PRICE, Thomas Caradoc Rose (1842-1911)


PRICE, Thomas Caradoc Rose (1842-1911)
generally known as Colonel Tom Price
founder of the mounted rifles movement
was born at Hobart on 21 October 1842. His father, John Price (1808-1857), the fourth son of Sir Rose Price, baronet, went to Tasmania in 1835. In 1838 he was appointed police magistrate at Hobart, and in 1848 became chief superintendent of convicts at Norfolk Island, where his severity gave him an evil reputation among the prisoners. He became chief inspector of convict establishments in Victoria in 1853, and on 26 March 1857 was stoned by convicts employed at Williamstown near Melbourne and died next day. He had married a niece of Sir John Franklin (q.v.) and his son, after some preliminary education at Hobart, went to Scotch College, Melbourne, in 1854. Going on to a military college in England he entered the British army in 1861 and service in India; in 1872 he was given the thanks of the government for his "untiring energy and resource" during the cyclone of 2 May 1872. Retiring from the army in 1883 Price returned to Australia and in 1885, having been given much discretion by Sargood (q.v.), then minister for defence, re-organized the Victorian military forces. He originated the mounted rifles, afterwards called the light horse, and was largely responsible for the spread of the rifle club movement. Early in 1900 he went to South Africa in command of the second Victorian contingent and was engaged in much front line service. After his return he was for a short period in command of the Victorian forces, and in July 1902 took command in Queensland. He retired on 1 August 1904 and lived for the remainder of his life at Warrnambool, Victoria. His health had been impaired by his services in India and South Africa, and he died at Warrnambool on 3 July 1911. He married (1) Mary, daughter of Thomas Baillie and (2) Emeline Shadforth, daughter of the Hon. R. D. Reid, who survived him with three sons and a daughter by the first marriage. He was created C.B. in 1900.
Price was an enthusiastic, capable and outspoken soldier. He was well-liked by his men and had many friends but he incurred much odium during the maritime strike in Melbourne in 1890 when the military were called out, for telling his men that if they were commanded to fire it would be their duty to do so, and in that case they should "fire low and lay them out". Price strenuously defended this on the ground that if the troops fired low they would be far less likely to hit vital spots.
The Argus, Melbourne, 4 and 6 July 1911; The Age, 4 July 1911; The Bulletin, 13 July 1911; History of Scotch College; Burke's Peerage, etc., 1911, pp. 1529 and 2339; Who's Who, 1911; P. Mennell, The Dictionary of Australasian Biography.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

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  • Thomas Price (soldier) — Thomas Caradoc Rose Price, CB, (21 October 1842 – 3 July 1911), often known as Colonel Tom Price, was an Australian soldier, acting commandant of the Commonwealth Military Forces in Victoria in 1902.Early lifePrice was born in Hobart the fourth… …   Wikipedia


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