One of the best Yorke Peninsula footballers of his day, Tom Bell left a wife and nine children when he died at the age of 44 in a Wallaroo mines accident on 5 August 1918. His youngest son, Clarence, was just three years old.
Tom, who with his brothers Michael and Harry was a leading player with the Wallaroo Mines team in the 1890s, rounded off seasons 1895 and 1896 by turning out with Norwood.
Tom played against the premier-elect, South Adelaide, in a hard-fought game at Adelaide Oval on 2 September 1895, Norwood going down 8.13 to 3.5. An odd thing happened at the start. After South rushed forward for a behind, it was realised that there were no goal umpires and the game was stopped for a few minutes while the officials took up their positions.
A year later, on 1 September, Tom was a member of the Norwood team which again lost a competitive game to South at Adelaide Oval, this time being beaten 4.4 to 2.2 before a big crowd. As in 1895, South won the premiership and Norwood was runner-up.
Born at Kapunda in September 1872 to Thomas Bell and his wife Johanna, née Hickey, Tom had three brothers and two sisters. He married Emma Holden at the Sacred Heart Church, Kadina, in 1899 and the couple had four sons, John, Thomas, Cyril and Clarence, and five daughters, Mary, Marjorie, Florence, Cecelia and Winifred.
Tom was an esteemed member of the Wallaroo community. He was secretary of the Wallaroo Mines Football Club, a good cricketer and a member of the local Druids.
P. Robins, D. Cox March 2020
* For the picture we thank Di Roberts, grand-daughter of Tom Bell