History of West Australia/Edward Graham Price


THOUGH youth as the spring-time of life is pregnant with fertilising germs, there are few who take the necessary precautions for their protracted expansion. A period of action, many make it a stage of curious inaction. Some fritter away its valuable and all-too-short moments in continual deliberation as to the adoption of a career on the morrow. The morrow comes and goes, and so does each deliberation, till youth departs for ever.

Edward Graham Price HOFWA.jpg
Photo by
Hermes & Hall.

But there are great exceptions to these unsettled, frivolous souls, and Western Australia claims one at least—Mr. E. G Price. When we state that he is still but twenty-four years of age, and when we show the various records of his career, perhaps the reader will judge if that is so. Mr. Price was born in Kent in 1872, and educated at a college in London. His studies were continued uninterruptedly up to the age of seventeen, when he was seized with a yearning desire to go abroad. Everything in the metropolis seemed cramped and pressed. Though wide it was narrow; no vista, no field for youthful enterprise, opened up in the fond imaginations of a sanguine mind. He embarked for Western Australia alone, and seventeen. On his arrival in Perth he looked about him, and found an opening in a mining manager's office. The discovery of the Yilgarn Goldfields, which aroused a slumbering community to a sense of active importance, was being noised abroad at the time he assumed his first role. Two years' experience in the office afforded a valuable insight into the secret and successful operations of mining. Nor was he slow to take advantage of such desirable information. He joined the firm of Messrs. Holman, Haines, and Co. as accountant. For two further years he contributed to the success of his employers by his financial abilities.

In 1894 the Hampton Lands Railway Syndicate confirmed his capability by appointing him accountant. Shortly afterwards the company sold out to the Hampton Plains Estate, with the result that the Swan Syndicate was formed in London, and Mr. Price was appointed manager. The capital was originally declared at £30,000, but was subsequently increased to £51,000. Mr. La Page, M.I.C.E., is chairman of directors, and Mr. Price holds his power of attorney in Western Australia. The duties of the new position were severe and responsible. Though he was possessed of a store of energy, there was a continual drain upon it by the magnitude of the work, which threatened at times to completely exhaust his resources. Still he laboured on in his earnest desire for the success of the syndicate. Its members appreciated his sincerity, and endorsed their former opinion of his worth by allowing him great liberty of action. He acquired various properties, which, chosen with care, are exceedingly remunerative to the shareholders. He purchased town lots in Coolgardie, which have proved to be valuable investments, as prices have risen to many times the sum paid. At his initiation, many flotations have engaged the attention of the syndicate. The Hampton Gold Fields (Limited) was floated in London, with a capital of £100,000; the Hannan's Star Gold Mines, with a capital of £80,000; the Brown Hill Extended with a capital of £65,000; and the Darlot Exploration Company, with a capital of £275,000. Any one who knows by experience the amount of trouble and labour involved in flotations will readily appreciate these results. Mr. Price acts as attorney for all these different companies. His ready and impartial attention to their several interests finds honourable mention in their reports. He did not abide content with the cold measure of justice, which is the legal virtue of subordinate labour.

Perhaps the most notable feat in the history of the Swan Syndicate was the promotion of the Coolgardie Water Works Co., with a capital of £250,000. Mr. Price, who ably advocated its formation, must be congratulated. Not only to the mines will its results be beneficial, but to the growing town of Coolgardie as well. Every detail of this scheme was carefully studied by him, and reported on accordingly. He was delighted with its simplicity and utility. Besides being agents and attorneys for all these flotations, the Swan Syndicate holds similar powers for Block 42, Hampton Plains (Limited), and the Hampton Trust (Limited). Mr. Price is attorney and legal manager for Block 32, Hampton Plains (Limited). Perhaps the excellent dividend of 50 per cent., which Mr. Price's services have reaped for the shareholders in the last half-year, will bespeak his merits more forcibly than an array of words.