Major Bell (48th.Reg.)
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History of the 48th Regiment

The 48th. Regiment originally left Sydney in September 1817 for Van Diemen's Land under the leadership of Lieutenant Henry Robinson, as guards of 279 prisoners, arriving in Hobart Town on the 28th September 1817.  

Many of the tasks of the 48th included pursuit of convicts. A bushranger, Michael Howe, was killed during a gun fight with members of the 48th. In a published account, Howe was run down by two members of the 48th.Regiment including a Major Bell.Soldier's Island & part of Farm Bay from the settlement farm, Macquarie Harbour (Courtesy of Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania)

A major achievement of the Regiment was the establishment of the settlement at Macquarie Harbour on the west coast - a settlement of extreme difficulties of access, terrain and communication, coupled with harsh treatment of prisoners. 


It is said that Major Bell designed a stone arch of the Richmond Bridge in Tasmania - the oldest existing bridge in Australia. Presumably this is the same Major Bell of the 48th. The bridge over the Cole River was completed in 1825.

The 48th's service ended in Van Diemen's Land on 7 April 1824, with departure on the "Tritan" for India. Included in the passengers were: Captain Brevet Major Bell, an ensign, 5 sergeants, 5 corporals, 1 drummer, 132 privates, 32 wives and 72 children. Richmond Bridge (Courtesy of W.L. Crowther Library Images, State Library of Tasmania)

Major Bell's connection to Captain John Bell is uncertain at the time of writing.

More history of the 48th.

Pictures of architecture in Tasmania - including Richmond Bridge and Runnymede


It is not permitted to reproduce images, without express permission being sought from the State Library of Tasmania.