John PricePrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by David Brighton

The tombstone was erected by Officers and Warders of Penal Establishments in Victoria to commemorate John Price, Inspector General of Penal Establishments who died from injuries inflicted on him by a gang of convicts at Williamstown on the 26th March 1857. The tombstone also contains epitaphs to other Price family members. 

John Price (1808 – 1857), magistrate and penal administrator, was the only civilian to command the second convict settlement at Norfolk Island, being in charge from 6 August 1846 to 18 January 1853. Price returned to Hobart in January 1853 as the British government intended to abandon Norfolk Island. He was appointed inspector-general of prisons in Victoria in January 1854, to deal with the problem of crime arising from the gold rushes in that colony.

On 26 March 1857, John Price visited Williamstown to investigate complaints about rations by convicts from the hulks employed there on public works. While he was listening to some grievances,  a party of convicts gathered around him and missiles were thrown with one striking him heavily. As he turned away, he was knocked down and severely battered about the head and body. He died from his injuries the next day.

At the inquest fifteen convicts were committed for trial. They were tried in four groups, and seven were convicted and sentenced to death. Three were hanged on 28, three on 29, and one on 30 April 1857. Accounts of the trials leave the impression that some of the executed men may have been wrongly convicted.


Address:College Crescent, Melbourne General Cemetery, Carlton North, 3054
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -37.791811
Long: 144.961975
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People
Actual Event Start Date:26-March-1857
Actual Event End Date:27-March-1857


Front Inscription

In memory of John Price Esqr.

(Fourth son of the late) Sir Rose Price, Bart. of Trangwainton, Cornwall, England)

Who died on the 27th March 1857.

From the effects of injuries inflicted on him by a gang of convicts, at Williamstown, on the 26th March 1857, while in the execution of his duties as Inspector General of Penal Establishments

 Aged 48 years.


Back Inscription

This monument was erected by the Officers & Warders of Penal Establishments in Victoria.

As a tribute to the memory of one who neither swerved from the path of public duty, nNor failed to respond to the call of friendship.

Source: MA, ADB
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au