On the 14th of December 1866, a young thirteen year old boy named Edmund George Taylor accidentally shot and killed himself on the road to Yea in north east Victoria.
“…He was on the dray with a gun in his hand, when by some means or other it went off, and he contents were lodged in his chest, causing almost instantaneous death. His companions did not observe the gun go off, but only heard the report, and saw the deceased fall off the dray. He exclaimed, “Oh, Lord, I am shot,” and never spoke afterwards…”
It can only be assumed that his father, George Henry Taylor, a solicitor from Upper Hawthorn near Melbourne, had commissioned Ferguson & Urie to create the memorial stained glass window to his son. The window was erected in St Luke’s Anglican Church in Yea in North east Victoria. Whether the Yea Church was considered symbolic as the place to erect the window is not known, but it’s the destination his son never reached.
The date the window was actually created and erected in St Luke’s is not known. The Anglican Church of St Luke at Yea wasn’t constructed until 1869 and so it’s likely that the window was one of the first to be erected in the church and is also the window you see immediately on entering the church.
The central symbol in the window is an intricately designed blue cross on a rich ruby red background with floral and vine leaf designs in various colours. The cross is surrounded by the verse from Ecclesiastes 12:7.
“THE DUST SHALL RETURN TO THE EARTH AS IT WAS AND BE SPIRIT UP TO GOD WHO GAVE IT”.
The memorial text at the bottom of the window reads:
“IN MEMORIAM – EDMUND GEORGE TAYLOR – DIED DECEMBER 14th 1866”.
Photos taken 26th December 2011.
“A boy, named Edmund George Taylor, aged thirteen years, the son of Mr. Taylor, solicitor, living at Boroondarra, was accidently killed last Friday. It appears that, together with his brother, he was in company with a man named John McCessey, who was taking a bullock dray to Yea. He was on the dray with a gun in his hand, when by some means or other it went off, and he contents were lodged in his chest, causing almost instantaneous death. His companions did not observe the gun go off, but only heard the report, and saw the deceased fall off the dray. He exclaimed, “Oh, Lord, I am shot,” and never spoke afterwards. An inquest was held upon the body on Sunday, by Mr Candler, when Mr Bragge, Surgeon, deposed that he made a post mortem examination of the body, and found a most extensive gun-shot wound in the stomach and chest, the third, fourth, and fifth ribs being shattered, and the right lung broken up, and in the apex witness found a mass of wadding and shot. There were some detached shots by the side of the spine. The direction of the wound was upwards and inwards. The firearm causing it must have been quite close to the person of the deceased. The jury returned a verdict of accidental death.”
“The name of the unfortunate lad who was lately accidentally shot while traveling in a dray in the neighbourhood of Boroondara, should have been Edmund George Taylor, and not Charles Frederick Taylor. The latter – the brother of the deceased – was present, and unfortunately, a witness of the accident”.
“On Thursday last an accident, which terminated fatally, occurred to a lad thirteen years of age, named Charles Frederick Taylor, the son of Mr. Taylor, solicitor, of Boroondara. It appears that between eight and nine o’clock on the morning of the day named the deceased was seated in a dray with a gun in his hand, when the piece suddenly went off, and the boy immediately afterwards cried out, “My God! I’m shot.” No one knows exactly how the accident occurred; but as the deceased was attempting at the time to get off the dray, with the gun in his hand, it is probably that the lock struck against something. There was a large wound in the chest where the charge had entered. Mr. Chandler held an inquest on the body yesterday, when the jury returned a verdict of “Accidental Death”.
“TAYLOR.- On the 14th inst., on the road to Yea, accidentally killed when carrying a loaded gun, Edmund George, the fifth son of George Henry, and Maria Taylor, of Upper Hawthorn, aged fourteen years.
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