AG Price

Sir Archibald Grenfell Price

  • Honorary Member
  • John Lewis Gold Medal 1949
  • Redmond Barry Award 1973
  • Honorary Fellow of the American Geographical Society 1973

Sir Archibald Grenfell Price (1892-1977), geographer, historian and educationist, was born on 28 January 1892 in North Adelaide, second and only surviving son of South Australian-born parents Henry Archibald Price, banker and businessman, and his wife Elizabeth Jane, née Harris.

He was appointed by the South Australian government in 1936 to inquire into the State's library system, he wrote a report that led to the widening of public library services and he was a founding member (1940-1972) of the Libraries Board of South Australia. Chairman (1953-1971) of the advisory board of the Commonwealth Literary Fund, he anticipated in 1956 the implementation of the public lending rights scheme for authors. As chairman (1960-1971) of the council of the National Library of Australia, he had the honour in 1970 of showing the new library building to Queen Elizabeth II. In 1956 he had helped to found, and for some years held various offices in, the Australian Humanities Research Council.

Price's broad-ranging intellect, and his experience and interpretation of a wide variety of physical environments and their modifications by human endeavours around the world, led to the recognition of his multi-faceted contribution to Australian society. He received the John Lewis gold medal (1949) of the South Australian branch of the RGSA and the Redmond Barry award (1973) of the Library Association of Australia. Knighted in 1963 for his services to education, he was made an honorary fellow of the American Geographical Society in 1973. Recognition had its rewards, but appears not to have affected the modesty of a man who described himself as 'a good second-class brain'. Not surprisingly, Archie was variously described by contemporaries as 'an all-rounder of an uncommon kind', as 'a Renaissance man . . . at home in several fields of knowledge' and as one who 'possessed . . . kindly wisdom'.

Further information can be found at the Australian Dictionary of Biography