Eaglehawk’s grand old veteran Jack Taylor passes

on .

By Richard Jones

One of the Borough’s greatest sons in municipal and football life and activities has passed away.

 Jack Taylor, 97, was five-times Mayor of the Borough of Eaglehawk and a legendary figure around the Two Blues Football and Netball Club.

He died in late July a few weeks before the start of the 2018 BFNL finals series.

Jack’s terms as Mayor of the Borough were from 1966-67, 1971-72, 1976-77, 1981-82 and 1987-88.

In all he served the Borough council for 28 years: from 1961 to 1989.

At the footy club he was treasurer for 25 years.

He was a loyal servant of the club and I was fortunate enough to have served with Jack on the Eaglehawk Team of the Century and 125th anniversary celebrations committee.

The extraordinary thing about Jack when we convened around the table to discuss old champion Hawks from yesteryear was his knowledge from the World War 2 era.

And not just from 1945 and beyond but from the pre-War decade.

Jack had played for the Eaglehawk juniors (what we’d call the under-18s these days) way back in 1938.

He was just 17 at the time as his birthdate was February 26th, 1921.

In 1941 when the Two Blues won the BFL flag Jack was a member of the successful team. He’d turned 20 by then.

With Harold ‘Wicky’ Toma a pivotal player in the side Eaglehawk scored a 38-point grand final victory over South Bendigo: 17.16 (118) to the Bloods’ 11.14 (80).

Jack would regale us at the regular Team of the Century discussions in late 2004-early 2005 about the merits, skills and deficiencies of a whole range of players up for debate and their suitability for selection in the final side.

Well before even Jack had taken to the turf we’d have to discuss the abilities, temperaments and particular skills of players from 1900-1914 ---- even back to the 1890s.

Jack had memories and links to all those decades and in the end we included three players from pre-WW1 times in the final team: Fred Jinks in defence, Alf Baud across half-forward and centreman (and city pharmacist) George McWilliams on the interchange bench.

It was Jack’s meticulous research and knowledge of where to look for this trio’s exploits which led to their selection.

And he’d never lost his love of the Eaglehawk footy club.

He was an inaugural member of the Hawks’ Hall of Fame, inducted in September 2008 along with George Ilsley and Ray ‘Bluey’ Watts.

In later life Jack would sit in a car with family and friends parked close to the scoreboard on the outer side of Canterbury Park.

Away from the rain, hail and freezing southerly winds Jack could watch play unfold before him but cocooned away from the intemperate winter blasts.

He was often joined on the scoreboard side of the ground by John Hall, a co-host of mine on Phoenix-FM radio’s regular Wednesday Sports Talk.