Tasmanian Connections
Home Up Captain John Bell Major Bell (48th.Reg.) Tasmanian Connections Diary of Lewis Bell 1872 Map Tasmania   Foxton Connections    Bell-Armstrong Connections   www.kihlstrom.com.au


Site Map
In Scotland
Family Trees
In Tasmania
In Victoria
In New South Wales
Family Photos
Properties-then / now
Those Who Served
Useful Links
Ongoing Research
Foxton Connections
PNG Connections

Rootsweb Database



George Meredith "Big John" Bell Lewis Bell William Crowther


George Meredith (1777-1856) developed a large grazing property, "Cambria" (right), which was the first settlement in Glamorgan, Swansea. He also established a whalery in 1824. 

George Meredith's daughter, Louisa Meredith, became Captain John Bell's second wife - Mrs. Louisa Bell.

George's son, Charles Meredith, married Louisa Ann Twamley from Birmingham, England. Charles Meredith's children were George (christened 1839?), Charles (1/11/1842 - 2/3/1843), Charles (1844 - 1888) and Owen (1847 - 1927). Charles Meredith became Colonial Treasurer of Tasmania, but died penniless, leaving his wife, Louisa, to make her living publishing books and watercolours

Mrs. Louisa Ann Meredith visited the the Leigh/Shelford area west of Geelong, Victoria in the late 1850's as a guest of local people, probably George Russell, but also of "Big" John Bell and/or Robert Lewis Bell (all of the Golf Hill area) and of Captain John Bell, her brother-in-law. During her stay she kept detailed descriptions of the land; she also drew several sketches including one of the Leigh Bridge. Both the descriptions and sketches were published in 1861 in "Over the Straits: a Visit to Victoria". She stayed at the Warrambeen Homestead, then owned by "Big" John Bell. Louisa Meredith died on 21st.October 1895. I am uncertain at present whether the township of Meredith was named after her or her family.

"Cambria", Swansea home of Meredith family (Courtesy of Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, State Library of Tasmania) George Meredith (b1834?)  married a daughter of the wealthy property lessee, William Robertson of "Melrose" Hobart Town and Colac Station, Victoria. They later lived in New Zealand. 

The Bell and Armstrong families were also strongly involved in the same pastoral area in Victoria.   

Glamorgan, Swansea         13 Images of the Meredith Family


"Big John" Bell (1821-1876)  the son of Lewis Bell and Mary Calvert of Annan, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, lived in or visited Tasmania presumably with Captain John Bell's family during the late 1830's or early 1840's. He possibly arrived on 22 November 1838.  On 14 August 1840, a John Bell arrived in Launceston from South Australia aboard the "Minerva", a 99 ton schooner. Cargo on board included sundry cargo and beef.  

Interestingly, at the same time, Captain James Clark Ross, RN, with  "Erebus" and Commander Crozier, RN with "HMS Terror", were in Hobart Town preparing for their Antarctic expedition, and setting up a Magnetic Observatory on Govt. Domain, near Government House, Hobart. Their preparations took three months.

On 20 May 1846, John and Elizabeth Bell were listed as passengers aboard the "Shamrock", bound for Port Phillip, as part of an emigration scheme under the auspices of the Geelong and Portland Bay Immigration Society. This was a scheme whereby landowners and squatters of Port Phillip funded the hire of ships to encourage migrants to the new colony. Advertisements were placed in Launceston and Hobart newspapers. Cost of the passage was 7 shillings.  Big John Bell's history continued in Victoria with a land grant at Port Phillip.


Lewis Bell (1853-1926)        When Lewis Bell  arrived in Melbourne in 1871 from Dumfries, aged 19, he immediately visited Tasmania, presumably with his uncle(s) John and/or James Bell. His diary entries date from 27 December 1872 to 21 January 1873.  During their trip they visited Launceston, Campbelltown, and Hobart. They visited  Captain Bell's grave in the old cemetery in Hobart, and visited Mr. Meredith who showed them around the Barracks. They also met a Mrs. Crowther for lunch. On their return trip to Launceston, they visited Falmouth, on the east coast, presumably properties of the Bell or Meredith family.              

Notes from diary of Lewis Bell 


William L. Crowther (1817-1885) was the son of Dr. William Crowther, grew up in the colony, paid his way through British Medical School with 500 specimens of Aboriginal skins and skeletons, and returned to Tasmania, qualified, and nominated as a Fellow fo the Royal College of Surgeons. He was a medical practitioner, businessman and politician.  


However, his family was involved in the exhumation of the body of Truganini after her death and burial in 1876. She became known as the last full-blood Aborigine in Tasmania. Her skeleton was the most popular exhibit in the Tasmanian Museum and remained on display until 1947, when all parts of what had become known as the Crowther Collection were returned from museums around the world. In 1976, her skeleton was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.  


Caricature of W. Crowther


Presumably, this is the Crowther family visited by Lewis Bell. The Meredith family were also involved in Tasmanian politics, so undoubtedly knew each other well.

The W.L.Crowther Library is a collection of Tasmanian heritage items. Sir William Crowther was knighted for his generous donation of historical artifacts to the people of Tasmania. He visited Annie Foxton (nee Bell) in Brisbane about the 1960's. He died in 1981. 


Image of Major E.L.Crowther 1880 in Southern Tasmanian Volunteer Artillery Uniform  (from State Library of Tasmania Images)


Image of Sir William, Joyce and William (Bill) Crowther  (from State Library of Tasmania Images)



Please note:  It is not permitted to reproduce images without the express permission of the State Library of Tasmania.


Last updated: 12 October 2008