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Harriet Bell history and the 1893 Tornado

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Charles Frederick Bell was born on the 28th March 1829 in Middlesex, England. The eldest son of Charles Bell Esq. of 29 Stanley Gardens, Kensington Park, London.

He arrived in Australia on the 18th August 1854 aged 25 years.

Harriet Rogers was born in 1820 in London.

She arrived in Australia on the ship "Mary Hay" via Lauceston, Tasmania on 5th January 1842, aged 22years.

Charles and Harriet Rogers married on 24th November 1855 in Queensland.

Their children were:

Anna Maria Alice Bell (married Dudley Eglinton) (1858-1937),

Harry Frederic Hawkesley Bell. (1856-1938)

Mary Elizabeth Bell (married William Hobbs) (1861-1949)

Mrs Harriet Bell and her grand-daughter Eileen Hobbs in 1899:

Bell St is named after Harriet Bell, widow of Frederick C. Bell.

Harriet purchased portion 135 and 136 on 26th August 1880, on the waterfront between Victoria Ave and the Water Reserve.

George John Woolfe had originally purchased portion 136 (27 acres) on 5th June 1866 for 27 pounds, and then portion 135 (18 acres) on 6th December 1866 for 18 pounds.

Her home "Klangur", was built in August 1882.It was a landmark of Woody Point in the early days and directions were given as "Mrs Bells" or "Bells paddock".

The grounds were well laid out with gardens lawns and shrubs, making the whole an "attractive marine villa". It was a landmark during the early days at Wood Point.

Location of H. Bell's "Klangar" on portion 294. "Myola" was on portion 296.

Location of Mrs Bells first house:

At 7am on Friday the 17th February 1893 the house was reduced to matchwood by a tornado.

Photo of the destruction of "Klanger" from the Moreton Bay Library collection: RLPC-000\000070

Queenslander 4th March 1893:

THE TORNADO AT HUMPYBONG: A correspondent who visited Woody Point recently furnishes us with the following account of the total destruction of Klanger, the once well known residence of Mrs Bell. This place was caught in a tornado on Friday, 17th February, at about 7 a,m. The first intimation the occupants had of the strength of the wind was the front door bursting open. Mrs. Bell, who was in bed at the time, went to shut the was door, when she was lifted bodily up and her head knocked against the ceiling of the hall. Mrs Bell was found among the debris apparently without any broken bones but severely bruised.Her daughter Mrs Bell, and the letters 2 children, who were all in the house, also had a miraculous escape from death, as the building fell in on them. In fact one child was under a wardrobe that took four persons to lift, and the other had a hairpin knocked into her head. Of course all of them were very much bruised, especially Mrs. Bell and her daughter. The man servant was carried from the kitchen steps into a mulberry tree, and hurt about the legs by the falling timber. The house and the 8ft. 6in. veranda appear to have been lifted bodily up, carried about five or ten yards, and then smashed to pieces. Nearly all the furniture is smashed to atoms,and the bedsteads are broken and twisted like so many twigs. At one time it was thought that a valuable piano, which had somehow escaped the weight of the falling building, was uninjured, but such unfortunately is not the case. Perhaps the most remarkable incident, next of course to the wonderful and providental escape of the occupants, is that of a large box with a glass top, containing birds eggs, which was not damaged in any way. So strong was the force of the wind and rain that little clouting the occupants had on at the time was almost torn off their backs. Parts of the furniture were afterwards found in the paddocks yards. In fact the ground was strewn with clothing from chests of drawers and torn to pieces by the wind. Parts of the galvanised iron roof were carried a long distance and then wrapped around big trees. A light buggy belonging to Mr Parry-Okeden, which was in a shed in the stable, was lifted up and carried into a fig tree. When taken down it appeared none worse for its aerial flight except that part of the ironwork was bent. A poor horse which had been feeding some distance from the house must have been lifted up and dashed against a tree as the unfortunate animal was found almost cut in two. As soon as news of the occurrence was received, Messrs. Oxenham, Pass, Sargant Perry, and other residents rendered the ladies all the assistance they could, and although the rain poured down in torrents from early morning until noon, they hunted for papers and other things of importance which were not injured. Mrs Bell has received numberless letters and telegrams from friends and others expressing joy at her wonderful escape, and sympathising with her and the loss of her home and some of the contents, which money cannot replace. As far as can be ascertained, the destruction took place within from five to ten seconds."

The Telegraph Brisbane - January 17th 1931:


