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Bedford, Randolph George

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Birth Date: 27 June 1868 (Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia)

Death Date: 7 July 1941 (Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

Parents: William Bedford and Elizabeth (nee Wilcox)

Family: (2) Ada Billings (partner), 1 daughter, (1) Mary Henrietta Arrowsmith on 14 February 1889, 3 sons, 2 daughters

Education: Five Dock Public School, New South Wales; Newtown Public School, New South Wales

Religion: Church of England


Mining speculator; Prose writer and journalist; Launched the 'Clarion', a mining and literary journal, 1896; Owned 'Toora and Welshpool Pioneer', a small Gippsland newspaper, 1892; Reporter: 'Argus' (Broken Hill), 'Adelaide Advertiser', 'Melbourne Herald', 'Age', and 'Bulletin', 1888; Various clerical jobs, New South Wales; Legal Clerk, firm of solicitors, New South Wales

Parliamentary Representation:

House Party Electorate From To Elected/Departure Reason
Council NONE Legislative Council 12 Oct 1917 21 Feb 1918
Council NONE Legislative Council 27 May 1918 23 Mar 1922 Council abolished
Assembly ALP Warrego 13 Oct 1923 8 Sep 1937 By-election
Assembly ALP Warrego 4 Dec 1937 7 Jul 1941 Died in office

Additional Information

Notes: At the age of 16, Mr Bedford 'humped his swag across the western plains of New South Wales', earning 6d. a rabbit skull, carrying copies of Carlyle's French Revolution, Shakespeare and the Bible. Mr Bedford worked as a freelance journalist and in 1896 in Melbourne he launched his mining and literary journal, the Clarian. Mr Bedford unsuccessfully stood as the Liberal candidate for the Victorian Legislative Assembly seats of Eastern Suburbs in 1897 (as an Independent Labor), West Bourke in 1900, and Bourke in 1906. Mr Bedford took his wife and family to England and Italy during the period 1901 to 1904. They then returned to Australia. Mr Bedford wrote a play White Australia, or the Empty North, and it was staged in Melbourne in 1909. He contributed articles during the period 1910 to 1912 to the Lone Hand on mining, shipping and the potential of the Mount Kosciusko area. He also wrote short stories for the Bulletin and he wrote another novel. By 1912, Mr Bedford and his wife had separated and in about 1915 he settled in Brisbane with Ada Billings. He resigned as the member for Warrego on 8 Sep 1937 to contest the federal seat of Maranoa. After his defeat at that election, he nominated as a candidate for the by-election for his old seat of Warrego and he was returned unopposed. In 1929 Mr Bedford was attacked by the government about his dealings in shares of Mt Isa Mines Ltd and its subsidiary. Other opposition members were also attacked, although Mr Bedford was the principal target. They made spirited refutation and rebuttal of the allegations. Mr Bedford obtained a withdrawal over an allegation that he gave away shares as a bribe for the construction of the railway. Mr Bedford was a formidable debater but he was impatient with parliamentary formalities and rebellious against party discipline so he was never elected to cabinet. In a speech Mr Bedford made on 6 Nov 1940 relating to liquor laws, he spoke against his own government on the policy by saying that the laws were against the interests of ordinary people. This attracted a verbal lashing in the chamber by the Premier, who stated that Mr Bedford did not speak on behalf of the government (his own party) nor on policy

Publications: Bedford, RG, Fourteen Fathoms by Quetta Rock, Bedford, RG, Aladdin and the Boss Cockie, 1919, Bedford, RG, The Silver Star, 1917, Bedford, RG, Billy Pagan, Mining Engineer, 1911, Australasian Timberman and Ironmaster, a trade journal periodically produced by Mr Bedford, Bedford, RG, Explorations in Civilization, 1914, Bedford, RG, The Snare of Strength, 1905, Bedford, RG, True Eyes and the Whirlwind, London, 1903, Bedford's autobiography, Naught to Thirty-Three, was published posthumously in 1944

Sources: Image courtesy of John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Neg:63935; The Courier-Mail, 'Randolph Bedford, legend of letters and politics, dead', 8 Jul 1941; Lindsay, N. Bohemians of the Bulletin, 1965 (Angus and Robertson, Sydney); Lack, Clem, Three Decades of Queensland Political History, 1929-1960 (Brisbane: Government Printer, 1962); Nairn, B and Serle, G, Australian Dictionary of Biography, V.7: 1891-1939, A-Ch, pp.241-242 (Melbourne University Press: Vic); Boland, Rodney G, 'Bedford, George Randolph (1868–1941)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University. http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bedford-george-randolph-5181

[Last Modified: Tuesday, 13 June 2017]