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"Loyal and gregarious": Former deputy mayor Glenn Taylor has died aged 60

By Peter Holmes

Glenn Taylor and Jeff Whitton became mates in the 1970s.

It was a friendship that would span about 45 years.

A former deputy mayor and long-serving Orange City councillor, Taylor died at home in Orange on Saturday after succumbing to cancer. He was 60 years old.

Taylor was a De La Salle College Orange boy; Whitton went to school at Canobolas Rural Technology High School.

Both emerged from hardscrabble working class families, in a city that back then had a solid manufacturing base and plenty of abattoir work.

“I worked in delivery and he worked in spare parts, that’s where we first crossed paths,” Whitton told The Orange News Examiner.

They were teenagers, fresh out of high school.

Both became staunch Labor men, settling into the party’s right faction. Over the decades Taylor became very well connected in the Labor movement.

He stood unsuccessfully for Labor for the state seat of Orange, but once came within an inch of winning, Whitton recalled.

Life got in the way and the friendship drifted, but it was rekindled when Whitton joined the Australian Labor Party in 1995.

Then, in 2004, Taylor asked Whitton to run as second on his ticket for the Orange City Council elections.

They both spent many years on council - Whitton was recently reelected - and had hoped to run together again last December.

“Glenn was Labor to his bootstraps - he and I are old school Hawke and Keating boys,” Whitton said.

“We both grew up in families where our parents went without to make sure we had a good start.”

Taylor was president of the Orange branch of the ALP and attended state conferences as a delegate.

Whitton said Taylor was good friends with former NSW premier Bob Carr.

“Glenn called a spade a spade, and the left (of the Labor Party) hated us with a passion.”

OCTEC founder Andrew McDougall saw Taylor for the final time two days ago.

“Glenn had been very, very ill for a time,” McDougall said.

Taylor was a board member of OCTEC for 25 years.

McDougall said Taylor had wanted, and was able, to remain at home.

“In the last fortnight family were there, and friends were coming and going,” he said.

McDougall described Taylor as “a very loyal friend, and a gregarious man”.

He paid tribute to Taylor’s time on council, where he was seen by supporters as a champion of the underdog.

“He was really passionate about the community, and about helping people he considered may be more disadvantaged.

“He was very astute. You could always talk to him about issues and then he would make up his own mind.

“There were no vested interests with Glenn. He was prepared to cross any [political] boundary and support a particular cause if he thought it was good for the city.”


(L-R): Jeff Whitton, Glenn Taylor and Mark Whitton enjoying a drink at the Victoria Hotel in August 2021. Facebook.

In August last year Whitton, his brother Mark and Taylor were sinking a few jars at the Vic, their favourite watering hole.

Along with the public bar at the Royal, it’s probably the most no-nonsense and “Labor” of all pubs in the city.

“Not long after that he wasn’t feeling himself,” Whitton recalled.

Taylor, who ran a gardening business, was diagnosed with cancer and was put on a new, ultimately unsuccessful treatment.

Whitton last saw his mate on Friday afternoon.

“He knew I was there; he was close to resting, and was unable to speak.

“The last time we spoke was on Monday. The doctor had given him the [final] diagnosis and said they would make him comfortable.

“He grabbed my hand and said, ‘You’ve been a good mate, I’ll save a spot for you at the bar’, and I said ‘I appreciate that mate, but it won’t be for another 50 or 60 years’. We had a chuckle about that.”

Glenn Taylor’s funeral arrangements will be announced in coming days.


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