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professor cleland, some background.


Around 1880, William Bickford of A. M. Bickford and Sons built a large residence at Glenelg, a coastal suburb about fourteen kilometres from Adelaide in South Australia. He named it Alvington after West Alvington, the Kingsbridge home village of his grandparents in South Devon UK.

Bickford wanted a big house with good verandahs a sea breeze and an ocean view, and he lived in his home on the corner of The Esplanade and Madge Terrace until dying in 1918 and leaving it to his widow, Margaret, and son, Harold.

In 1938, Alvington was sold to a charitable institution called the Crippled Children’s Association of South Australia. It was used as a home for children with poliomyelitis (commonly known as polio) until it was demolished in 1976. Its official name was The Somerton Home but it was generally known as the Crippled Children’s Home.


One of Professor Cleland’s more significant successes was the defining of the newly discovered encephalitis, then called ‘Australian X disease’, and the proof that it was distinct from poliomyelitis, not only by its microscopic characteristics, but also by the experimental transmission of virus strains to monkeys, sheep and other herbivores.

Australian Dictionary of Biography.

children of alvington

Polio afflicted children at the Crippled Children’s Home

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. B Deveson #

    Pete, Clelland accomplished a lot at a high level and yet the overall impression one gets from reading the SM associated material is that he was a bit of a joke. He seems to have been a bit eccentric, but it is clear he was no fool. I have often wondered if the piece torn from the ROK was planted as part of a practical joke against Clelland.

    July 31, 2016
    • That would be hard to link up with the Francis Rubaiyat, Jessica’s phone number, the code and the hole in its last page.

      July 31, 2016
  2. B Deveson #

    I fully agree with that Pete. But I keep it in the back of my mind, ready to test against any further evidence that might emerge.

    July 31, 2016
  3. You remind me of an old tin miner I used to work with on the Hawkesbury when I was a sprout of 18 – he was the maintenance man at the Outward Bound School up there and he never chucked anything away.

    July 31, 2016

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