Territory Stories

Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)



Parliamentary record : Part I debates (27 February 1990)


Debates for 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 5th Assembly 1987 - 1990




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Northern Territory Legislative Assembly

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Tuesday 27 February 1990 in 1953 and, a year later, he but1t his garage, Nightc1iff Motors, in Aralia Street. That garage is still operating and it is pleasing to see that it has now been taken over by his 3 sons. That is 37 years of continuous operation by a small, local family business and by a man who has been a great credit to Darwin. Certainly, he has been a fine resident for the Nightc1iff community for all those years. In contrast to the chaos which is often associated with garages, with tool s and bits and pieces lying everywhere, Bill was fanatical about everything being clean and in its proper place. It is good to see that the garage, which has operated successfully in Nightc1iff now for some 37 years, is still being run by his 3 sons, Peter, Richard and Robert. Although Bill was a mechanic by trade, his real passions in life were shooting and collecting firearms and associated mi1itaria. He and Margaret owned several blocks of 1 and at Southport and he often toyed with the idea of building a pub there and calling it the Shooters Arms. The idea was that it would also be a place to display his collection of firearms. He envisaged changing the display about 3 times a year to maintain public interest. Bill was a great supporter of community activities in Nightcliff. He helped build the community centre and the Nightc1iff Scout Hall. As recently as Nightc1iff 1s fortieth birthday celebrations in 1988, he was still active in the Nightc1iff community. He led the parade on that occasion. Bil11s passion for collecting and restoring historical items extended to vehicles and the best known example of his work is the steam traction engine, the Margaret Rose, which was brought to the Territory in about 1910. The Margaret Rose was recovered by Bill and hi sold friend, Kurt Messinger, from Woolner Station in 1984. After 3 years work, they had the 80-year-old vehicle back on the road. Bill drove the Margaret Rose at the head of the grand opening parade at the Royal Darwin Show last July. The Margaret Rose will continue to interest people as an exhibit at the Northern Territory museum as the traction engine was part of the Bill Bell collection recently acquired by the museum. The Territory owes Bill a considerable amount of gratitude for making this material, the result of a lifetime of work and dedication, available for public ownership. The collection includes, in addition to the Margaret Rose, a fully restored logging trailer, a Ferret Scout car and an arms and armour collection comprising 103 muskets and rifles, 128 revolvers and pistols, 91 swords and bayonets and other items of militaria. The collection has considerable educational value and is a wonderful acquisition for the museum. Bill has been a long and valued member of the Northern Territory community. He has lived in Nightc1iff almost since the declaration of the township there. He w.il1 be very sadly missed. He has been quiet in recent years, working with hi s friends. Hi s dream was to develop a steam museum, because he, Kurt Messinger and other people were keenly involved in restoring old steam equipment. One of his dreams was that we could recover much of the old steam equipment that is lying around in the bush and have it restored and put on display as part of the future museum for the education and enjoyment of the community. The Margaret Rose was his first and most significant contribution in that regard. It is of persona 1 sadness to me that we were unable to 8862