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Maurice, Price (1818–1894)

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

Price Maurice (1818-1894), by W. & A. H. Fry, c1890

Price Maurice (1818-1894), by W. & A. H. Fry, c1890

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 664

Price Maurice (1818-1894), pastoralist, was born at Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales. Well educated, he was offered a post in the East India Co. but declined. He migrated to South Australia, paying his passage in the Caleb Angas, and arrived at Port Adelaide on 9 August 1840. The province was then entering depression and he bought a horse to look around cautiously. In 1843 he took up an occupation licence on the River Gilbert and bought lambing ewes. As his flock multiplied he turned north and acquired the leases of Pekina and Oladdie, 671 sq. miles (1738 km²) near Tarcowie. In New South Wales he bought breeding cattle and overlanded them to Pekina, his head station. He also leased the runs of Warrow, Lake Hamilton and Bramfield, 943 sq. miles (2442 km²) on the Port Lincoln Peninsula. By 1865 he had 215,000 sheep and over 3500 bales of wool but within ten years the best parts of his leases were resumed for agricultural selection. In 1874 he took up the 5358 sq. miles (13,877 km²) of Mount Eba station, 270 miles (435 km) north of Port Augusta. The run was isolated and the rainfall very uncertain but despite high cost he sank 83 wells of which 36 yielded water. He also held an annual race meeting partly to attract shearers.

At Mount Barker on 1 January 1849 Maurice married Matilda Brown; they had four sons and a daughter. In 1854 his wife's sister Hannah (b.1844) was taken into the home and adopted. In 1862 Maurice and family toured Europe. In 1870 he bought the Castambul estate, 5300 acres (2145 ha) in the Adelaide Hills near Morialta, and stocked it with Angora goats from Turkey. His wife died in 1881 and Hannah looked after him. Overwork and anxiety broke his health and he returned to Britain, leaving his leases in the hands of an agent. For £18,000 Maurice bought Mauriceville, Eaton Gardens, West Brighton, which he left to Hannah with £20,000 in bonds of a Queensland bank and an annuity of £500 when he died aged 76 on 10 May 1894. Apart from his South Australian land and livestock valued at over £250,000, he left £80,000. His will was proved on 14 July by the High Court of the United Kingdom and sent to South Australia for resealing. In England his children contested the payment of dues to the colonial government before the estate was sold and proceeds divided, but pleaded in vain. His third son Richard Thelwall won repute as an explorer and his only daughter Laura Matilda married Baron de Montimart.

Select Bibliography

  • Pastoral Pioneers of South Australia, vol 1 (Adel, 1925)
  • 75 Law Times 415
  • Observer (Adelaide), 19 May 1894, 11 Apr 1896.

Citation details

'Maurice, Price (1818–1894)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/maurice-price-4176/text6707, published first in hardcopy 1974, accessed online 15 November 2018.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 5, (MUP), 1974

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© Copyright Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2006-2018

Price Maurice (1818-1894), by W. & A. H. Fry, c1890

Price Maurice (1818-1894), by W. & A. H. Fry, c1890

State Library of South Australia, SLSA: B 664