Taylors Lakes

Archibald Everett Taylor was the disowned (and less well-regarded) younger brother of Frederick Winslow Taylor, the inventor of the system variously known as Taylorism or Scientific Management. A life spent in his brother’s shadow had made Archibald competitive, but he lacked his brother’s gift for invention, and his own ‘inventions’ were almost without exception derivative of his brother’s work (Frederick invented the “time and motion” study; Archibald, three years later, invented the “space and duration” study).

And yet, both men were more alike than different – both were extreme rationalists who believed that science held all the answers, a position so extreme that it would probably have qualified Frederick as insane, had his ideas not been so profitable. For Archibald, who had no such protections, they most certainly did. His ongoing efforts to disprove his brother’s theories (and to thus prove his own) caused what his biographer, William Scoresby, referred to as “hallucinatory episodes” in which Taylor would disavow all his theories and instead embrace mysticism and superstition. From our modern perspective, it is hard to determine the truth of Scoresby’s claims – he was writing in 1912, and died three years later at ANZAC Cove – but it appears that the younger Taylor may have suffered from some form of dissociative personality disorder, with clear evidence of deleterious shadow projections and possibly even signs of multiple personality disorder.

One of Taylor’s most extreme actions was his attempt to test the time & motion and space & duration studies head to head in March 1903. Declaring that a perfect environment, free from all distractions and interruptions, would be required, he caused a large area of the northern downs of Keilor to be excavated, and commenced construction of his testing facility at the bottom of what resembled a large open cut mine. It is unknown what became of the tailings from this excavation, although they must have been considerable in volume. The most popular theory is that they were washed away by the catastrophic flood of the watercourse now known as Taylors Creek on June 23rd of that year, which also filled in the huge pit Taylor had dug, creating the bodies of water that gave the area its name before evaporating away into nothingness. Much like Taylor himself, of whom there were no confirmed sightings following the flood.

Suburbs near Taylors Lakes: