Bedford College was launched in 1943 by the Baptist Churches in NSW to meet Australia's great emerging social needs due to the devastation of families during World War II. Women needed essential job skills to join the rapidly changing workforce so they could provide for their families. With a benevolent heart, the Baptist movement donated all the funds necessary to start this initiative to support women to find independence, employment, and success.
Almost 80 years later, Bedford College maintains this strong desire to help equip all people to access great opportunities by learning the skills necessary to find secure employment. The College believes employment provides an essential pathway to contribute and help make a positive difference in the world.
We are proud of our Baptist heritage and aim to treat everyone with kindness, respect, and fairness. Today, the College welcomes both women and men, from Australia and overseas, and from all cultural and spiritual backgrounds to join our cause.
The commencement of a Baptist Business College was first suggested in a meeting of the Forward Movement Committee of the Baptist Union of N.S.W. by Mr R.H.H. Butler in September 1942. The Annual Assembly of the Baptist Union shortly after added five hundred and thirty two pounds (£ 532) to the Forward Movement Plan (then under consideration) for a Business College, and a Committee of Investigation was appointed to report on the possibility and method of an early commencement.
The College was officially established and incorporated as a company on the 17th September, 1943. As the Baptist Union of N.S.W. is incorporated under an Act of Parliament and its scope of operations as a union of churches is “religious”, it did not have the powers to operate a ‘Business College’, therefore a separate company and operational structure was necessary for the foundation and management of the College.
Walker, R.E. (1980) ‘Bedford College 1943 – 1979’ p. 4
The Directors’ First Annual Report addresses the reason behind the founding of Bedford College by the Union as, ‘..the equipping of young people for efficient commercial careers while fostering and strengthening their Christian characters’.
Holland, E. (1944) ‘Bedford College – Interim Reports and Annual Reports’ p. 2
The Foundation Class of the College in 1944.
1944 to 2002 (George Street, Haymarket):
The College commenced its first year in the ‘Assembly Hall’ of the Central Baptist Church (pictured right at 619 George Street). In the 1970s, the College expanded by purchasing the building next door to the Church at 617 George Street. In the 1980s, a bridge was built between the Church and the building next door to accommodate the operations of the College.
2002 to 2021 (54 Parramatta Road, Glebe):
In 2002, due to the rapid growth in congregation numbers at Central Baptist Church, the College moved to ‘Baptist Church House’ in Glebe, which at the time was the Headquarters of the Baptist Union of NSW & ACT.
In 2009, Bedford’s Board of Directors decided to sell its property at 617 George Street, so that with the proceeds the Glebe campus could be purchased from the Baptist Union of NSW & ACT. The building then underwent a major facelift with works completed in 2011.
Central Baptist Church, George Street, Sydney (May 1961)
2014 – Present (2 Columbia Court, Norwest):
A decision was made by the Board of Directors to open a second campus of the College in 2012. After a feasibility study where several locations were considered, it was decided that the second campus of the College would be located in the Norwest Business Park.
After extensive renovations, the Norwest campus of Bedford College was officially opened and dedicated by the Reverend Robert Ellis, Chairman of the Assembly Council of the Baptist Association of NSW & ACT, on the 25th of October 2014.
In 2021, a decision was made by the College’s Board of Directors to sell the Glebe campus and make Norwest the main campus and headquarters of Bedford College.
The name ‘Bedford’ was taken from the town in England where the renowned Christian writer and preacher, John Bunyan (1628 – 1688) hailed from.
Bunyan's most famous literary work is "The Pilgrim's Progress", which was written during his ministry in Bedford, England. It is the highest selling book in history outside of the Holy Bible and continues to influence Christians all over the world to this day.
Bunyan was born, and lived most of his life, in and around Bedford.
The River Great Ouse which runs through the town of Bedford in Bedfordshire, England.
Our College Crest and Motto was the design of Mr A.E. Nelson of Mortdale, N.S.W. and the motto “Pro Deo Laboro” (I work for God) was the successful entry to a competition by Mrs G.B. McDonald of South Australia.