• Died 30 May 1854
  • Buried Ballarat Old Cemetery

An inquest was held on the body of Ellen Bell on 30 May 1854 at Ballarat East. Twelve ‘good and lawful men of Eureka’ were on the jury giving the verdict that her death was the result of natural causes. Ellen Bell’s shipmate, Bridget Holland, also of Eureka gave evidence at the inquest. John McAuliffe found Ellen’s body lying face down in front of the door of her tent. The Coroner asked him if he had ever seen the deceased ‘labouring under the effects of drink’. John answered that he had occasionally seen her ‘the worse for liquor’. The official cause of death was congestion of the brain and the inquest concluded that Ellen died of natural causes. She was buried at the Ballaarat Old Cemetery on 30 May 1854.

Dorothy Wickham, Women of the Diggings: Ballarat 1854, BHS Publishing 2009; VPRS 24, 1854; Ballaarat Old Cemetery registers.


VPRS 24/P0

Unit 23 1854/48

Item 48

Ellen Bell

13 May 1854

Inquest held at Eureka Ballarat on the body of Ellen Bell

Death in a natural way


Th0mas Smith 

Richard Laney

John Thompson

James Hodges

Isaac Read

Doanld McDonald x

John Long

James Doran

William Morison

James Bush X

James Ryan

Frances Osley  all good and lawful men of Eureka 

John McAuliffe

About 12 o’clock yesterday May 29 I was going to Ballarat when I came within about 20 yards of this tent I saw deceased lying in front of the door flat on her face. I came up and spoke to her but found she was dead. I immediately gave the alarm to the neighbours

Q by Coroner Did you ever see the deceased labouring under the effects of drink?

Ans I have seen her occasionally the worse for liquor

John Mcauliffe

Bridget Holland

Of Eureka 30th May 1854

Deceased was a shipmate of mine. I saw deceased in a fit down at my place I which she was totally senseless. It lasted ten minutes

Bridget Holland xxx her mark