Naming of the Taylor Sports Centre
Last Saturday 9 November, 60 guests joined with members of the College’s 1st XI and their opponents from St Joseph’s College for the official naming of the Sports Centre in honour of John Morris (‘Johnnie’) Taylor (ON 1915).
The Taylor Sports Centre was opened in 1993. This year the College Council decided that, as the headquarters for sport in the College, it should be named in honour of Newington’s greatest sportsman. After a welcome from the Headmaster, Dr David Mulford, the naming was performed by Michael Morgan OAM (ON 1964), former Olympic rower and coach, Newington’s most successful rowing coach and current member of the College Council. Sam Woods, Deputy Senior Prefect and member of the 1st XI, moved a vote of thanks.
A special guest for the event was Mrs Lyn Taylor, Johnnie Taylor’s daughter-in-law. Other guests included many former Captains of Cricket, along with a range of former coaches and other people who have played a prominent role in cricket at Newington, and their families.
When Johnnie Taylor left Newington early in 1915, The Newingtonian described his school career as ‘…the most brilliant as regards sport of any Newingtonian, and perhaps of any school boy of New South Wales’. He played cricket in the 1st XI from 1909, at the age of fourteen, until 1915, scoring twelve centuries and three double centuries; and in the Combined GPS 1st XI for five years, including two as Captain. He played Sheffield Shield cricket for NSW in 1914–15 while still at school. He was also a fine rugby player, rifle shooter and athlete. He played in the 1st XV for five years and in the Combined GPS 1st XV for four. He shot in the 1st X for four years and was a member of the Athletics team for five. He was awarded Triple Colours five times, a feat unique in Newington’s history. Despite his successes he was popular ‘…as much on account of his unfailing good temper and as his proverbial modesty.’
After service in the First World War, Johnnie Taylor was selected for an AIF cricket team that toured Britain, South Africa and Australia. Between 1920 and 1926, he played twenty Test matches for Australia and 135 first class matches. He also played two rugby Tests for Australia in 1922.