Dictionary of Welsh Biography

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PRICE , THOMAS ( TOM ) ; 1852 - 1909 ), Prime Minister of South Australia ;

b. at Maelor View , Brymbo , near Wrexham, Denbs. , 19 Jan. 1852 , s. of John and Jane Price . A year later they moved to the Everton district of Liverpool . The parents became members of the Welsh Wesleyan church at Burrough's Gardens before moving to a new chapel in Boundary Street . There the child Tom received his religious instruction and throughout his lifetime he acknowledged his indebtedness to that church and especially to the Sunday school where he became teacher and superintendent . After school-days he became, like his father, a stonemason and when he had completed his apprenticeship, undertook a share in his fathers business. He m., 14 Apr. 1881 , Anne Elizabeth , dau. of Edward Lloyd and a cousin of Sir Alfred T. Davies (see above). Struck by ill-health, Tom Price and his wife, decided to emigrate to Australia with their child and landed at Adelaide in May 1883 .

In Australia , Tom Price was first employed d ressing stones for the Parliament Buildings where he himself, ten years after landing in the country, became a member of Parliament under the banner of the Labour Party . He became secretary of the Masons and Bricklayers Society and was, in time, chosen as the leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party . In 1905 he was elected Prime Minister , the first Labour Premier in South Australia and he maintained his position until his death. He became a fluent platform speaker and in this respect, as well as in appearance, he was often likened to Lloyd George (see above) . He was an ardent Welshman and never despised his nationality. A man of his time he was a total abstainer . Even when he was Prime Minister he did not conceal the fact that he had, throughout his lifetime, been a member of a temperance society . He will not be counted among the greatest of statesmen but in his day he fulfilled many worthy projects for the good of his community. He maintained contact with the Wesleyan church as a local preacher and he brought up his seven children in the same religious traditions. He d. 31 May 1909 and was buried in a cemetery at Adelaide .


  • The Cententary history of South Australia ;
  • Percival Serle , Dictionary of Australian Biography (1949) ;
  • Australian Christian Commonwealth , 4 June 1909 , 8-9;
  • T. H. Smeaton , From Stone Cutter to Premier & Minister of Education the story of the life of Tom Price, a Welsh boy who became an Australian Statesman (Adelaide, 1924) (n.d.);
  • Yr Eurgrawn Wesleyaidd (Dolgellau) 169 (1977) , 154-9.


Reverend Eric Edwards, Wrexham

Corrections and additions:

PRICE , THOMAS ( 1852 - 1909 ), Australian politician ;

b. at Brymbo, Denbs. , 19 Jan. 1852 , son of John and Jane Price . As a boy, he went to Liverpool , where he was for many years a stone-mason . He m. ( 1881 ) Anne Elizabeth , daughter of Edward Lloyd , a timber-merchant ; they had seven children. In 1883 ill-health drove him to Adelaide , South Australia , where in 1891 he became secretary of his trade union . In 1893 he became a labour member of the South Australia House of Assembly ; in 1900 , secretary of his party, and in 1901 its leader . He became prime minister of South Australia in the Liberal and Labour coalition government of 1905 ; he d. in office, 31 May 1909 . He was a genial and popular man, and an effective public orator .


  • Oxford Dictionary of National Biography , Second Supplement .


Emeritus Professor Robert Thomas Jenkins, C.B.E., D.Litt., Ll.D., F.S.A., (1881-1969), Bangor

Published date: 2001