Book recalls saga of pioneer builder Walter Taylor

Noel Davis at work in his home study. Noel has written a book about his engineer grandfather Walter Taylor.
Noel Davis at work in his home study. Noel has written a book about his engineer grandfather Walter Taylor. Claudia Baxter

WHEN Ipswich author Noel Davis decided to finally knuckle down and tell the story of his famous builder grandfather nearly three years ago, he had no idea how sought-after the finished product would be.

Mr Davis, grandson of Walter Taylor, launched the book, The Remarkable Walter Taylor, only at the beginning of 2011, but has already sold 700 copies.

Another 200 are now being printed to keep up with the surprising level of demand for the book, documenting the life and work of one of Brisbane's great builders and inventors.

Walter Taylor was most noted for his role in building the beautiful old bridge between Chelmer and Indooroopilly, which changed from the Indooroopilly Toll Bridge to the Walter Taylor Bridge after its creator died, aged 83, in 1955.

As Mr Davis points out in the book Mr Taylor took on many other big projects during his successful career.

"Most people have no idea of how much building he did around south-east Queensland - plus he was a great inventor and prominent member of the Methodist Church during his time."

Among some of Mr Taylor's other big projects were the Graceville Uniting Church, the Breakfast Creek bridge and several shops and a bridge at Mundubbera.

His inventions were more on the adventurous side, and included an idea to build a tunnel beneath the Brisbane River from Woolloongabba, plus a turbine that would utilise wave power to produce compressed air and generate electricity.

The tunnel was never built.

However, the turbine was built and installed near Burleigh Head. Sadly, it was destroyed in a heavy storm and never repaired.

"I was born in 1932, so I had a chance to get to know my grandfather for the first 18 years of my life," Mr Davis said. "Anything he didn't know, he read up about or consulted other people."

The next 200 copies of the book, published by the Oxley-Chelmer History Group, will include details on the Queensland University of Technology, Distinguished Constructors award that Mr Davis accepted on behalf of his grandfather recently.

To purchase a copy, contact Mr Davis directly on 3202 3660.

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