George John Bell

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Sir George Bell

George John Bell.jpg
9th Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
In office
23 October 1934 – 19 November 1940
Preceded byGeorge Mackay
Succeeded byWalter Nairn
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Darwin
In office
13 December 1919 – 16 December 1922
Preceded byWilliam Spence
Succeeded byJoshua Whitsitt
In office
14 November 1925 – 7 July 1943
Preceded byJoshua Whitsitt
Succeeded byEnid Lyons
Personal details
Born(1872-11-29)29 November 1872
Sale, Victoria
Died5 May 1944(1944-05-05) (aged 71)
Burnie, Tasmania
NationalityAustralian
Political partyNationalist (1919–31)
UAP (1931–43)
OccupationSoldier
Military service
AllegianceAustralia
Years of service1892–1927
RankLieutenant Colonel
Commands26th Light Horse Regiment (1920–27)
3rd Light Horse Regiment (1917–19)
Battles/warsSecond Boer War

First World War

AwardsKnight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George
Distinguished Service Order
Mentioned in Despatches (2)
Volunteer Officers' Decoration

Sir George John Bell KCMG, DSO, VD (29 November 1872 – 5 March 1944) was an Australian soldier and politician.

Early life[edit]

Bell was born in Sale in the state of Victoria, and was the eldest son of George Bell and Catherine Bell, née Hussey. Bell was one of 15 siblings, including William R. Bell. He received his education in the outback of Victoria, and worked on his parents’ farm, before joining the Victorian Mounted Rifles.[1]

Military career[edit]

Boer War[edit]

Following the outbreak of the Second Boer War, Bell enlisted in Victorian Mounted Infantry as a private. Although travelling back to Australia after the disbandment of the Infantry, he returned to the war, joining the Victorian Mounted Rifles Contingent. He was commissioned as a lieutenant, but became severely injured in a battle in early 1902. He was awarded a Distinguished Service Order for his services in the war.[1]

World War I[edit]

After the war, Bell returned to Australia, settling in the state of Tasmania. On the outbreak of the First World War, Bell enlisted for the Australian Imperial Forces, and was dispatched for training in Egypt. He served at Gallipoli and Sinai, and was promoted from the rank of lieutenant to captain, to major and finally, to lieutenant colonel. Given command of the 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Bell's most successful conquest was the capture of Es Salt, and the later successful evacuation of British troops from the stronghold. He was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in April, 1919.[1]

After his return to Australia, Bell married Ellen Rothwell on 5 November 1919.

Politics[edit]

Bell in speaker's garb

He became the Nationalist Party candidate for the Division of Darwin (Tasmania), and was elected to the Australian House of Representatives in the federal election of 1919. He was a federal MP for a total of 21 years (1919 – 1922 and 1925 – 1943), representing the Nationalist Party and its successor, the United Australia Party. His term was broken when he was defeated by the Country Party candidate at the 1922 federal election, but he regained the seat at the next election.

In 1927, he was appointed as aide-de-camp to the Governor-General of Australia. Elected as chairman of committees in the House of Representatives in 1932, he became Speaker in 1934. Appointed as Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in 1941, Bell retired from politics in 1943. He died from cardiovascular disease, and was buried in the Burnie Anglican cemetery, following a state funeral.[1]

External links[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Bell, William G. (1979). "Bell, Sir George John (1872–1944)". Australian Dictionary of Biography (Volume 7 ed.). Melbourne University Press.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
George Mackay
Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
1934–1940
Succeeded by
Walter Nairn
Preceded by
William Spence
Member for Darwin
1919–1922
Succeeded by
Joshua Whitsitt
Preceded by
Joshua Whitsitt
Member for Darwin
1925–1943
Succeeded by
Enid Lyons