Bell, Joshua Peter, 1827-1881

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Bell, Joshua Peter, 1827-1881

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  • Bell, Joshua Peter, Sir, 1827-1881

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Born on 19 January 1827 in Kildare, Ireland. Joshua Peter Bell was the second child and eldest son of Thomas Bell and his wife Sarah (nee Alexander). The family migrated to Australia in 1832. In 1844 Thomas Bell took over a pastoral lease on a large tract of land, Gimba (Jimbour) Station, on the Darling Downs near Dalby. Jimbour Station was run by a manager, Henry Dennis, until 1847 when the Bell family took charge of the leasehold under the partnership of Bell and Sons. The partners in this firm were Thomas Bell and his sons, Joshua, John and Marmaduke. Joshua Peter at 21 years of age, took control of Jimbour and it soon won fame as one of the best conducted stations on the Darling Downs. Joshua Peter Bell married Margaret Miller D'Orsey (often referred to as Lady Bell) on 19 February 1861 and they had six children: Joshua Thomas (Joey) (1863-1911), William Alexander (1865-1940), Colin Basil Peter (Collie) (1867-1934), Lulia Ubania Medosa (1868-1869), Oswald Marmaduke D'Orsey (Ossie) (1871-1942) and Maida Isabella Sarah (1872-1942). Sir Joshua Bell was a Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly, 1862-1879 and a Member of the Queensland Legislative Council, 1879-1881 occupying many executive positions such as Treasure, Minister for Lands, Speaker, President of the Legislative Council and acting Governor of Queensland. He was a founder and original shareholder of the Queensland National Bank (established in 1872). From 1872 to 1875 he served as President of the Queensland Club. He died suddenly on 20 December 1881. Prior to his death, Bell merged his pastoral interests with Sir Thomas McIlwraith and J. C. Symth to form the Darling Downs and Western Queensland Land Company and this merger marked a decline in the Bell Family fortunes with the house and lands coming under control of the Queensland National Bank, which itself collapsed. After his death the family left for England to have the children educated there, returning to Queensland in 1889.


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Revised, Linda Justo, 13-May-2020




A. A. Morrison, 'Bell, Sir Joshua Peter (1827–1881)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, accessed online 13 May 2020.

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