Tuesday, 30 May 2017


Thomas James Bell.

Here's another story about my wild great uncle, T.J. Bell. T.J. was staying at the Queens Hotel in the early part of the twentieth century. The Queens Hotel was located in Townsville, Queensland. It was the grandest hotel in the north, the place to stay for dignitaries and graziers who were the power elite of the time. It was the snob centre of town.

Queen's Hotel, Townsville. Foyer entry is to left of photo. Photograph from Townsville City Libraries.

So it all probably started with T.J. getting into an extended drinking bout with his cronies then a bet. It progressively went downhill from there.  The dare was to bring a four in hand carriage into the front foyer of the Queen’s Hotel. A four in hand is a carriage drawn by four horses positioned with two at the front and two behind.

Well, you have to admire T.J.’s pluck because he nearly did it. He did manage to get the two front horses into the foyer before being stopped by irate hotel staff.  I’m not sure if he won the bet or got permanently banned from the hotel.