After 30-year search, Deb still asking 'Where's my dad?'

FIND MY DAD: For the past 30 years Deborah Bell has been searching the country for her dad she last saw almost 30 years ago. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
FIND MY DAD: For the past 30 years Deborah Bell has been searching the country for her dad she last saw almost 30 years ago. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail

SEARCHING for her father across Australia for the past 30 years is starting to take its toll on a Cooloola Cove mother of two but she can't give up just yet.

Deborah Bell said she travelled to Bundaberg with her husband David with hopes someone in the community may remember the person she last saw nearly 50 years ago.

"I was told he moved to Bundaberg in 1995 and bought a business," Mrs Bell said.

"I have been looking for him for so long - I was about to give up but my husband David said to give it one more go and here we are in Bundaberg."

Not knowing what sort of business could have been bought by the man who Mrs Bell found out goes by the nickname Smokey Joe, but was born Colin Alexander Hotspur McIntosh, she is reaching out to anybody who may know of him.

The 50-year-old said she last saw her father when she was two years old and her mother took her to live in New Zealand.

"My daddy would never have found me because my mum changed my name and took me overseas," she said.

"I found out his name through my birth certificate.

"My name was different until I was 17.

Mrs Bell said she searched the internet on web pages such as and this is how we found her uncles.

"And I have located my uncles but not my dad, he would be 79 years old.

"My uncles Gary and Roland McIntosh would also like to catch up with him.

"I would just like some closure - even to know if he passed away."

She said she had spent a small fortune in the past 30 years looking high and low, travelling to meet other McIntosh family members across Australia in hope of bringing her a step closer.

"He has missed big things in my life," Mrs Bell said.

"He didn't get to walk me down the aisle and I want my daughters to meet their granddad and for him to meet his four great-grandchildren. I may have siblings out there I don't know about."

Mr Bell said his wife had spent hours researching and had found out information which had helped locate other family members but not his father-in-law.

"We found out he worked on the railways and there was a lot of information on the Navy website about him," Mr Bell said. "It's easier to find someone who has passed away than it is to find someone who is alive."

Mrs Bell said it would mean the world to her finding out Mr McIntosh's where


"It will be closure for me. If he is alive and doesn't want to know me that's fine - I just need to know," she said.

"Anyone with any information can email me.

"I just feel like I have come to a brick wall and may never get to meet my dad."

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