Randolph Bedford

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Randolph Bedford
Randolph Bedford - Queensland politician.jpg
Member of the Queensland Legislative Council
In office
12 October 1917 – 21 February 1918
In office
27 May 1918 – 23 March 1922
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Warrego
In office
13 October 1923 – 8 September 1937
Preceded by Harry Coyne
Succeeded by Himself
In office
4 December 1937 – 7 July 1941
Preceded by Himself
Succeeded by Harry O'Shea
Personal details
Born George Randolph Bedford
(1868-06-27)27 June 1868
Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia
Died 7 July 1941(1941-07-07) (aged 76)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Labor
Spouse(s) Mary Henrietta Arrowsmith (m. 1889; separated 1912), Ada Billings (partner 1915–41)
Occupation Autobiographer, hospital owner, journalist

Randolph Bedford (born George Randolph Bedford[1] 27 June[1] 1868 – 7 July 1941) was an Australian poet, novelist, short story writer and Queensland state politician.

Early life[edit]

Bedford was born in Camperdown, Sydney, the son of Alfred Bedford, who migrated from Yorkshire, England in 1859 and obtained work as a house painter.

He was educated at the Newtown state school. At the age of 14, he worked with a Sydney solicitors firm as an office-boy.[1] At 16 years of age he worked in the western district of New South Wales, shooting rabbits. He carried copies of Carlyle's French Revolution, Shakespeare and the Bible. He worked for a year as a clerk in Hay and joined up with a repertory company run by Edmund Duggan, in Wagga Wagga .[1]

Literary career[edit]

Bedford had a short story accepted by The Bulletin in 1886, the first of many contributions. In 1888 he worked for a time on the Argus (Broken Hill, NSW), and in 1889 on The Age, Melbourne for about two years. Freelancing followed, verse, short stories and sketches, written while travelling in Australia searching for payable mining fields. From 1901 to 1904 Bedford was in Europe and wrote a series of travel sketches. In 1916 these were collected and published under the title of Explorations in Civilization. His first novel, True Eyes and the Whirlwind, appeared in London in 1903, and his Snare of Strength was published two years later. Three short novels appeared afterwards in the Bookstall series, Billy Pagan, Mining Engineer (1911), The Silver Star (1917) and Aladdin and the Boss Cockie (1919), the latter also adapted into a play in four acts. He had also made a collection of his Bulletin verse in 1904, however the unbound sheets were all burned during a fire at the printers, except about six copies which were bound without title-page and apparently given to friends. A few years before his death, Bedford stated that he did not regret the fire as some of the verses included "could only be excused on account of his extreme youth at the time of writing". He was then preparing a selection of his verse for the press which, however, was not published. Other short stories included: Fourteen Fathoms by Quetta Rock and The Language of Animals.

With Australian authors Henry Lawson and Victor Daley et al., he was a member of the elite Dawn and Dusk Club.

Political career[edit]

In 1917 Bedford entered the Queensland Legislative Council,[2] on a platform to secure its abolition (which occurred in 1922). In 1923 he was elected as Labor candidate to the Legislative Assembly for Warrego, a seat which he held until his resignation in 1937 to contest the Division of Maranoa in the Australian House of Representatives.[2] Bedford was defeated, but was again elected to his old seat in the Legislative Assembly.[2] He had an impatient streak and was not elected to cabinet.[2] He was an ardent Protectionist, and decried the way the wealth of Australia was exported to pay for shoddy goods which could have been produced locally.[3]

Bedford died in 1941 and was cremated at Mount Thompson crematorium.[4]



  • True Eyes and the Whirlwind (1903)
  • The Snare of Strength (1905)
  • Sops of Wine (1909)
  • Billy Pagan Mining Engineer (1911)
  • The Mates of Torres (1911)
  • The Lady of the Pickup (1911)
  • The Silver Star (1917)
  • Aladdin and the Boss Cockie (1919)


  • Explorations in Civilization (1914)


  • Naught to Thirty-Three (1944)


Serle, Percival (1949). "Bedford, Randolph". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Sydney: Angus and Robertson. 

Additional sources listed by the Dictionary of Australian Biography:

The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, 8 July 1941; The Bulletin, 16 July 1941; The Worker, Brisbane, 8 July 1941; E. Morris Miller, Australian Literature; Nettie Palmer, Modern Australian Literature; See also, Randolph Bedford, Naught to Thirty-three.
  1. ^ a b c d Rodney G. Boland (1979). "Bedford, George Randolph (1868–1941)". Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7. Melbourne University Press. pp. 241–242. Retrieved 24 August 2007. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Former Members". Parliament of Queensland. 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  3. ^ "Gold and Poverty ... Striking article by Randolph Bedford". Murray Pioneer and Australian River Record. Renmark, SA: National Library of Australia. 11 September 1931. p. 5. Retrieved 3 December 2014. 
  4. ^ "Family Notices". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: National Library of Australia. 9 July 1941. p. 12. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 

Additional sources listed by the Australian Dictionary of Biography:

G. Blainey, Mines in the Spinifex (Syd, 1960); C. Lack (ed), Three Decades of Queensland Political History, 1929–1960 (Brisb, 1962); N. Lindsay, Bohemians of the Bulletin (Syd, 1965); L. A. Lindsay, Comedy of Life (Syd, 1967); R. Lindsay, Model Wife (Syd, 1967); Overland, no 26, 1963; Bulletin, 12 February 1894, 4 January 1912; Australasian (Melbourne), 30 October 1920; Sydney Morning Herald, 4 June 1924, 26 October 1929, 18 November 1933, 9 Feb 28 July 1934, 6 Feb 30, 31 May 1935; Bedford papers (State Library of Queensland); Alfred Deakin papers (National Library of Australia); A1 and A3 series lists (National Archives of Australia).
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Harry Coyne
Member for Warrego
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member for Warrego
Succeeded by
Harry O'Shea