Free Settler or Felon?

Hunter Valley Settlers

Archibald Bell
Corinda Map 4
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Hunter River, Glendon, Darlington, Singleton, Patrick Plains

Archibald Bell was born in 1804, one of the ten children of Maria (Kitching) and Archibald Bell.

He arrived in Australia with his family on board the Young William when he was three years old. His father Archibald served with the N.S.W. Corp, and as a military commander at the Hawkesbury and Magistrate at Windsor.

In 1823 Archibald junior discovered a new route across the Blue Mountains from Richmond to Cox's River. This became known as the Bell's Line of Road.  He also explored the Hunter River district. He was granted 1000 acres and selected land near Singleton naming it Corinda.  

In 1828 Archibald junior was a tenant and employed as an overseer at St. Heliers, Colonel Henry Dumaresq's estate near Scone. Convicts were assigned to him at St. Heliers and also at Corinda where he built a two story stone house, probably with the use of convict labour.

One sister, Mary Ann Fennell married Francis Little of Invermein in 1831. In 1833, the same year his sister Sophie married Henry P. Dutton, Archibald Bell junior married Francis Ann North, daughter of Windsor Magistrate Lieutenant Samuel North.

Bell and Dutton were active in Singleton community life attending meetings such as the Patrick Plains Turf Club and served as Trustees for the Singleton Church. Archibald Bell was nominated for district council and was a Steward at the Patrick Plains Races.

In 1847 along with other prominent settlers, he was introduced to the Governor Sir Charles Fitzroy on his visit to the district.

Sir Charles FitzroySir Charles Fitzroy

On the centenary of the founding of Singleton, Corinda was described -

The house was a long two storied building facing the river and was built of stones quarried at Glendon and brought across the river in punts. When Corinda homestead had fallen to decay (for Mr. Bell returned to Belmont, and this estate passed from his family), the stones were removed to Belford to build the Church of England there, so that it forms an interesting link with the past. (1)

Archibald Bell was renown for his coach and hackney horses which he bred at Corinda. He owned other properties in the Valley and later moved to Milgarra and then to Pickering near Merton, the former estate of Captain John Pike.

Archibald's wife Frances North Bell died at Milgarra in December 1852 age 27. Archibald Bell died at Pickering on 9th August 1883.....

The Hon. Archibald Bell M.L.C., whose death was announced in our columns yesterday, was an old colonist, and a son of Mr. Archibald Bell, who was a member of the old Council before the days of Parliamentary elections. About 14 years ago Mr. Bell entered the Legislative Assembly as a representative of the Upper Hunter, for which electorate he was never defeated. Subsequently he retired from the active political arena of the Assembly, and entered the Legislative Council in October 1879 and was a member at the time of his decease. Though not a prominent politician or in the habit of speaking much in the House, Mr. Bell performed his legislative duties conscientiously, and both in and out of Parliament he was popular among all classes for his courtesy and amiable temperament. His age at the time of his death was about 80.(2)

James Millar purchased Corinda from Archibald Bell.  

Convicts and emigrants assigned/ employed by Archibald Bell at Corinda included:

John Bailey per Roslin Castle

George Brown, emigrant per Lady Kennaway

Thomas Carroll per Hive

Thomas Carter per Lord Melville

John Curtis per John Barry

Henry Emmett per Ocean

Patrick Fagan per John Barry

Thomas Hinton per Speke

Daniel Hitchman/Aitcheson per Guildford

Peter Lanyard (stonemason) per Lady Castlereagh

James McDade per Henry Porcher

William Ryan per Lady Harewood

Owen Riley per Providence

Hugh McGowan per Nithsdale

James Tobin per Dunvegan Castle

Michael Mullen per Neptune

William Pool per Adrian

Thomas Pugsley per Neva

John Rogers per Isabella

William Scrimshaw per Roslin Castle

Henry Silvester per Roslin Castle

Henry McFadyn emigrant employed as wheelwright at Corinda. Arrived per Susan in 1839


 Notes & Links:

1). Archibald Bell senior's Tombstone - Windsor and Richmond Gazette 15 Jun 1895


(1). Singleton Argus 16 March 1920

(2)  Sydney Morning Herald 11 August 1883  



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