# 31356


Headstone in the Geelong Eastern Cemetery of local hotelier, James Bedford. Circa 1865.

$75.00 AUD

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Albumen print photograph, carte de visite format, 105 x 64 mm (mount); verso imprinted ‘Wilmot & Key, Photographers, Geelong Portrait Gallery, 31 Malop Street, Geelong’; the print and mount are in good condition; [together with] another Wilmot & Key carte de visite probably dating to around 1864-65 (the back mark has a different and possibly earlier design than that on the headstone carte), a vignette portrait of a bearded gentleman, in good condition; it is possible that the sitter is James Bedford, as the two cartes were sourced together.

Wilmot & Key were commissioned by Mary, James Bedford’s widow, to photograph his headstone in Geelong’s Eastern Cemetery. The headstone reads: ‘Erected by Mary, in memory [of her beloved husband], James Bedford. Died June 1st 1865, Aged 38 years’.

In August 1857 James Bedford had become the joint proprietor, in partnership with Samuel Hasell, of the Terminus Hotel in Mercer Street, Geelong. The following notice appeared in the Melbourne newspaper, The Argus, on 4 September 1857: ‘Hotels. JAMES BEDFORD, late of the Royal Hotel Restaurant, Melbourne, begs to inform his friends and the public that he has, in connection with Mr. Hasell, taken the TERMINUS HOTEL, Geelong, lately occupied by Mr. G. Hooper, and by strict attention to business he hopes to receive a share of the liberal patronage bestowed on his predecessors. N.B. A conveyance attends every arrival of the trains to the hotel.’

In March the following year, Bedford and Hasell’s partnership was dissolved by mutual consent, and Bedford became the sole proprietor of the Terminus.

On 20 June 1862, his wife Mary gave birth to a son at the hotel. Business must have been good at this time, because a few months later Bedford was able to purchase several allotments of land in the ‘Parish of Bambra, Agricultural Area of Skenesburn, County of Grenville and Polwarth’ (Geelong Advertiser, 11 September 1862).

During 1863 Bedford acted as the Electoral Registrar for the Mount Moriac Division of South Grant.

Bedford still owned and ran the Terminus at the time of his premature death, at the age of just 38, on 1 June 1865. A funeral notice appeared in the Geelong Advertiser the next day, and a death notice was also published in The Argus on 3 June 1865: ‘BEDFORD.—On the 1st inst., at the Terminus Hotel, Mercer-street, Geelong, after three days’ illness, James Bedford, aged thirty-eight years. Home papers please copy.’

Bedford was a freemason, a member of St. Andrews in the South, Royal Arch Chapter, No. 81. In the Geelong Advertiser, on 2 June 1865, a notice was also placed by his Chapter encouraging attendance at his funeral: ‘The companions of the above Chapter are requested to attend at the residence of our late companion, James Bedford, deceased, (Terminus Hotel, Mercer-street), on Saturday, 3rd inst., at high twelve, for the purpose of celebrating in the solemnisation of the funeral rites, according to ancient usage – Regalia aprons, and sashes trimmed with crepe, black dress, white gloves. All Royal Arch companions are invited to attend. By order of M.E.Z. James Ashton, S.E.’

Mary Bedford continued to run the Terminus Hotel right up until 1891, by which time it had earned a reputation as one of Geelong’s best hotels.