Down on the beach today there are girls in gaily coloured pyjamas and boyish shorts, and Japanese sunshades vie with the very smartest of futurist bathing attire for prominence. The talkies draw their crowds of an evening. Motors whizz past on bitumen roads, and overhead sounds the steady throb of an aeroplane. Everywhere there is evidence of modernism and save on the occasion of some spectacular event such, as the enactment of Oxley's landing, few ever recall the days of long ago, when Humpybong was a settlement, for the main part built away from the seashore, where the first sugar In Queensland was grown, and where the blacks hunted the undergrowth above which the giant gums still proudly lift their dappled boughs. It Is only when, one converses with people such as Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Boden that one feels, even slightly, something of the atmosphere of the past. Mrs. Boden's mother, the late Mrs. Harriet Bell, widow of the late F. C. Bell, went to Humpybong in 1880, her first home being "Klanger," Bramble Bay. Mrs. Bell was well known for her charitable qualities and was a friend not only to the aboriginal but to any one suffering poverty and distress. She had three daughters, Mrs. Minto. formerly Mrs. W. Hobbs, who still makes her home at Wenaba, Woody Point. Mesdames.Ernest Eglinton and A. C. Boden. Klanger, Mrs.Bell's first home, eventually became surrounded not only with cultivated paddocks, but with a picturesque garden and fruit trees and was noted for its hospitality. Mr. Boden speaks of many happy weekends in Company with Messrs. E. E. Bliss. H. H. Bliss, and Alfred Oliver. For five years he made the trip from Brisbane to Bramble Bay on board the twenty-five footer Vagabond. The young men slept on the sailing craft, but spent many happy hours ashore at the home of Mrs. Bell means of transit were still very primitive, and if any of the party desired to return to Brisbane via Sandgate there was a small sailing boat called the "Dairy Maid", owned by Mr. C. Cutts, which would take passengers across. It invariably meant removing one's boots and socks both before boarding and after leaving the craft, however, as there was always water to be waded through. When the visitors returned to Brisbane by their own boat on winter evenings it frequently became necessary for them to row, using thirty feet sweeps, from the mouth of the river to the creek, THE "JEWEL" SHIPS. Mr. and Mrs. Boden retain vivid memories of the three "jewel" ships, which preceded the Koopa and the Doomba, on the regular Bay traffic. These were the Pearl, under Captain Taylor, and the Garnet and the Emerald commanded by Captaln Bengsten. The little Garnet was the first boat, to leave the Brisbane wharves after the 1893 flood, and Mrs. Boden could recall an exciting trip down the river when, owing to the strength of the current, the little boat was carried at a rapid speed, round the various points in the dredged channel. One of the most interesting events of an aquatic nature In the past was the Humpybong regatta. Messrs. T. E. Ham, of Northgate, A. C. Boden and the late H. S. Bliss were the prime movers In this regatta; which constituted, an annual event practically from 1887 to1912. In later years Mr. Alfred Sapsford was also prominently connected with It. A TORNADO. One of the most terrifying events of the "old days," they said, was undoubtedly the tornado. Mr. Boden has kindly provided a cutting from "The Telegraph" of February 25, 1893, which contained the following details:" (see above Queenslander article from 1893)

"TREASURED HEIRLOOM. Mrs. Boden hastened to add that when her mother was found she was holding a silver tea pot, which had been presented to her in appreciation of her hospitality. This self same teapot Mrs. Boden treasures as a family heirloom to-day. Two children referred to in the description are Mrs.A, C. Morgan, wife, of Mr. A.. C. Morgan, M.P. who was formerly Miss Eileen Hobbs, and the late. Miss Phyllis Hobbs. After the tornado Mrs. Bell resided at Wenaba,Woody Point. WENT TO CORROBOREES. Another old resident of Humpybong is Mrs. T. Jackson, who makes her home with Mr. and Mrs. Boden. A daughter of Mrs. Batch, formerly Mrs. Sparkes. Mrs. Jackson's parents in the early days looked after Dr. Hobbs' house for him at Reef Point Scarborough. Later they lived in the vicinity of Deception Bay. Mrs. Jackson retains many memories of the blacks. "We used, to go to corroborees," she remarked; "Just like you would go to the pictures nowadays." There would be sometimes two or three hundred blacks assembled, said Mrs. Jackson, the warriors being gaily painted, with feathers in their hair, and bearing shields and boomerangs. Mrs. Jackson said that she had practically no fear of the blacks. With a few exceptions they were perfectly quiet and courteous, one reason no doubt being that they had little opportunity of obtaining alcohol. The blacks used to hunt in Mrs.Bell's paddocks for wallabies and kangaroo rats. Their culinary preparations afforded much interest to Mrs. Jackson. The menu included carpet snakes, fish and wallabies. The fish, never cleaned,were cooked In the ashes. When the process was complete, they were removed and the ashes scraped off, leaving the flesh invariably snowy white. For the gift of a little tea or sugar, bags of fish could be obtained and necklets of miniature beads. Mrs. Jackson referred to one occasion when the lubras were presented with skirts. Fastening the skirt together each lubra placed her head through the opening at the waistline and put one shoulder through the placket, leaving the other bare, thus featuring, unconsciously the one shoulder vogue later displayed in fashionable evening attire. Much more terrifying than the blacks to Mrs. Jackson was the emu kept by a neighbouring settler. Clad in the holland pinafores of the period, which her mother as a trimming had piped well meaningly with Turkish red, she was often held up for considerable intervals by this fierce bird, which the neighbours said was attracted by scarlet."

In 1894, she purchased her second house "Wenaba", which was initially a Boarding and Day School for girls in 1893 by Mrs M.A. Markwell. It was located on the south west corner of Victoria Esplanade (now Gayundah Esplanade) and Caroline St.

It was then purchased by Florence Amelia Whitehouse in 1915:

Photo from the Moreton Bay Library collection: RLPC-000\000304

Charles Frederick Bell died on 30th August 1872 aged 43 years. He was originally buried at the Old Paddington Cemetery, re-interred at Toowong Cemetery 19 Aug 1875.

Harriet Bell passed away on the 26th May 1913 aged 93 years, at her residence "Wenaba" at Woody Point, and was survived by her son and three daughters.

Harriet is buried in the Toowong Cemetery together with her late husband Frederick.

1951 Refidex:

Bells Creek 1942 and 1956 aerial:

McLennan St is named after N.B.M McLennan who owned land in the area in 1889 Donald St is named after Donald Cameron who lived in Redcliffe in the 1880s. Inglis St (Named Cocks St in 1951) is named after Noel Ivers Inglis who was a shopkeeper at Woody Point. He was elected to the Redcliffe Town Council as an alderman on 11th April 1939 and died in 1943, Formerly Cocks St, the name was changed in 1953 Thompson Cres. is named after John Allen Thompson who was an early landowner in Redcliffe and he purchased portion 13 on 24th November 1862 along with George Lang and John Allen. They paid 43 pounds for 15 acres.

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