Bell River (New South Wales)

Bell River, a watercourse that is part of the Macquarie catchment within the Murray–Darling basin, is located in the central west region of New South Wales, Australia.

Bell River
Nandillion Ponds[1]
Etymologyin honour of Brevet Major Bell[2]
StateNew South Wales
IBRASouth Eastern Highlands, NSW South Western Slopes
DistrictCentral West
MunicipalitiesCabonne, Wellington
Physical characteristics
SourcePloughman's Creek
  locationMarch, near Orange
  elevation726 m (2,382 ft)
2nd sourceBroken Shaft Creek
MouthMacquarie River
285 m (935 ft)
Length146 km (91 mi)
Basin features
River systemMurray–Darling Basin
  leftMolong Creek, Curra Creek, Blathery Creek
  rightNubrigan Creek, Weandre Creek


The river rises in the hills north-west of Orange and flows generally north past the town of Molong, joining the Macquarie River at Wellington.[1] The course of the river is generally aligned with the Mitchell Highway, with the river dropping 441 metres (1,447 ft) over its 146 kilometres (91 mi) course.[3]

Platypus have often been sighted in the lower reaches of the Bell River.[4]


Aboriginal history

The original inhabitants of the land surrounding the Bell River were Australian Aborigines of the Wiradjuri clan.[2]

European history

The area surrounding the Bell River was first explored by John Oxley who named the river in honour of Brevet Major Bell.[2]

Alluvial gold was discovered in and along the river in 1851, inspiring a minor gold rush, most notably near the confluence of the Nubrigyn Creek with the Bell River.[5]

Minor flooding of the Bell River occurs sporadically, before its junction with the Macquarie River, including in 1920,[6] 1926,[7] and 1990 at Newrea, where the river reached 6.77 metres (22.2 ft).[8]


  1. "Bell River". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
  2. "Travel Factsheet: Wellington". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 January 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  3. "Map of Bell River, NSW". Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  4. "Platypus spotting, Wellington". Macquarie River Trails. 2012. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  5. Earp, G. Butler (1853). The Gold Colonies of Australia, Their History & Progress, With Ample Details of the Gold Mines, How To Get To Them, and Every Advice to Emigrants. London: Routledge & Co. pp. 138–145. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  6. "Western District: The Macquarie and Castlereagh". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 July 1920. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  7. "The Macquarie: over the banks". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 March 1926. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  8. "Macquarie Region: Record floods". Floodsafe. NSW State Emergency Service. Retrieved 13 January 2013.

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