Open main menu

Price, John, was the fourth son of Sir Rose Price, first baronet, by Elizabeth his wife, daughter of Charles Lambart and sister of Frances, wife of the second Earl Talbot. He was born on Oct. 20th, 1808, and married on June 12th, 1838, Mary, eldest daughter of Major Franklin, of 1st Royal Cavalry. He went to Van Diemen's Land in 1835, and employed himself in agricultural pursuits. Subsequently he joined the Government service, and showed great daring in the detection and capture of bushrangers. In 1838 he was appointed police magistrate at Hobart Town, and ten years later succeeded Captain Maconochie as Chief Superintendent of the convict settlement at Norfolk Island. Captain Maconochie had relaxed discipline and preached the gospel of kindness. This was totally foreign to Mr. Price's idea of convict management, and he gained a reputation for severity which always followed him. The chaplains who denounced him as cruel he dismissed, and gave the same short shrift to the officials who would have preferred milder measures. In 1853 he was appointed Chief Inspector of Convict Establishments in Victoria, and continued to show himself an inflexible disciplinarian. On March 26th, 1857, he was pelted with stones and masses of rock by eighty-two of the convicts employed on the jetty at Williamstown, near Melbourne, and died the next day from the injuries he received. Several of the ringleaders in the attack were executed.