From 1912 to 1915, the Bedford Park area was owned by Ella A. Hancock, the daughter-in-law of the Moonta Mine manager, "Captain" Hancock. The property was named Bedford after connections in England to the Bedford Family.
The property was acquired in 1917 by the State Government for use as a Sanitorium for Returned Soldiers suffering from tuberculosis ( "consumption" ). The name Bedford Park was retained.
The northern part of Bedford Park was previously known as Burbank from 1927. The present-day Bedford Park emerged in 1966 when the introduction of postcodes consolidated many place names in the area.
Bedford Park Sympathy
"Land for Sale; a beautiful 80 acre section No 81 situated on River Sturt constantly supplied with excellent water." (The Register 7 August 1839) This is how part of present day Bedford Park was first promoted. Within a year John Rigby had 1 acre of very good potatoes, four acres fenced with posts and 2 and 3 rails and had a pise dwelling house, huts, stockyard etc, watered by the Sturt. (British Parliamentary Papers)
By Mitcham Council's first assessment a dozen years later, 10 acres of this section was included with part sections 63, 77 and sections 64, 65, 66, & 67 which now forms the suburb of Bedford Park. Brothers William H and Edmund I Trimmer settled on adjoining properties, William on "Fairford" on the west side of South Road and Edmund on the East.
The original survey of the Great South Road showed an obviously impractical route straight south up Shephards Hill Road and down the other side up another hill and then into Sturt Gorge. The more practical deviation from the bottom of Shephards Hill cut across peoples' properties and crossed Wattiparinga Creek. It became official in 1852 leading travellers across the Sturt Creek and to the bottom of Flagstaff Hill, where P. Lee had established an Inn in 1844.
Edmund Trimmer leased a greater portion of his property to John Clarke, John Coton and farmers of Mitcham John and Caleb Heritage, and leased Section 63 to Rowland and Chambers, Section 64 to Henry Ide until 1861 when he sold it to him and kept the rest.
Flinders University Site
A house was in existence on Section 63 by the time of the first Council Assessment in 1853. By 1882 the property, valued at L3,700 was occupied by Luke Franklin. Towards the end of the century the property was owned by Joseph Boase until 1901 and then by HR Adams and Harriet Ferry, wife of JG Ferry to the end of the decade.
For a short time between 1912 and 1915 this property was owned by Ella A Hancock, daughter-in-law of Moonta's mine manager, "Captain" Hancock. From connections of this family to the Bedford Family in England the modern suburb takes it's name. During War World I the Government bought the homestead and surrounding land and in 1917 opened the Bedford Park Sanatorium. Its first patients were 57 returned soldiers suffering from lung complaints and by 1944 had increased accommodation for 100 people. The healthy lifestyle of working the 400 acre farm including 10 acres of orchard and market garden, 150 pigs and 2,000 poultry. Crops were also grown and there was work in leather, pottery, weaving, wood and metal classes. Added to their secluded life were open-air picture shows as well as visiting entertainers complemented by a radio station 5BS going to air in 1924. The sanatorium continued operations until the 1960s when the Flinders University plans were evolved and later on the site Flinders Medical Centre was built.
Now approximately half of the suburb is taken up by the tertiary institutions Flinders University, Medical Centre and Sturt College which serve the region.
There are flats now where the Franklin family lived in a house for just on a hundred years before demolition in 1977. They had market gardens, orchards, vineyards and a quarry. Mrs Franklin laid the foundation stone of the now demolished Sturt Methodist Church in Laffers Triangle. There are still Franklin connections in the district.
In 1876 absentee landlord, George Johnston sold Section 64 to Richard Ragless and after he died in 1901, it passed to his son Christopher.
The northern tip of the suburb forming a triangle between South, Sturt, and Shephards Hill Roads was known as Burbank after Luther Burbank, a prominent American horticulturist at the turn of the century. He cultivated such things as the pomato and the thornless rose. He died in 1926 and so when Chris Ragless, the landholder decided to subdivide the area in the following year, the name Burbank reflected the men's mutual interest in the natural world. The naming of Edison Road, commemorated the invention of the gramophone and Kelvin Road, the gentleman who created a way to measure electricity. In the middle of the triangle was a dam serving two purposes, one to alleviate the bogginess of South Road and the other to capture the water from Shephards Hill for irrigating the almond trees which were grown where the Womens' Memorial Playing Fields are now. Ten years after Burbank subdivision was offered during the Depression over half of the 165 blocks were sold to 44 people with over half being in the names of women. But by 1947 only 3 or 4 of the original purchasers had actually built and settled there. The remaining allotments were sold in 1937 to Bill Watson a land agent. Many people bought two allotments, built on one and on the second one planted almond trees which once they began to bear could bring sufficient income to pay the rates on both blocks. The last of these has recently been built upon on the corner of Sturt and Shephards Hill Roads.
The Zygas family opened the first business along this part of South Road as a Motor Garage in 1928 advertising "all classes of repairs executed" and twenty years later "all cars greased and cleaned - work guaranteed". The double fronted gabled tin shed has recently been replaced by one of the newest buildings along the road.
Dr John Hughes established the Bedford Park Clinic in 1956 serving 13 families and could remember shooting hares in his spare time in the nearby vineyards. His involvement with Gideons International who distribute Bibles was another of his interests and he developed a treatment for migraine headache. By 1988 when I met him the clinic had over 8,000 case notes. another doctor's clinic at "Franklin House" on South Road, a dentist and a medical equipment supplier all complement Flinders Medical Centre. One of the most unusual business in Bedford Park in 1988 was Sujan Aquariums for those interested in fish as part of their decor.
Not many suburbs can boast of a university with a hillside of plaques commemorating Womens' Suffrage Year or a regional hospital with a gully of memorial plaques. Bedford Park also has the unusual feature of many houses built against the steep hillsides necessitating walking across little bridges from the kerb to reach the front door. This suburb has much to offer the bodies and minds of Adelaide people through its sympathetic institutions.
Paul Kain notes, Land Titles, British Parliamentary Papers.