Thomas Price

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For other people named Thomas Price, see Thomas Price (disambiguation).
Thomas Price
Thomas Price (Australian politician).jpg
24th Premier of South Australia
Elections: 1902, 1905, 1906
In office
26 July 1905 – 5 June 1909
Monarch Edward VII
George V
Governor Sir George Le Hunte
Sir Day Bosanquet
Preceded by Richard Butler
Succeeded by Archibald Peake
Personal details
Born (1852-01-19)January 19, 1852
Brymbo, Denbighshire, Wales, UK
Died May 31, 1909(1909-05-31) (aged 57)
Mount Lofty, South Australia, Australia
Political party United Labor Party

Thomas Price (19 January 1852 – 31 May 1909) was a stonecutter, teacher, lay preacher, businessman, stonemason, clerk-of-works, union secretary, union president and politician. He served as Labor's first Premier of South Australia from 1905 to 1909, and was the first leader of a stable Labor government in Australia.

He was born in Brymbo, Denbighshire, Wales, and emigrated to Australia with his family in 1883. There he quickly became involved in trade union activity, and was elected to the South Australian House of Assembly for Sturt in April 1893,[1] becoming Labor leader in 1899.

Price came to power at the 1905 election in a minority government, the Price-Peake administration, after increasing his party's representation from five to 15 in the 42-member lower house. With the support of eight liberals headed by Archibald Peake, Price forced conservative Premier Richard Butler to resign. Price retained the premiership at the 1906 double dissolution election with an additional five Labor seats in the House of Assembly, just two short of a parliamentary majority in their own right. Price obtained the double dissolution on the issue of reform to the Legislative Council. The council continued to be intransigent to reform, however Price accepted the council's compromise proposal of a £17 householder franchise. Labor's left wing criticized him for this compromise.

He introduced many social reforms including free state secondary schools, the formation of wages boards and a minimum wage, establishing the Municipal Tramways Trust through nationalisation, the costly administration of the Northern Territory was surrendered to the Federal government, and reform (though limited) of the upper house.[2] The government returned to successive budget surpluses and reduced the accumulated public debt.[3]

He died of phthisis (tuberculosis) and diabetes at Mount Lofty on 31 May 1909. He was given a state funeral and buried at Mitcham Cemetery.


An island of the Whidby Group off the south-west coast of Eyre Peninsula had been left unnamed after Matthew Flinders' early explorations. It was named Price Island by the Government of South Australia in Thomas Price's honour after his passing. A guiding light for mariners was also erected on the island.[4]


Tom Price married Anne Elizabeth Lloyd in Liverpool on 14 April 1881. Their children included

  • John Lloyd Price (14 February 1882 – 23 April 1941) MHA for Port Adelaide 1915–1925 and MHR.
  • Walter Davies Price MC (24 March 1886 – 29 July 1944) distinguished soldier and public servant.


  1. ^ "Statistical Record of the Legislature 1836 to 2009" (PDF). Parliament of South Australia. 
  2. ^ Thomas Price: ADB
  3. ^ Archibald Peake: ADB
  4. ^ "Islands of the West Coast." The Register, South Australia (1925-09-02). Retrieved 2014-02-16.


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Richard Butler
Premier of South Australia
Succeeded by
Archibald Peake
Party political offices
Preceded by
Lee Batchelor
Leader of the Australian Labor Party
(SA division)

Succeeded by
John Verran