Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History

Harry Samuel Taylor, the ‘William Lane’ of the South Australian Riverland

Labour History: A Journal of Labour and Social History (1997), 72, (1), 19–34.

Abstract

When historians focus on the pioneers of the Australian labour movement they inevitably neglect those who played ‘supporting roles’. Among the latter was Harry Samuel Taylor (1873-1932) who, with several hundred other Australians, followed William Lane and tried to set up a cooperative commonwealth in the wilds of South America in the early 1890s. For three years Taylor was one of Lane’s most trusted and loyal lieutenants. Thereafter their lives diverged. True, both ended their lives as critics of the labour movement. But,whereas Lane grew disillusioned with socialism, Taylor never completely lost the ideals which had inspired his commitment to not only socialism, but also the single tax and closer settlement. During the first thirty or so years of the present century Taylor saw his hopes come to fruition. But it was not amongst either the colonists of ‘New Australia’ and ‘Cosme’ or the urban workers in Australian cities and towns. To him the leaders of the organised labour movement had betrayed both their followers and their principles while those who had been most successful in implementing the principles of cooperation were the irrigationist fruitgrowers in the Riverland areas of South Australia and Victoria.

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Author details

Saunders, Malcolm

Table of Contents

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