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Bell, George Douglas (1836–1918)

The passing away, on Monday evening last, at the ripe age of 81 years, of Mr. George Douglas Bell, of ''Milgarra,'' Bunuan, recalls vividly the early and earliest days of Australian colonisation, and also of settlement, not only of the Hunter and our own immediate district, but of this State, and when we say of this State, that, of course, means Australia. When the fact is mentioned that the life and activities of the grandfather of the late Mr. Bell take us back to the infant settlement of Sydney, we have a striking reminder of the youth, after all, of this young Commonwealth of ours. The late Mr. Bell was a grandson of Lieut. Archibald Bell, of Belmont, Richmond, who arrived in Sydney from England in the year 1806, and played an active part in early colonial affairs. He was, for instance, involved in the Governor Blight embroglio, and had to re turn to England to give evidence in connection therewith. He played a leading part with Blaxland and others in connection with the early exploration of the Blue Mountains, and marked the line across those, mountains in 1823. For these services, he was given a free grant of 1000 acres of land in any part of the State. He lived at Corinda, on the Lower Hunter for many years, and it was there that the late Mr . Bell, and the other members of the family, with one exception, were born. The father of the deceased, the Hon. Archibald Bell, M.L.C., who was only a child when he arrived in Sydney with his parents, died at Pickering, near Muswellbrook, in 1883, at the age of 80. In the late sixties and early seventies, he represented the Upper Hunter for some years, , and on his retirement, which was purely voluntary, he was appointed to the Legislative Council, of which he remained a member till his death. It was in 1849 that, the Hon. Archibald Bell first came to Milgarra, and remained about ten years, when he returned to Pickering. The two sons, F. S. and H. W., remained at Pickering, and their names became familiar throughout the State as breeders of stock . It was about the time of the parent's return to Pickering, in 1859, that the late Mr. Bell; who has just passed away, took charge of Milgarra, though he had resided there for some years previously when merely a boy, and lived there continuously up till the time of his death. At the age of 24, he married the eldest daughter of the late Sir John Robertson, who, at that time, we believe, had his residence at Yarrandi, and about then became famous as the author of the '61 Land Act. Of the union there was issue two sons and eight daughters, two of the latter predeceasing him, also his devoted wife, who died about 16 years ago. The surviving members of the family are Messrs. G. D. Bell, of 'Arriglim', Bunnan; and Mr. J. A. Bell, of 'Clovelly', Bunnan; the daughters being, Mrs. T. E. Wyatt, of Scone; Mrs. A. J. Perkins, England; Mrs. Don. Ross, Derranbandi, Queensland; Mrs. A. J. Frost, Haberfield, Sydney; Miss E. Bell, 'Milgarra', Bunnan; and Mrs. H. N. Bell, 'Bundarraga', Bunnan. Of six grandsons, Private W. P. G. Whildon was killed on active service; Petty Officer R. A. Perkins is a prisoner of war in Constantinople; Private Tom Whildon is on active service; and Sergt A. D. Perkins was wounded in the battle of Loos and is now gas instructor in England; the other two grandsons being too young for active service. Of the oldest generation, the deceased is survived by his two brothers, Messrs. F. S. and H. W. Bell, of Pickering; and three sisters, namely, Mrs. Geo. White, of Sydney; Mrs. Edmund White, of Sydney, and late of Martindale; and Mrs F. G. Weaver, of Sydney. The late Mr. Bell was a man of sterling character, a good parent and a good citizen and neighbour; and although he never actively participated in political and public affairs, he still manifested a great deal of interest in them. He had a happy and genial manner, and had numerous friends whom he was always pleased to meet, and who were always pleased to meet him. Up till seven or eight years ago, when the deceased had a serious illness, he always enjoyed robust health. From this illness he recovered and kept well and went about his customary work, until some three or four months back, when he became unwell again, and gradually became weaker, and passed away at the time stated, the immediate cause of death being weakness of the heart. The remains were interred in the private cemetery on Wednesday afternoon last, in the presence of a large gathering of relatives, friends, and sympathisers, including several from a distance. The burial service was conducted by the Rev. F. A. Cadell.

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'Bell, George Douglas (1836–1918)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bell-george-douglas-22370/text32122, accessed 21 September 2017.

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