Bell: Anya and I found it on a map.
The bikes were on the back of our old Mitsubishi and we were scouring the topography of south west Queensland looking for somewhere to ride.
We were on the look out for small towns with somewhere we could put our tent down and with plenty of lonely back roads in the vicinity.
Long drive through a big country. Flat and dry.
Finally we got there in the last light of day: a town called Bell.
Bell: population: 500
Plenty of back roads in the area.
And a caravan park. Always important: somewhere where we could put down our tent, park our car and have a shower after a long day on the bikes.
The caravan park was different alright.
Small and adjacent a farmer’s paddock. Put down our tent and had cattle nosing the wire fence near our tent in the evenings and possums scampering down from the trees at night.
It was on the breeze block wall of the caravan park amenities block that I discovered that Bell got its name from a Great Man named Joshua Bell. On the wall were painted murals and one of them featured Joshua.
This is what I found out about Joshua Bell after a few enquiries: in the late 19th century, he was a big grazier who owned huge swathes of land in the region which included the site of today’s town and most of the surrounding country. He was a clever businessman as well as a prominent politician.
And oh! Not to forget, a breeder of champion racing horses who became as famous as their owner in Queensland.
Joshua Bell: a tall poppy.
Knighted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria.
After he died, his immense property was broken up and sold off to smaller holders.
A one horse town appeared and it was called Bell.
A few days later, after some long rides through the surrounding country, we were returning to Bell when I saw it: a major reason why Bell has remained engraved in my memory.
A sign saying: ‘Bell’s Biblical Garden’.
I slammed the brakes on and pulled over. Anya and I were hot and tired and wanted to get back to the caravan park and have a shower.
But I had to take a closer look at this
Bell’s Biblical Garden??