John Longville Price, a solicitor, was the son of pioneer Simeon Price and was an influential Torquay community member.

John Longville Price was a decedent of English aristocracy. His mother Anne Price (nee Shepherd) was a daughter of the old Suckling family of Kent and Norfolk of which Lord Nelson was a member. The name of Longville (Longueville) dates back to the old Norman family.

Simeon Price (1811-1904)
Simeon Price (1811-1904)

Simeon Longville Price brought his wife Ann and their two sons and one daughter to Melbourne arriving 28 February, 1844. Not long after arriving in Melbourne the family proceeded to Geelong. Simeon was one of the first assessors of the South Barwon Council.[1]

John, who was born in Worcester, England on 24 October 1838 received his education from the private tuition of Reverend Scales. He articled with Mr. Harwood of the legal firm of Harwood and Pincott, Geelong. On completion of his service he was admitted to the Bar as Barrister and Solicitor, setting up his own practice in the building he purchased at the corner of Yarra and Little Malop streets.

John L Price (1838-1908)
John L Price (1838-1908)

In addition to his legal profession, Colonel Price was keenly interested in the military. He obtained his Commission for the Royal Victorian Artillery and continued in the service reaching the rank of Colonel. On reaching this rank he was appointed as Commanding Officer for the entire Western District forces, including those in Portland, Warrnambool, Drysdale, Queenscliff and Geelong. He was an expert rifle shot, winning many trophies. Colonel Price was decorated with “Victorian Decoration” which is the Volunteer Officers’ Decoration, with the post-nominal letters ‘VD’. It was an award for long and meritorious service by officers of the United Kingdom’s Volunteer Force.

John Longville Price married Elizabeth Osborne Shepherd on 9 January 1868 at the Congregational Church on Ryrie Street, Geelong. Elizabeth’s family were from Devonshire, England, and there were five children of the union consisting of one son and four daughters – John Longville, Elsie Myra Longville, Lizzie Longville, Ethelwyn Longville and Daisy Ida. The son John Longville Price jnr., was educated at Geelong Grammar and subsequently studied for the legal profession but never entered the practice.

Colonel Price also found time for Public Service. He served as Councillor and later Alderman in

c. Geelong Heritage Centre

the Geelong City Council for many ears and occupied the Mayoral Chair in 1883. Whilst a member of the City Council, Col Price was the initiator of the beautification of Eastern Beach and one of its the strongest advocates for improvement.

His other passions were astronomy and music, with his favourite instrument being the violin.

He was also a foundation member of the Royal Society of St. George and was second President of the Geelong branch. Listeners were always impressed by his speeches and one was reproduced on white satin and sent to King Edward which was acknowledged by the Palace.

Bromsgrove, Torquay

John’s brother, Thomas Longville Price (law clerk who also owned property at Barwon Heads) bought land at the first Puebla (Torquay) township sales in 1886 – Lots 3 and 4 in Charles Lane. Two years later John bought the land on the corner of Charles Lane and Price Street, then he purchased the allotment next door from W.P. Carr. Another lot was purchased in 1892 along The Esplanade. He built his holiday home “Bromsgrove” which still stands today at 2 Charles Lane, Torquay.

After a few years the allotments in the township had been purchased and houses were being built. The community had needs to accommodate this growth, but most of all the issue was of access. One of the first land buyers was Harry Rudd, he called for a meeting of those interested in the needs of the Spring Creek/Puebla residents. The meeting was held in the office of John L Price, who became the first President of the new association, then called ‘Spring Creek Progress Association’. For many years Colonel Price was a member and President of the Torquay Improvement Association (TIA). Kenyon (1937) credits Colonel Price with the naming of the town, folklore has James Follett as responsible for suggesting the name. The TIA minutes of the time only indicate Colonel Price was in the chair when a suggestion of a name change arose and that a decision was made by the meeting to request both Barrabool and South Barwon Councils to support the change in name.

In both Torquay and Geelong there are streets named in his honour.

John Longville Price died at his residence “Longville House”, Eastern Beach in 1908 and his wife Elizabeth in 1915.


[1] Pescott, J (1985) South Barwon 1857-1985
Kenyon, Alfred (1937) The story of Australia: its discoverers and founders
Geelong Advertiser 8/6/1866