Bell, seen from the air in 2010
|Population||544 (2011 census)|
|LGA(s)||Western Downs Region|
Bell is a rural town and locality in the Western Downs Region, Queensland, Australia. It is in the western foothills of the Bunya Mountains, 39 kilometres (24 mi) north of Dalby. At the 2011 census, Bell had a population of 544.
Bell is on the Bunya Highway and lies between the agricultural areas of the Darling Downs and the South Burnett with rolling hills of quilt-like patterned farmland. The area's main industry is farming of beef cattle, grain, sheep and pigs.
Originally the area around Bell was part of a large land holding called Jimbour Station. In the 1870s the area was opened up for closer settlement and Angus & Christina McPhee from Scotland became the first settlers nearest to what would become the village of Bell. Over time other families - including Bellingham, Bradley, Edwards, Ensor, Rush and Walker - settled in the vicinity of Cattle Creek and in 1878 a school was established at Maida Hill to cater for these families. In April 1906 the Bell Branch railway line was opened linking to the main line at Dalby. The first land sales in Bell were in May 1906. The village was named after Sir Joshua Peter Bell who, at that time, was owner of Jimbour Station. The railway continued to operated until 1994.
Maida Hill Post Office opened on 8 September 1877. It was renamed Bell by 1898, Malakoff in 1907 and closed in 1930. Bell Railway Station Post Office opened by December 1906 and was renamed Bell in 1907.
The Bell Provisional school opened on 4 November 1907. On 1 January 1909, it became Bell State School.
Facilities available in Bell include a caravan park, a country hotel (pub), a swimming complex, tennis courts, a lawn bowls club, a 9-hole golf course and a horse racing track. The Bell Bunya Community Centre also houses the Bell Library, a branch of Western Downs Libraries. Fuel is available from the Bell Store. The main social gathering point in town is at the 'Bellvue' pub while at the Memorial Hall country dances and/or balls are hosted a number of times during each year. The Bell State (government) School, which caters for children in classes from Prep to Year 10, celebrated its centenary in 2007.
The Railway Heritage Parkland, built on the site of the original railway terminus, features an early model diesel locomotive and a vintage passenger carriage as well as a historical mural painted on the shed wall. A number of Bell's early buildings were constructed from locally sourced sandstone - an example is a stone house which was built in 1913. The Roman Catholic Church hosts a mural painted by local artists showing a history of Salvation. The Bluebelles Art Gallery at the Bell Bunya Community Centre holds displays of local artists' works.
Bell is known for its traditional country arts and crafts as well as rural-based activities such as horse race meetings, the rural show, rodeo and campdraft competitions. The local show, which celebrated its 50th consecutive year in 2008, is held annually on the first weekend in March. The show features wood chopping, displays of the area's livestock (including milking goats), and working cattle dog 'trials'.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Bell (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
- "Bell (entry 2133)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Bell (entry 47665)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Our Beautiful Region: Visitor Info". Bell Race Club. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- Premier Postal History. "Post Office List". Premier Postal Auctions. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
- "Agency ID4835, Bell State School". Queensland State Archives. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Campdrafting". TriColby Photography. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- "Bell Show Society". The Queensland Chamber of Agricultural Societies Inc. Retrieved 15 April 2014.[permanent dead link]