Joshua Peter Bell

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Sir Joshua Peter Bell

StateLibQld 1 86924 Sketch of Sir Joshua Peter Bell.jpg
3rd Treasurer of Queensland
In office
22 Dec 1864 – 20 Jul 1866
Preceded byThomas Moffat
Succeeded byJohn Donald McLean
ConstituencyWest Moreton
In office
28 Mar 1871 – 8 Jan 1874
Preceded byRobert Ramsay
Succeeded byWilliam Hemmant
ConstituencyNorthern Downs (1871-1873)
ConstituencyDalby (1873-1874)
President of the Queensland Legislative Council
In office
3 April 1879 – 20 December 1881
Preceded bySir Maurice O'Connell
Succeeded bySir Arthur Palmer
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for West Moreton
In office
15 December 1862 – 28 September 1868
Preceded byJoseph Fleming
Succeeded byFrederick Forbes
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Northern Downs
In office
28 September 1868 – 11 November 1873
Preceded byHenry Thorn
Succeeded byHenry Thorn
In office
21 Nov 1878 – 2 Apr 1879
Preceded byWilliam Miles
Succeeded byGeorge Thorn Jr.
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Dalby
In office
10 November 1873 – 15 November 1878
Succeeded byGeorge Simpson
Queensland Legislative Council
In office
3 April 1879 – 20 December 1881
Personal details
Born(1827-01-19)19 January 1827
County Kildare, Ireland
Died20 December 1881(1881-12-20) (aged 54)
Brisbane, Queensland
Resting placeToowong Cemetery
Spouse(s)Margaret Miller Dorsey
RelationsJoshua Thomas Bell (son), John Alexander Bell (brother)

Sir Joshua Peter Bell K.C.M.G. (19 January 1827 – 20 December 1881) was a pastoralist and parliamentarian from Queensland, Australia. His eldest son was barrister and parliamentarian Joshua Thomas Bell.[1]

Early life[edit]

Bell was born in Kildare, Ireland, eldest son of Thomas Bell and his wife Sarah, née Alexander. The family emigrated to Australia around 1830. He attended the Sydney College and King's School, Parramatta. In 1848, Bell became joint manager of Jimbour Station in Darling Downs, Queensland with his brother Alexander after his father had taken over the lease of the property. Bell soon assumed sole control of the station due to his astute management that saw the station becoming one of the most respected in the area.[1]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Early parliamentary career[edit]

Due to his status as a prominent landholder, Bell was invited to stand in the elections in 1862 for the seat of West Moreton. He won this seat with a considerable majority and remained in office for six years. In 1868 he stood for the seat of Northern Downs (Dalby), the local constituency of Jimbour Station, in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland.[2] He was successful in this election and continued to hold the seat for eleven years.

Ministerial career[edit]

Monument at the grave of Joshua Peter Bell.

In his eleven years in parliament in the seat of Northern Downs, Bell gained a number of ministerial roles. In 1864 he was appointed treasurer (in the first Queensland ministry under Robert Herbert)[3] a position he held until 1866. In 1866 there was a financial crisis owing to the failure of two banks, Bell as treasurer stated that he intended to issue "inconvertible government notes". The governor, Sir George Bowen, considered that would be an infringement of the prerogatives of the crown and then premier Arthur Macalister resigned on 20 July 1866.[2] Bell later assumed the role of treasurer in a subsequent government in 1871 and remained in office for further three years. Bell also held a number of other ministerial positions, notably Minister for Lands in 1866 and acting Minister for Works in 1867.[1]

Further career[edit]

In 1879 Bell transferred to the Queensland Legislative Council and was elected president.[2] For a short period of time from March to November 1880, Bell was appointed as Administrator in the absence of the then Governor Sir Arthur Kennedy. He was appointed K.C.M.G. in 1881.

Later life[edit]

Joshua Peter Bell monument, 2007
Plaque on memorial, Jimbour, 2007

Joshua Peter Bell died suddenly on 20 December 1881 and was buried at Toowong Cemetery.[1][4] A memorial to him was also erected at Jimbour Homestead.


The town of Bell was named after him.[5]


  1. ^ a b c d Morrison, A. A. "Bell, Sir Joshua Peter (1827 - 1881)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Percival Serle, ed. (1949). "Bell, Joshua Peter". Dictionary of Australian Biography. Angus & Robertson. Retrieved 23 August 2007.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Mennell, Philip (1892). "Bell, Hon. Sir Joshua Peter" . The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co – via Wikisource.
  4. ^ "Brisbane City Council - Online - Grave Location Search". Brisbane City Council. Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 29 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Bell (entry 2133)". Queensland Place Names. Queensland Government. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Joseph Fleming
Member for West Moreton
Served alongside: Henry Challinor, Robert Herbert, Joseph Fleming, George Thorn, Jr., Benjamin Cribb, Patrick O'Sullivan
Succeeded by
Frederick Forbes
Preceded by
Henry Thorn
Member for Northern Downs
Succeeded by
Henry Thorn
New seat Member for Dalby
Succeeded by
George Simpson
Preceded by
William Miles
Member for Northern Downs
Succeeded by
George Thorn junior
Political offices
Preceded by
Thomas Moffatt
Treasurer of Queensland
Succeeded by
John Donald McLean