The writer acknowledges with gratitude the
considerable assistance of Geoffrey K Walker and his
uncle, Laidlaw Brown Tait (d. 30 January 2008) whose
daughter Pamela appears in one of the photos, in
preparing this material.
Charles Pillar Tait
was the son of George Tait and Maggie
Small who were married according to the rites of
the Presbyterian Church in the Abbeymount Hall,
Edinburgh, on 22 February 1895. He was born in
Cooper’s Plains on 28 May 1915 and, ailing from
birth, died there three weeks later on 15 June 1915.
His death certificate informs us that George Laidlaw
Brown, a family friend of long standing, certified
the burial at God’s Acre; that the service was
conducted by the Reverend Cummings Air Capern of the
Congregational Church; and that the witnesses to the
burial were John Compton, the son of Edwin and Ellen
Compton, and Olive Drew. The infant’s given names
derive from the fact that his paternal aunt,
Christina Bennet Tait, married Charles Pillar, a
café proprietor in Newcastle upon Tyne.
Charles Pillar Tait’s siblings at the time of his
birth, all of whom were born in Edinburgh, were:
John George (known as Geordie, b. 11 June 1898),
Laidlaw Brown (b. 21 June 1909) and Daisy Arthur (b.
7 July 1911). His brother Ernest Arthur Tait was
born in Australia on 14 January 1919.
George Tait, the son of John Tait and Isabella
Melrose, was born in Kilham, Northumberland,
England, on 28 August 1869. He was working at the
Edinburgh Evening News
as a linotype engineer when, in the first half of
1912, Mr Woods of the Queensland Government Printing
Office visited the premises. A few months later a
telegram arrived at the Tait family home at 67
Willowbrae Road, Edinburgh, offering George a
responsible position at the Brisbane printing
George and Maggie Tait and the three children were
on board the Aberdeen Line’s 11,231-ton SS
(Captain A Douglas RNR) as cabin passengers when, on
12 September 1912, it set sail from London on the
long voyage to Australia. The ship arrived in
Brisbane on 6 November 1912 and remained there until
9 November when it began its return journey to
London via, Sydney, Melbourne, Durban and Capetown.
The Taits were met on their arrival by the Luke
family of Taringa, friends from Scotland, who saw to
their accommodation needs until they rented a house,
‘Willowbrae’, in Chardean Street, Acacia Ridge.
Their nearest neighbour was the local postmistress,
Mrs Olive Drew, the daughter of Hanna Danielsen who
is also buried in God’s Acre. Olive was the midwife
at the birth of Charles Pillar Tait in 1915 and may
have assisted Maggie in the same capacity at the
delivery of the stillborn Gladys Tait. Olive’s story
is told elsewhere in these pages.
Having secured a loan from the Agricultural Bank in
1916, George Tait purchased a 43-acre block that
would today take in the area bounded by Mortimer,
Watson, Sussex and Beaudesert Roads, Cooper’s
Plains. There the family erected a Brown and Broad
‘ready-to-erect’ weatherboard house which they named
‘Allarton’. This property was farmed by their friend
George Laidlaw Brown until his death from
consumption in 1918. The children attended the
nearby Cooper’s Plains State School (now the
Aboriginal and Islander Independent Community
When Daisy Arthur Tait began work, her parents
decided that it would be both safer and more
convenient for her if they relocated the family home
to a site closer to the Cooper’s Plains Railway
Station. This move would also have eased the daily
pressure of travel to the station which George and
Laidlaw made by bicycle. With these considerations
in mind, George and Maggie purchased land in
Rosedale Avenue not far from the Chinese market
gardens. They employed the services of Guyomar and
Wright, house removalists, who relocated ‘Allarton’
there. It was a highly complex manoeuvre which was
made more difficult by the Council’s refusal to
allow the temporary dismantling of the railings on
the Stable Swamp Creek bridge. Only when the house
was precariously tilted to one side on the back of
the removalists’ sturdy Daimler truck was the
crossing of the bridge achieved.
George Tait died on 30 May 1940 and was cremated at
the Mount Thompson Crematorium on 1 June following a
service at 9.45 a.m.
Maggie Tait, the daughter of
James (a fisherman) and Margaret (née Bremner)
Small, was born in Wick, Caithness, Scotland, on 25
April 1878. She passed away on 26 April 1950 and was
cremated at Mount Thompson two days later.
Finally, a few words about George and Maggie’s other
children, Charles Pillar Tait’s siblings. John
George (Geordie) Tait, whose health gave cause for
concern throughout his life, did not marry. He
passed away in the Moreton Bay Nursing Care Unit on
21 July 1976, having previously spent some time at
Eventide. His cremation at the Mount Thompson
Crematorium took place two days later.
Laidlaw Brown Tait married Lillian Carmichael
McKechnie on 19 October 1933. He served in the Royal
Australian Air Force during the Second World War.
Lillian died on 20 October 1998, the day after she
and her husband celebrated their 65th
wedding anniversary. Laidlaw died in his 99th
year on 30 January 2008.
Daisy Arthur Tait married Herbert George Walker on 6
April 1938. She died on 23 October 1996 having
outlived her husband who passed away on 30 March
Ernest Arthur Tait married Mona May Cullen on 13
February 1940. Ernest died on 14 November 1967, Mona
May on 8 May 1985.
It is possible that Gladys Tait, a stillborn child
of George and Maggie Tait, was also buried in God’s
Acre. However, neither the writer nor his sources
have been able to confirm this; and no other
information about her seems to be available.