The man who lost his hat

Vale Ross Taylor
Words said at Ross Taylor’s Funeral
Tewantin, 5 August 2019

Ross Taylor did not come from this place, this is not his country.

Strangely it is in this place, or somewhere nearby that Ross came undone.  His long-time friend, Brian Laver, brought him to downtown Noosa to sign some documents for a merchant bank and thereby to take out a loan. In a society that worships money this was Ross’s undoing. The money was for his project which was called AHIMSA house, a community house to be devoted to peace, the environment and education of migrant women. So read his will, at least the will that I saw, there may have been others.

As a result of naked theft by Brian Laver and architect, Will Marcus, Ross lost his building in West End in Brisbane and his savings that had been invested in various small properties. With the stolen money Laver renovated his house and Marcus paid off his mortgage. They took advantage of a man in his declining years, so did the merchant bank, Challenger Bank.

When Ross tried to get his wife Ellen’s jewellery back, stolen by Laver, he went to a free legal service called Caxton Legal Aid that had been set up by Peter Carne and Noel Nunan.  From free legal advice Ross found himself in the clutches of the Public Trustee appointed by the Guardianship & Administration Tribunal.  It was the Public Trustee that continued the work started by Laver and Marcus and gave the property at West End over to the Merchant Bank who sold it.

Meanwhile an unscrupulous accountant, Suleiman Sabdia, used Laver’s greed to his own advantage and convinced Ross to sign his home at 433 Mains Road Sunnybank, the pink house, over to Sabdia’s family. I mentioned before that this burial place is not Ross’s country, however the pink house at Sunnybank was. This is where he had lived with Ellen since 1978 bought cheaply because it was a display home; crucially it was made of brick, because Ellen did not wish to live in a timber home. Anyway Sabdia stole this house and the Supreme Court of Queensland sanctioned the theft upon ‘the sage advice’ of Queen’s Counsel who said incorrectly that if it should be returned to Ross that Challenger bank would get it.

Who said the ladder of the law has no top and no bottom?

Having taken all his (remaining) assets the public trustee then set about taking away Ross’s liberty. Using deception which was later admitted in court, they took him to a highly secure facility at Tantula Rise, Alexandra Headland, RSL Care. Ross was locked up in a ward meant for people with advanced dementia.

In all this upset, Ross sought solace in friendship for that was his greatest gift – to reach out in friendship – he asked Bernie Neville for advice, Bernie acted to protect him from ‘the thieving bastards’. His other friends, Peter Gambel, Maggie, Rosslyn, Mitch helped him as best they could. They sought professional advice from Anne Berquier who gave it willingly. Of course he had other friends in Brisbane and elsewhere who tried to help.

Who knows, his project at AHIMSA house may have been a success, he had enough good people around him to overcome those who put money before solidarity, solidarity to a worker who wanted to see something good come from his labours.

We learnt from his travails, we learnt that You Can Not Trust the Public Trustee.

My condolences to his family and friends.

Vale comrade,
Ian Curr
5 Aug 2019

Ross Taylor (left) defending his building at 26 Horan Street West End, AHIMSA house in 2011.

3 thoughts on “The man who lost his hat

  1. Bridgette Pace says:

    Thank you Ian Curr for a beautifully written article. Such a sad and undeserved ending for a good man who’s life was manipulated and abused by so many bad ones. Condolences to his family and friends

  2. I also thank you Ian Curr. Ross was lucky to have good friends who stood up for him against those in positions of power. Their day will come.

  3. Brian Laver says:

    In this video, Laver talks about a meatworker who kept his family going by providing him with meat.

    Laver does not mention Ross by name.

    That meatworker who provided food for Laver’s family was Carl ‘Ross’ Taylor.

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