Australian Dictionary of Biography

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George Henry Taubman (1862–1938)

by G. P. Walsh

This article was published:

This is a shared entry with Nathaniel James Taubman

George Henry Taubman (1862-1938) and Nathaniel James Taubman (1864-1931), manufacturers, were born on 5 May 1862 and 5 February 1864 in Sydney, sons of John Taubman, a fireman from the Isle of Man, and his wife Sarah, née Pearson, a Londoner. George became a signwriter and married Isabella Scott on 20 August 1884 in St David's Anglican Church, Surry Hills. Educated at Cleveland Street Public School, Nathaniel was apprenticed to a plumber and wed Mary Elizabeth Higgs (d.1953) on 25 March 1885 in the same church. In September 1887 the patent office granted him a certificate of provisional protection for 'The Taubman bath heater and hot shower machine'.

By 1898 George was an importer and distributor of painters' and signwriters' supplies, with a shop on the corner of Park and Castlereagh streets; at one time he held the agency for Berger Lewis & Sons Ltd's paints. Reasoning that Federation would result in customs duties on his imports, he and Nathaniel experimented in making varnish. In 1901 they set up paint and varnish works at St Peters; in February 1912 it became Taubman's Ltd with authorized capital of £6000.

Selling out to his brother in 1914, Nathaniel and his son Claude Percival founded the Sterling Varnish Co. in Huntley Street, Alexandria. Nathaniel took a keen interest in the Church of England and was a warden at St Matthew's, Ashbury. He died of heart disease on 21 December 1931 at Croydon, survived by his wife, son and daughter, and was buried in Rookwood cemetery. Probate of his estate was sworn at £12,778.

During World War I Taubmans Ltd established selling branches in all mainland States and a factory in Wellington, New Zealand. George retired as managing director in 1916, but remained as chairman. In 1928 Taubmans became associated with the world-wide group, Pinchin, Johnson & Co. Ltd of London. Popular with his employees, George showed interest in their welfare. For many years he was president of Manly Bowling Club. He died on 3 September 1938 at Balgowlah, survived by his wife, two sons and two daughters. Probate of his estate was sworn at £38,500.

His son Henry George (1886-1959) was born on 1 September 1886 at Glebe and educated at Arncliffe Public School with his brother Walter Scott (1890-1981). Henry was a notable athlete and swimmer in his youth, and one of the first to gain the bronze medallion for lifesaving. He became Taubmans company secretary in 1912, managing director in 1916 and was chairman in 1938-52. At Haberfield on 15 July 1916 he had married with Presbyterian forms Marjorie Naomi Carita Crowley; they were divorced in 1931. He was also a director of Cereal Foods Ltd and managing director of Arthur H. Pearce Pty Ltd, indent merchants of Sydney and Melbourne. He died on 23 August 1959 at Mosman, survived by his wife Lucy Violet, née Craig, and by a son and a daughter of his first marriage. Following expansion during World War II, the firm established new factories in all States in the 1950s. By 1964 Taubmans Industries Ltd was one of Australia's biggest companies.

Select Bibliography

  • Taubmans News, no 8, June 1965
  • Sydney Morning Herald, 21 Dec 1928, 22 Dec 1931, 16 Dec 1936, 25 Aug 1959, 13 Feb 1981.

Citation details

G. P. Walsh, 'Taubman, George Henry (1862–1938)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1990, accessed online 14 July 2024.

This article was published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 12, (Melbourne University Press), 1990

View the front pages for Volume 12

© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2024

Life Summary [details]


5 May, 1862
Glebe, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


3 September, 1938 (aged 76)
Balgowlah, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

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