Bell's Life in Sydney was started by Thomas Revel Johnson in 1845. George Ferrers Pickering became joint proprietor with Johnson in February 1847, and he appears to have assumed editorial responsibilities soon afterwards. The following year, the Johnson/Pickering partnership was dissolved in acrimonious circumstances, and Johnson left the newspaper. George Ferrers Pickering appears to have edited Bell's Life in Sydney from 1847 through until ca. 1868, and for most of this period was also joint proprietor (with various partners). Under Pickering's editorship, Bell's Life in Sydney became essentially a sporting newspaper, with a strong focus on horse racing. However, for much of its life it also included a theatre column, and from time to time it also published fiction and poetry, a good deal of which involved sporting and racing themes.