Subseries Subseries 5 - Joshua Peter Bell and Margaret Miller D'Orsey (nee Douglas) Bell Papers.

Identity area

Reference code

UQFL79-Series F-Subseries 5


Joshua Peter Bell and Margaret Miller D'Orsey (nee Douglas) Bell Papers.


  • 1866-1990 (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

5 folders

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Name of creator


Biographical history

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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Content and structure area

Scope and content

Material relating to Joshua Peter Bell, Margaret Miller D'Orsey Bell (nee Douglas) and their children.

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System of arrangement

Box 3
Folder 3: Copy book of Joshua Peter Bell, 20 Oct 1934; Photocopy of letter from John Alexander Bell to Joshua Peter Bell regarding the death of their sister Mary Isabella Moffat (nee Bell) in Paris, 1866; Transcribed copy by Derwent Fortescue Forster from Charles Forster’s grandfather’s autograph book, ‘In Memoriam – Sir Joshua Peter Bell KCMG’, 2 copies, 24 Dec 1881; Handwritten ‘In Memoriam – Sir Joshua Peter Bell’, by D.F. M.[?], undated; Silk printing of ‘In memoriam – The Hon. Sir Joshua Peter Bell K.C.M.G., M.L.C., &c. President Legislative Council of Queensland, &c., &c.', by J. Brunton Stephens, Queensland Punch, 1 Feb 1882.

Box 5
Folder 4: Correspondence and map regarding the maintenance of the grave for Sir Joshua Peter Bell at Toowong Cemetery.
Folder 8: Copy of photograph of Memorial for Sir Joshua Peter Bell; Excerpts from Queensland digital library relating to Sir Joshua Peter Bell; Estate Sir Joshua Peter Bell Deceased; ‘A Knight to remember’ copy of an article from Sunday Mail Magazine, 4 Nov 1990.
Folder 21: Envelopes, mostly addressed to Colin Basil Peter Bell, showing where Bell family lived in England, 1882 to 1889. -- Invitation card for state banquet to Right Honourable Vicount Kitchener by the Members of The Queensland Ministry, 3 Jan 1910. -- Menu cards. -- Postcard of opening of Dalby – Tara railway.
Folder 22: Photocopy of will of Maida Isabella Sarah Bell (1872-1942), 2 Aug 1939. -- Photocopy of newspaper articles relating to the death of Maida Bell.

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Unrestricted access.

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Language of material

  • English

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Box 3 Folder 3; Box 5 Folders 4, 8, 21-22

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Dates of creation revision deletion

Created, Linda Justo, 19-Jul-2021.




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Physical storage

  • Box: UQFL79 Box 3
  • Box: UQFL79 Box 5