"Never was a continent naturally so clean, and made so dirty, as Australia. There was not an animal pest, scarcely a vegetable pest; fools and the old world supplied them all." ~ Randolph Bedford
Randolph Bedford was an Australian writer working during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. His personal papers are held in the John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Australia.
The collection (OM79-72, Randolph Bedford Papers), consists of around 22 boxes of Manuscripts, Poems, Articles, Reviews, Sketches, Caricatures, Photographs, Letters and Documents.
A Bibliography of the Bedford Collection was compiled by researchers Ross Smith and Cheryl Frost. It is available online through Open Journals. Many of the articles listed can be searched in the relevant collections archived on Trove, the Australian National Library's online archive.
Contemporary standards now call into question, the attitudes and language of those writing for the popular press during earlier times, but amid the controversial, there are also delights and insights to be discovered along the way.
Members of the Ishmael Club, c 1900, gelatin silver photograph, State Library Victoria
Left to right, back row to front row: Percy Lindsay, Will Dyson, Norman Lindsay, Lionel Lindsay, Ray Parkinson; Godfrey Elkington, John Elkington, Randolph Bedford, Edward Dyson; John Tremerne, 'Joss', Herman Kühr.
Founded in the late 1890s by writer and publisher Randolph Bedford and the Lindsay and Dyson brothers, the Ishmael Club brought together a group of artists and writers who proudly saw themselves as outsiders. Naming themselves after the outcast son of Abraham, the Ishmael members gathered together to write and perform poems, songs, debates and plays, and to mock the establishment. They began each meeting with rituals around Joss, an idol inspired by Richard Marsh’s popular supernatural novel The Joss: a reversion (1900) and created by Norman Lindsay.