Matt Bell

Name: Matthew John BELL

Date of Birth: 26/03/1925

Birth Location: Busselton Western Australia

Also Known As: Matt

Age at Burial: 85 yrs

Date of Death: 20/04/2010

Death Location: Bunbury, Western Australia

Date of Burial: 27/04/2010

Denomination: Uniting Church (buried in the Congregational/Presbyterian section)

Row/Grave: Row 6 Grave #58

Grave Transcription: BELL

In Loving Memory


26/3/1925 – 20/4/2010






Father: John BELL, born 1868, North Yorkshire, England.  Died 1957, Capel, Western Australia

Married: 19 September 1909, Wesley Church, Hay Street, Perth, Western Australia

Mother: Martha Alice BELL, born 1888, North Yorkshire, England. Died 1971, Perth, Western Australia

Grandparents (father):

William Bell, born 1829, died 1896.  Married Isabella Whelpdale, born 1832, died 1924.

Grandparents (mother):


Isabella Bell, born 1910, Bridgetown, Western Australia.  Died 24 February 1914, Dinninup Area, Western Australia

Robert Bell, (Twin) born 29 April 1912, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Died 12 July 2000, Dunsborough, Western Australia

William Bell, (Twin) born 29 April 1912, Bridgetown, Western Australia. Died 24 February 1914, Dinninup Area, Western Australia.

Ralph Bell, Born 1915, Bunbury, Western Australia, Died 1993, Busselton, Western Australia.

Elizabeth Alice (known as Alice) Bell, born 1917, Yallingup, Western Australia.

Frances Annie (known as Annie) Bell, born 1919, Busselton, Western Australia.

John Bell (WX36807) born 27 May 1921 Busselton Western Australia. Died 22 February 2001 Busselton, Western Australia

James Bell, born 1927.  Died 1932 aged 5 years in Perth, Western Australia.

Spouse: Ainslee Jean nee ROBERTS

Children: Barry William, Terry Gordon, Marie Elizabeth

Occupation: Farmer

Military Service: WW11 W70515 –

National Archives of Australia – link to view war records

Their Story

Matthew Bell was born on 26.3.1925 at Busselton. His parents John and Alice Bell moved to Dilly’s farm, Bell Road Capel, 3 months before he was born.

He walked 2 km to attend Elgin School each day after milking three or 4 cows by hand. When he was about 11 he walked 1 km to Washer’s home and was picked up by Vickery’s School bus and travelled to Stratham School on Stratham Road.

He finished primary school, then in 1940 attended Narrogin Agricultural College for 2 years. In 1941 he was the School Captain and Captain of the Hockey, Football and Cricket teams.  He was also Vice-Captain of the Narrogin Association under 18s Football team.  He graduated fifth in a class of 40.

Matt went home to the farm in 1942.  His brother John joined the army. Alice was at home and with Matt carried on with the dairy farm.  At the end of the war Alice married and then with the help of his mother Matt carried on with the dairy farm.

John came home after recuperating from the loss of a leg. He and Matt started up a clover cleaning business. It was quite a profitable business and made enough money to buy Eric May’s property at Tutanup.  John took over and managed that property. After the war Matt played football with the Elgin team in the Busselton Assocn. for two years.  He then played for Boyanup in the Donnybrook Assocn. for three years and was a member of the Boyanup team that won premierships in 1948 and 1949.  He was also a member of the Donnybrook Assocn. team and played in two carnivals before he damaged his knee the next year and had to give up football.

In 1952 he became engaged to Ainslee.  He made cement bricks, cut trees and had timber milled for their house, which was built by Bazzo brothers from Bunbury on a daily wage.  Matt and Ainslee were married on 6/2/1954 and the same month bought a milk quota and supplied Peters of Brunswick, the first milk quota supplied from the Elgin district.

Their family of two sons and one daughter were born. The two boys went onto the farm and were very able and qualified farmers.  Marie was educated and became a nursing sister and later a school teacher.

Matt became involved in the Farmers’ Federation.  He was Secretary, Vice President and President of the Elgin branch.  He served two terms as Vice President and President of the Southwest Whole Milk Zone Council. Among other positions he held was serving on the Dairy Industry Authority and representing them at conferences and in recognition of his services he received a Distinguished Service Award from WA Farmers’ Federation.

The Dairy

The Bells built a new Herringbone Dairy, one of the first of its type in the district and gradually increased their dairy herd to 150 cows.  Matt  increased his quota holdings to one of the bigger holdings in the state. Over the years Ainslee Bell and Barry and Terry became partners in the dairy business.  They broke the state record price for a pens of springing Freisian heifers and bullocks. The land holdings were expanded over the years, as were irrigation properties and milk quotas.

Matt was also active as a Lieutenant in the Elgin Fire Brigade, president of the Capel Primary School Parents and Citizens, instrumental in the building of the Capel Uniting Church, and served on the managing committee of the Capel Bowling Club

He was a  very busy and community minded man.

Matthew passed away aged 85 on April 20, 2010


Information and Story compiled by Phyll Clinton  (CDCP) team member based on discussions and documents from Ainslee Bell

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© Capel District Cemeteries Project 25/08/2021