Robert Bedford (1874–1951), based in the isolated community of Kyancutta in South Australia, was a unique contributor to world geology, specifically in the field of meteorites and fossil archaeocyatha. Born Robert Arthur Buddicom in Shropshire, UK, he was an Oxford graduate who worked as a scientist in Freiberg, Naples, Birmingham and Shrewsbury as well as with the Natural History Museum, Kensington and the Plymouth Museum in the United Kingdom. He was a Fellow of the Geological Society of London, 1899–1910. In 1915, Buddicom changed his surname to Bedford and relocated to South Australia. During the 1920s, Bedford expanded his geological interests with the establishment of a public museum in Kyancutta in 1929. This included material previously collected and stored in the United Kingdom before being sent to Australia. Bedford was very successful in collecting material from the distant Henbury meteorite craters in Australia’s Northern Territory, during three separate trips in 1931–1933. He became an authority on meteorites with much Henbury material being sent to the British Museum in London. However, Bedford’s work on, and collecting of, meteorites resulted in a serious rift with the South Australian scientific establishment. Bedford is best known amongst geologists for his five taxonomic papers on the superbly preserved lower Cambrian archaeocyath fossils from the Ajax Mine near Beltana in South Australia’s Flinders Ranges with field work commencing in about 1932 and extending until World War II. This research, describing thirty new genera and ninety-nine new species, was published in the Memoirs of the Kyancutta Museum, a journal that Bedford personally established and financed in 1934. These papers are regularly referenced today in international research dealing with archaeocyaths.
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