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Admiral Sir Frederick George Denham Bedford 1903-1909

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Admiral Sir Frederick Bedford was a naval officer with a distinguished career.

He was born in 1838 and entered the Navy in 1852. He took part in many battles and was awarded the Crimean, Turkish and Swedish medals. His family name was originally Tubb but his grandfather changed the family name by Royal licence upon inheriting property from his uncle, Dr Thomas Bedford.

Sir Frederick was appointed ADC to Queen Victoria in 1888. It is said that his exceptionally high talents were responsible for his appointment as a Lord Commissioner of Admiralty. In 1892, Sir Frederick became Commander-in-Chief at the Cape and during this commission was "engaged in strenuous active naval work which he carried out to a brilliant and successful conclusion". In 1894, he conducted operations at Bathurst on the River Gambia for the punishment of a rebel slave-trading chief. Further action finally saw him promoted to Lord of the Admiralty in 1895. In 1899, he was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the North American and West Indies Station, a position he held until his appointment in 1903 as Governor of WA. In his welcome speech, Sir Frederick said that "if he did not open bazaars and make nice speeches properly at first, he would probably improve with practice". During his appointment, he opened the Geraldton Town Hall and took many trips around the State.

He was very fond of children and took a special interest in the School Amateur Athletics Association and the school system in general. In 1903, Sir Frederick unveiled the marble statue of Queen Victoria in Kings Park, which can be found not far from the fallen soldiers' memorial. The State also received a visit from the "Great White Fleet" - 16 battle battleships, cruisers and destroyers with 12,000 men were sent by the US to Albany. Governor Bedford was there to welcome them and join in the round of civic receptions. The white painted fleet was illuminated each night and looked like a small town. Governor Bedford was also known for his artistic abilities and he and his wife spent a lot of time at the Governor's residence at Rottnest painting and sketching. If he was there on Sundays he would often read the lesson at the Rottnest Island Chapel.

In 1905, there were plans to sell off 300 blocks on the island but Governor Bedford protested and, in fact, it is due to his intervention that Rottnest eventually became an "A" class reserve. He held this office until 1909 and despite encouragement from locals to allow himself to be nominated for another term, he declined, pointing out that he had for 57 years been at work in the service of the Crown.

He returned to London to live out his remaining days.

Reviewed 2012 - 2013

 

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