any photo's?

  4. I have found out that my grandmother’s name was queenie taylor before she was married to william spears, perhaps her first name was a nickname I don’t know as she was deceased before I was born and only heard her referred to as Queenie by my mum and dad, she was born around 1886, I was wondering if she is the connection with the photo I found amongst our family photo’s (see first entry dated aug 28th 2007)

  5. We have a family legend that a police officer Haywood was stabbed (and survived) by one of Squizzy’s associates. I am seeking any information re this alleged incident.

  6. i am a desenent of squizzy taylor i am 19 years of age and i have two older brothers myself and my second oldest brother have a very short fuse and were always watch by my mother growing up fearing that we have the gene that makes us a (theodore) taylor i seem to loose control if i get pulled over by the cops and have been in some punch ups where i have had to be draged off the person my father had the theodore gene as well and my mum said that she hopes that it doesnt make us bad people.

  7. I am also a decendent. At 20 years old I am his great great grandaughter. I decend as follows: Squizzy had a son called Mervyn whom was my great grandfather. He committed suicide in 1988. When Mervyn was born Squizzy changed his surname to MacGilllivray (Mervyn's mothers name) to protect him. Mervyn had a number of children to different women one being my grandfather, Robert MacGilllivray (now spelt McGillvery) Robert had a son Anthony (my father) and a daughter (Raylene). I am one of three girls. My great grandfather (Mervyn), My grand father and my father all served in the Navy. Ironically i am a law student.

    1. Hi Louise

      I would love to chat to you if you are related to Squizzy – I am putting some info together on people that are related to him.

      Please do get in contact – my number is 02 9288 1371

      Thanks so much



    2. Hi Louise,

      I’m writing to get more information off of you about Mervyn Macgillivray, about how he died, the year of birth and death and of his children that you know of from other marriages he had. It would be really appreciated. Thanks.

    3. Hi Louise,

      I am the daughter of Mervyn Taylor MacGillivray, Robert MacGillivrays sister. Mervyn did not commit suicide in 1988 as I was born in 1989. I have two older brothers, Adam and Joe, also children of Mervyns. I have recently begun speaking with Robert, although met him while I was very young and Mervyn was still alive. I find the family history very intriguing, although difficult to put everything together. I guess I’m technically your great aunt. If you have any further information or want to chat, I am on Roberts facebook.


      1. Hi Katy, I’m Louise’s father, I remember seeing you as a baby in Brisbane in 1989. The family history is more checkered than intriguing! 🙂

  8. Not so much a comment, but a question. I own a property in Cranbourne purchased in 1966 off a lady called May Hilton who, title records show, took possession in 1925. Local anecdotal stories claim that Sqizzy Taylor owned the property and that May Hilton was Sqizzies mistress – or that she was the mistress of a lawyer who acted for Squizzy and received the property as payment. However Titles Office records do not seem to bear this out. The stories that Squizzy owned the property come from a number of diffent people some of whom have now passed on. He was reputed to have used the property, which was bushland when acquired by my family, for cycling races upon which there was illegal gambling.

    I would appreciate any comments on this subject.

    1. Hi Peter unfortunatly I do not have any information for you. But I thought it worth mentioning my husband and I have recently purchased a place in Old Belgrave Road, Upper Ferntree Gully claimed to be "the house of Squizzy". I know little about the history of the home but apparently is well known in the area he did live there at some point. I have also been told that possibly he had ladys staying under the house and would get them out with a gold coin?? I have no idea what this means and I somehow relate it to possibly prostitution… if anyone knows anything I would appreciate your comments.

  9. Squizzy shot my great uncle William Patrick Haines, a Taxi Driver, because he refused to assist in a robbery. (family history says that he had overheard the discussion in the taxi and so was shot to ensure that he did not pass on information)
    Haines was the grandson of William Clarke Haines, (Victoria's first premier)
    Any information would be appreciated about this incident. I would be interestred in tracking down the court records of the trial in which Squizzy was acquitted of the murder. Was this one of his 'fixed' juries?

    1. Hi , Im not sure if this particular file, as i have not seached it. However as a law clerk i often search court and probate files. Most files are a public document after they are closed. As this was an older file Try searching at archives victoria (i think they also use the name public records office), they are located in shell street north melbourne. i would be suprised if it was not made public, especially given the age of the file. Good luck

  10. I believe I am also related to Squizzy,could be his g.grand-daughter.Named my youngest son after him and he was always getting into mischief when he was younger,his nick name is little Squizzy.Mum asked her grandmother once about who her grandfather was and was told never to ask again but was told later by people who knew them both that she did know him well.My uncle was very much like him in more ways than one and so is his son.We were born and bred in Fitzroy,Carlton and Collingwood.

    1. Hi Vicki,

      I am related to Squizzy via marriage, he was married to my relative Ida Muriel Pender.. I would love to see how you are related as my family is working on our family tree.

  11. Just found out my Mum, born1919, Gweneth Wilkinson, was good friends with Patsy Taylor and often would frequent the Taylors house in Richmond. Funny, huh??

  12. I believe Patsy Taylor is my late grandmother from Squizzy Taylors first marriage. Any additional information would be much apprecaited. She did change her name though as her and her mum were under police protection from Squizzy after they divorced.

  13. My great auntie Ella was known by her family to have associated with Squizzy Taylor. I also know of 2 other associations from 2 women I Know.

  14. i find it strange for people to say that sqizzy taylor or any gangster is cool or legendry on there past history of crime and violence. i read up on there past only for history information for my children when underbelly series are on tv and only for that purpose of education. i teach my children that these type of people have no place in our community. and not to look up to them as legends and that they are thugs that distroy peoples lifes. a good person helps his community not robs it or sells drugs to them and has a job to support his family regardless of the type of employment you have my father woked as a forklift driver in the one factory for 35 years now that is legendry thats what we need to teach our children. all i can say is to the future thugs and crims get a real job.

  15. Hi,

    I am not a relative to Squizzy Taylor, but believe that I poses a photo of him taken by my grandmother somewhere in Sth Melbourne, could be near the Sth Melbourne Baths, My grandmother worked there. Is there anyone who could help me identify this person?


  16. Just out of curiosity what happened to squizzy taylors first born daughter whom he is buried with I believe her name was june taylor. From what I’ve reserched she was born in 1920 and passed away at 7 months of age. How did she die of such a young age? There is no history that I can see that states this. Also what became of his other 2 daughters

    1. She died at around 7-8 months old. There is not inquest into her death and it is only mentioned in the divorce record between Lorna and him. Public Record Office Victoria has the divorce record.

    2. Melanie, if you search for the death of a June Taylor on BDM VIC there is only one entry which could be her. Event registration number 2138
      Child of Joseph Leslie Theodore and Irene Lorna (Kelly). Died 1921 age 7 in KENSINGTON HILL.

      If you purchase her death certificate it will tell you cause of death. At that age in that age it was not uncommon for children to die young of all sorts of nasties

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