Sir Allen Arthur Taylor (1864-1940), timber merchant, ship-owner and politician, was born at Wagga Wagga. Moving to Sydney about 1882, he attended night-school while working.
Moving into timber, he founded the firm of Allen Taylor & Co. Ltd. In the 1890s he also chaired two coastal shipping firms, and became a director of financial companies.
In 1895 he was elected to the Annandale Borough Council, and was mayor in 1897-1902. As an Alderman on the Sydney Municipal Council, he represented Pyrmont (1902-12). Persuading parliament to grant the council powers of resumption and borrowing money, as lord mayor in 1905-06 and 1909-12 he embarked on ambitious civic improvement.
Taylor brought entrepreneurial skills from business to civic administration, but his enthusiasm for “slum clearance” undermined his support among those in Pyrmont who would have been removed. Like a child with building blocks, “he arranges, alters, amends, improves, develops”. He supported a Greater Sydney by incorporating Camperdown and the University of Sydney.
In 1924 Taylor was convinced that the remedy for London’s traffic problems (removing the trams) should be followed in Sydney, and convinced that motor cars were solving traffic problems in the USA. He was a member of the Citizens’ Reform Association which defeated the Labor domination of the council in 1921.