Len Beadell Library
Updated: Jan 29, 2020
"Len Beadell was one of Salisbury's 'great characters', a modern pioneer whose life and work deserve to be preserved for future generations."
The Len Beadell Library, before being moved in November 2019, was located at 55 John Street Salisbury. It was one of 5 public libraries managed by the City of Salisbury. In December 1997 the City of Salisbury decided it would be appropriate to commemorate Len Beadell's memory by naming its new central library in his honour.
Len's contribution to Australia's literary and cultural heritage, as well as his work with the Army Survey Corps, was captured through a major artwork. The Len Beadell Memorial Artwork was funded by public subscription to commemorate Len's life and achievements. A list of contributors is shown in the gallery below.
The artwork was designed by Martin Corbin and made at Architectural Stained Glass Studio, at Unley, in collaboration with Jan Aspinall and Berin Behn.
The Len Beadell Artwork was officially unveiled on 10 December 1999.
'In designing this memorial, I have tried to provide a real sense of who Len Beadell was and the significance of his legendary work, in a manner that he would have enjoyed' Martin Corbin
The Len Beadell Memorial Artwork is in two parts:
The first part comprises a set of four, 8mm thick toughened glass panels that give a sense of the colour and expansiveness of the outback and the work carried out in this beautiful if often difficult environment. The design centres on a image of the bulldozer making an initial cut for one of the roads probably the Gunbarrel Highway.
Smaller attached panels have been screen printed or sandblasted with images from the life of Len Beadell - photographs taken by him, cartoons he drew and text from the pages of his books.
Scroll across to see all four panels in the First Part
The second part, a single panel, is a tribute to Len Beadell. The panel is darker, to evoke the night sky which provided Len with the stars from which to take his bearings. Instead of stars and constellations, we see handwritten calculations and diagrams.
The panel includes:
a small plate with brief text in memoriam, made in the same manner as his road signs
a transparency of one of his original maps with notes and trig bearings in the area of Sandy Blight Junction
an image of Len Beadell with his scoutmaster and mentor, John Richmond
an image of Len at work in the outback, standing on the bonnet of his jeep
images of Len the older man as many will remember him in his years as author, public speaker and tour guide
an interview with Len from a 1952 Woomera 'Gibber Gabber'.
Various photos in the gallery below show some close ups of the glass panels, the Len Beadell Memorial Artwork information brochure acknowledging those who made contributions, and the New Salisbury Hub featuring the Len Beadell Innovation Corner (opened 30 November 2019).