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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 at Fasoli's Italian Restaurant in Lonsdale Street Melbourne, to write and perform poems, songs, debates and plays, and to mock the establishment. They began each meeting with rituals around Joss, an idol created by Norman Lindsay and inspired by Richard Marsh’s popular supernatural novel "The Joss: a reversion" (1900).

Fasoli's Italian Restaurant 1898

Members of the Ishmael Club, c.1900
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.


The Ishmael Club.

"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


A Bibliography of the Bedford Collection was compiled by researchers Ross Smith and Cheryl Frost. This list of works is included below and is available through Open Journals. Most of the articles listed have been digitised and can be searched in the relevant collections archived on Trove, the Australian National Library's online archive.

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, and in Sydney.
The collection (OM79-72, Randolph Bedford Papers), consists of around 22 boxes of Manuscripts, Poems, Articles, Reviews, Sketches, Caricatures, Photographs, Letters and Documents. 

Fasaoli's Resturant 1898 .png
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