Carolyn and Ted Price earlier this year.
Carolyn and Ted Price earlier this year.

Ted Price's big dream for the city he loved

TED Price had almost finished a 30km bike ride when he appeared to suffer a massive, fatal heart attack on Thursday.

The car following him saw the bike wobble, then Ted went down hard, his skinned knuckles showing he didn't try to protect himself and probably didn't feel a thing.

At 74, Ted was retired, fit and with no signs of ill-health.

"That's why it was such a shock to all of us," said his son, Adrian Price.

"He was strong. He'd mow a big yard and then run around on the tractor.

"He had ants in his pants."

Ted Price grew up in the town he loved, the son of a Frenchville school teacher and a larrikin bookmaker who also ran the Rockhampton speedway for many years.

He was married on Caulfield Cup Day in Sydney, but his father was busy at the track back in Rocky and couldn't make the wedding.

Ted first spotted Carolyn Dunlop at school in Frenchville. They were 11-years-old.

Carolyn says he was "reasonable good looking - a bit like Elvis" - and they became boyfriend and girlfriend.

"His mother chose me to be his partner at a fancy dress ball, so she couldn't ever complain about her daughter-in-law," Carolyn said.

 

Ted Price and Carolyn Dunlop at the Fancy Dress Ball that started their relationship as 11-year-olds.
Ted Price and Carolyn Dunlop at the Fancy Dress Ball that started their relationship as 11-year-olds.

"We got along well together, but we had a break and at 19 we started all over again."

The couple married two years later in 1965, during five years living in Sydney, and it was there Ted became involved in real estate.

He topped the New South Wales real estate exam and teamed with a builder who said "I build them, you sell them".

 

Ted and Carolyn Price in the early years.
Ted and Carolyn Price in the early years.

But Ted missed Rocky.

They returned home and he began a lifetime of working towards his dream to see Rockhampton become self-sustaining without relying on the mining industry.

And his dream knew no bounds. He wanted to see Rockhampton grow to be bigger than Brisbane.

"He had plans drawn up years ago for a big hospital between here and Yeppoon," Adrian said.

"It was a pipe dream but he loved this area so much. His dreams were huge.

"He wanted to see a third bridge... aircraft maintenance.

"And he loved the idea of a levee bank.

"He said 'If they can keep the North Sea out of Holland, why couldn't they keep the Fitzroy out of Rockhampton?'.

"Anything that was good for Rocky he wanted.

"I tried to convince him to run for mayor, but he said 'I'd sack every bastard'."

Ted's one foray into politics was an unsuccessful bid to win the seat of Capricornia for the National Party in 1986.

After returning from Sydney, Ted teamed up with builder Alan Goltz (now deceased) and they began building affordable housing.

Adrian and his sister, Cordelia, both worked with their father in those days.

Adrian as an apprentice and Cordelia in the office, something she quickly realised wasn't for her and instead she followed her grandmother's footsteps into teaching.

"He was very fair," she said.

"If you made a mistake you knew about it, but as long as you learned from it, it was ok.

"If mum said 'I'm telling your father' you knew you were in for it, but usually he was more disappointed than mad."

 

 

Ted and Carolyn Price with their grandchildren Joe Ramm, Audrey Price, Scarlett Price, Millie Price, Annie Ramm and Ivy Price.
Ted and Carolyn Price with their grandchildren Joe Ramm, Audrey Price, Scarlett Price, Millie Price, Annie Ramm and Ivy Price.

It was during the early days of Price Constructions that Ted began helping a lot of people into their first home.

The high-set Hardipank houses built throughout Oasis Gardens, Gracemere and Richardson Rd were the result.

"When you had the money, you could build in underneath and have twice the house," Adrian said.

"It's amazing how people have rung up and said dad built their first house... for a $500 deposit.

Adrian worked with his father for 10 years, very closely, every day.

Ted was the land developer and Adrian built the homes.

"It had its moments but he was a great boss and let me run the show," Adrian said.

"He was pretty much an open book, very hands-on and he knew you had to take risks."

But in 2015, the risks began to weigh heavily.

In August, cash flow problems were reported in the media, though Adrian and Ted were confident they'd make it through the tough times.

The following month it was revealed the company had its licence suspended for failure to satisfy financial requirements and to comply with an audit.

Ted confirmed he had closed his business in "a sign of the times" and retired.

Then every month he would meet with a group of "old builders", engineers and surveyors for breakfast.

The idea was to make sure the council knew what business minds in Rockhampton were thinking.

"If they worked together, they could keep prices competitive and keep the southern builders out," Adrian said.

"Dad believed that if everyone succeeded, then Rocky succeeded."

The Price family is thankful Ted died doing what he enjoyed and didn't suffer.

Though according to Carolyn, he didn't love riding his bike. "He did it so he wouldn't have a heart attack."

Vale Ted Price, you will be sadly missed by many.



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