William Bell (1796-1870) arrived in Australia in 1839 on the David Clark with his wife Agnes, née Muncaster (1793-1866)  and their five children: John, Thomas, Dinah, Jane and William. By 1842 they were able to buy land at Kangaroo Ground. As the familys farming activities expanded the Bell family appear to have come to an arrangement with John Dickson who held a pastoral lease to the north-west of Ryries on the Yarra Flats.

In the early 1850s William Bell junior and his brothers-in-law, Simon and Thomas Armstrong, were running cattle on Dicksons Gulf Station and Dickson had moved to Kangaroo Ground prior to travelling to England. By 1856 the Bells and Armstrongs had taken over John Dicksons lease for the whole run.