THOMAS HAMLET TAYLOR (1818-84) & STEPHEN VINE BUCKLAND (1831-86), GEELONG LAWYERS
The cover is addressed to Compton F. Ferrers Esq, The Stafford Club, 2 Seville (sic) Row, Burlington Gardens, London, England and it has a manuscript ‘Via Brindisi’ and an additional manuscript ‘Supplementary Inst(ructions?). The fine blue on blue ‘One Shilling’ Victorian stamp is canceled by the 2nd duplex (state 2, with part of the upper frame missing) GEELONG/ 3H/ FE 2/ 72 with the Barred Numeral ‘2’. In addition there is a reception mark in lilac ‘LONDON ( )/ PAID/ MY 12/ 72 (Figure 1).
The reverse has no postal markings but does have a double oval ‘belt and buckle’ TAYLOR & BUCKLAND/ SOLICITORS AND NOTARIES/ GEELONG on the flap (Figure 2).
We meet Thomas Hamlet Taylor, his wife Anne, a 6 year old and an infant son in an unusual way. He was on board the barque Isabella Watson in the rough Bass Strait bound for Melbourne from England when their ship was wrecked on rocks at the entrance to Port Phillip on 21 March, 1852. The family were amongst the survivors, but they lost all their belongings, and 9 of the other passengers died. After the wreck the families temporary quarters were in Queenscliff and Taylor must have learnt of an opening in nearby Geelong. Thomas Taylor had been admitted to legal practice in England and he practiced initially in Geelong, then in Melbourne and Geelong, as the senior partner in a legal firm well known in both cities later as Taylor Buckland and Gates. Taylor was president of the Law Institute of Victoria in 1862-64 and 1875-76. A picture of Thomas Hamlet Taylor (1818-84) is shown in Figure 3.
Stephen Vine Buckland solicitor was born in Sydney, the son of John Buckland and his wife, Clarissa Soby, née Smith. The Buckland family arrived in Geelong in late 1848 on the steamer Francis. He recalled at the Old Colonists’ dinner that his first duty he had when he joined Sladen’s practice was to sweep the floor. He was admitted to legal practice on 4 December 1855 and he was made a partner in 1857. Sladen had retired, sold his business to Joseph Martyr and Thomas H. Taylor on 8 July 1854. Articles of partnership between Taylor and Buckland were dated 21 October 1864. Buckland’s name appears on the Law List 1863-1878.
In 1867 Buckland drew up the contract to buy the stone premises in Pakington Street next to the Duke of Wellington Hotel for Chilwell’s use as their first Council Chambers. Buckland had been a Chilwell Councillor from 1860-65 and 1866-86. Many were Bucklands duties whilst he was a Chilwell Councillor, including the opening of the Chillwell Free Library in 1881. When the Barwon Rowing Club was formed in 1870, Buckland became its president.
When Buckland died in 1886 at 55, he was survived by his wife, the former Helen Sarah Giles, whom he married in 1856. They had six children, 3 boys and 3 girls, all of whom survived their father. He was buried at the Eastern Cemetery and the cortage was fully three-quarters of miles in length. A picture of Stephen Vine Buckland is shown in Figure 4.
The addressee, Compton Ferrers has not been found, but presumably Taylor and Buckland were acting on his behalf. Harwood & Pincott merged with Taylor Buckland & Gates in 1889. The correct spelling for the prestigious London Street is Savile Row.