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Grice, Sir John (1850–1935)

Sir John Grice, a notable figure for a great many years in the financial and commercial life of Melbourne, died late last night at his residence, Williams road, South Yarra. In spite of his many business interests, he found time to give valuable services to the University of Melbourne, and to the Melbourne Hospital. He was aged 84 years. He had been in falling health for some time, and for a week he had been seriously ill.

Sir John Grice was born on October 6, 1850, and after having attended Melbourne Grammar School he went to Wesley College, having been one of the first students enrolled by Dr. Corrigan, the first head master. He won a special prize for having been the first boy from the college to matriculate with credit at the University of Melbourne. More than 60 years later Sir John Grice was elected president of the Old Wesley Collegians, and he marked his year of office by establishing the Grice scholarship for the sons of men who fell in the war.

At the University of Melbourne Sir John Grice graduated bachelor of arts and bachelor of laws. He founded the University Boat Club, and rowed in the first inter-university boat race. He was elected to the University Council in 1888, and was appointed vice-chancellor in 1918. His knowledge of finance was invaluable at the council table.

When he left the University in 1872, Sir John Grice was called to the Bar, but he entered the firm of Grice, Sumner, general merchants, of which his father, the late Mr. Richard Grice, was a member.

Sir John Grice became associated with the management of the Melbourne Hospital when he was elected to the committee in 1880. From 1905 until 1918 he was president of the Hospital, and under his administration great advances were made.

As chairman of directors of the Metropolitan Gas Co., Sir John Grice conducted many delicate industrial negotiations, exercising his ability for the benefit of consumers as well as of shareholder. He always commanded the respect of the employees and he settled many serious disputes.

Some of Sir John Grice's greatest work was done as chairman of directors of the National Bank of Australasia Limited a position which he occupied for 26 years. He was a director of the bank for 45 years. He resigned the chairmanship on May 20 1932. Among other companies of which Sir John Grice was chairman of directors were the Trustees Executors and Agency Co, the Dunlop Rubber Co, and the Emu Bay Railway Co. He was a director of several other companies.

During the Great War Sir John Grice did notable work as the first honorary treasurer of the Victorian branch of the Australian Red Cross Society. Early in 1917 he was created Knight Bachelor.

Sir John Grice married in 1878 Mary Anne daughter of the late Mr David Power. She died several years ago. Their eldest son Captain George Grice (Imperial Yeomanry) was killed in the South African War at Tweefontein on Christmas Day, 1901. Another son Major Thomas Gerald Grice (Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry) was killed in France in June 1916. Two sons—Messrs Hugh and John William Grice survive.

The funeral will take place on Friday.

Original publication

Additional Resources

Citation details

'Grice, Sir John (1850–1935)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/grice-sir-john-6483/text26738, accessed 24 November 2017.

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