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Archibald Bell, Jr
Born 1 January 1804(1804-01-01)
Died 9 August 1883 (aged 79)
Denham, New South Wales
Occupation Pastoralist, explorer

Archibald Bell (1804 – 9 August 1883) was an Australian explorer and politician.

Life and Family

Son (one of ten children) of Archibald Bell senior and his wife Maria Kitching. He and his family arrived in New South Wales in 1807, his father being an officer of the New South Wales Corps. Married Francis Ann, (c.1833) daughter of Samuel North a police magistrate at Windsor. Commissioned as a Justice of the Peace in 1842.[1] Worked as a Pastoralist in between explorations of Sydney's north west.[2]


Archibald Bell Jr discovered the route across the Blue Mountains from Richmond to Mount Tomah known as the Bell's Line of Road in 1823. He also explored the Hunter River and saved the explorers Howe and Singleton from starvation. As a reward, he was given a grant of 1,000 acres at Patrick's Plains, naming his estate 'Corinda'. He specialized in breeding horses for coaching and hackney horses. He was granted 1000 acres on the Hunter River near Belford in 1839. He had other estates in the Hunter Valley and moved from Corinda to Mulgarra in 1849. In 1859 he bought Pickering, an 8000 acre freehold estate on the Hunter River. He lived there until his death on 09/08/1883.[3][2]

Archibald Bell, Jr. who also gave his name to Mount Bell, Bell Range, the town of Bell, Bell's Line of Road and Bilpin which was originally named 'Belpin'. The reason for this enthusiastic desire to enshrine Bell's name in just about everything is because, in 1823, Archibald Bell, Jr, when he was only nineteen, crossed the mountains along what was to become Bell's Line of Road. This was not a solitary achievement. Sensibly he used the knowledge of the local Aborigines (Darug people) who had been crossing the mountains for tens of thousands of years. Although the mountains has been crossed at Katoomba a decade earlier, there was still no satisfactory route through the mountains from Richmond at this time. Bell reached Mount Tomah on his first attempt but could not find a way across the mountains. On his second attempt he followed the ridge across to the present site of Bell and from there made his way down into Hartley Vale where he joined up with Cox's road.[2]

In his diary Archibald Bell recalls that, upon his return to Sydney, he reported the richness of the soil in the Bilpin area (which inevitably led to the arrival of settlers eager to grow fruit trees in the area) and the rainforest and huge tree ferns around Mount Tomah.[3][2]

Bell represented Upper Hunter in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1868 to 1872 and was appointed to the Legislative Council for life in 1879.[2][1]




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