Dubbo and Wongarbon NSW

Wongarbon is 28 ks from Dubbo in NSW show just how far and wide the Legacy of George Bills has travelled in Australia.

Any one seeking more information about George Bills send a email and your photos to billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com. safe travelling George Gemmill Stanhope Victoria

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Williamstown Bills Water Trough.

Hobson Bay Council is to be praised for the restoration work they have completed on the two Bills Water Troughs in their district. These two 85 year old water troughs have now been restored to as new condition. One is located in the Commonwealth reserve in Nelson place and the other one is in front of the Morning Star Hotel.

Great to see local councils taking steps to preserved Bills troughs and the history of them is a reminder of the generous donation George Bill made so many Years ago.


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Merrigum Bills Water Trough 2019

The Bills Water trough is located behind the Merrigum Historical Society Museum housed inside the Old Rodney Store Building in Waverley Avenue.

Told it was once located in front of the Old Post Office, before being moved into the museum,s yards.



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Bills Troughs on Facebook

Well done David Panther you sure have caught a lot of interest with this entry.
If any of the readers would like a copy of my list of locations please send me a email to billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com and i will send you a copy . George Gemmill


🔹 Over 700 of these Horse-Troughs were provided free of charge for the welfare of Australia’s working horses and at least 300 of them still exist… this is part of the story behind them.

🔹 The troughs were financed by a trust fund established through the will of George Bills… each one carries his name and that of his wife Annis. George and Annis were animal lovers who despaired at the lack of facilities available to workhorses. Following George’s death in 1927, around ₤75,000 (a huge amount of money) was set aside to…
“..construct, erect and pay for horse troughs wherever such horse troughs are desirable for the relief of horses and other animals”. Over 700 were installed, mostly in Victoria and NSW.

🔹 The early troughs were manufactured in Hawthorn Victoria by J.B. Phillips. They were pre-cast concrete with a curved pediment containing the inscription “Donated by Annis & George Bills Australia”. Manufacture subsequently moved to ‘Rocla’ who produced troughs to the same design. By the end of WW2, demand declined and production ceased.

🔹 Aside from the horse troughs, the Bills Trust was involved with other animal welfare projects including the establishment of the George Bills RSPCA Rescue Centre at Burwood East, Victoria which opened in 1964.

Thankyou, Annis and George Bills. Photo of George below.

No photo description available.
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Bille Water Troughs

             Horse Troughs with a History

Have you ever wondered about those concrete horse troughs, still seen in many parts of NSW and Victoria, Which have a Terrazzo Plaque scripted on it

Donated by Annis and George Bills Australia”

I first became interested in these troughs in 1983 when a Tidy Town campaign was being run, while cleaning up in my town of Stanhope near the old Bills trough which was once  beside where the entrance was to the old Stanhope railway station.

It reminded me as was the same sort of horse trough which was near the Newport Railway station when as a 13 year old I sold the Herald newspaper beside it.

This was when horses pulling carts were still a common sight on the roads.

.  I can still well remember the trades men with their horse and carts stopping at the trough to give their horses a well earned drink, as they were delivering goods to homes in the Newport district, such as Ice, Bread, Milk, Wood and briquettes, most of these goods were delivered by horse and cart, even the old Bottle O who bought empty bottles to be recycled, plus many other people who were still using a horse and gig as a means of transport.

. On a hot day these cart horses could drink up to 60 litres plus of water a day.

Well very few of these troughs are now in use, most are usually empty and showing signs of age, or have been converted into flower boxes. Most of them have been removed from their original sites due of roadworks, and redundancy being no longer require for what they were once used for.

Quite a lot have been saved and are now in private ownership and being well care for.

They still serve as a reminder of our past history when horses were the major way of transport.

.  But who were Annis and George Bills?

Their story begins in1859 when George Bills was born in Brighton England. He came to Australia as a young man, and he and his brothers established a wire mattress manufacturing business in Kent St Sydney, which operated successfully over many years.

During his lifetime, George took a keen interest to seeking out cases of human need and gave many thousands of pounds anonymously to assist needy folk.

George Bills died in December 1927 and his wife Annis had pre deceased him, she passed away in England when they were over there on holidays in the early 1920,s.

After providing many personal bequests, George in his will directed the income from the residue of his estate was to be used to provide drinking troughs for horses, and other animals he said it was in preventing cruelty, and alleviating the sufferings of animals in any country. He wanted no animals to go thirsty.

I believe there was more than 500 troughs made and erected in Australia mostly first in Victoria then in New South Wales and, and others were funded in overseas countries England, Ireland, Switzerland [for donkeys] and Japan.

In the early stages of trough supply, each was individually designed and constructed.

One of the firsts was a granite Memorial trough, hewn in one piece as a memorial to George Bills. It was situated in Barton St Hawthorn, Melbourne; the trough has long since been removed.

Later, a standard design was adopted, and from a mould made at the Rolca Concrete Company and they supplied many hundreds of these troughs throughout Victoria and New South Wales.

The troughs were supplied free of charge after an application was made to the Bills Trust by Councils, and other originations,  truckloads of 10, would often leave the Rocla Factory for installation by a team of men in country towns.

Most of the troughs were made and supplied in the mid 1930s in Victoria.

The cumbersome steel and concrete moulds were later removed to a Rocla factory at Junee, NSW before the moulds were transferred to Sydney where more troughs were made and supplied to various areas. But the growing use of the motor vehicles and trucks, this caused a halt in demand for the troughs and none have been installed after World War 2 ended..

The objectives of the Bills trust, however, now having been subsequently met it was used  in other ways.

One big project made possible by the Bills Trust years ago, was the establishment, in Co-operation with the RSPCA  Victoria was the George Bills RSPCA Rescue Centre, in Burwood a suburb of Melbourne,  it was opened by the then Grosvenor  His Excellency the Governor of Victoria, Sir Rohan Delacombe, on June 23. 1964 the cost was paid for by the estate, and it is still proving of great benefit in the treatment of injured and stray animals..

I admire the generosity and foresight George Bills had when he set up the Bills Trust remembering it all occurred during the years of the great depression in the early 1930ies.The information in this leaflet is from the many items I have been collecting over thirty +years I do not know who wrote them but they all tell much the same story.

It has been my hobby collecting photos of Bills troughs. I now have a file of over 340 locations, of where these Bills troughs still are, or where they were once located and many of them you can still be seen in your travels.

I would greatly appreciate it if any one who sights any of these Bills troughs, if they would please take the time to forward me a digital photo to this email address billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com

I do hope whoever reads this leaflet enjoys the read and it enlightens them on the wonderful acts George and Annis Bills did for animals so many years ago.

I would be happy to answer any question you might have, and pass on any information I have collected. It has been my pleasure to compile this leaflet and your comments will be most welcome just send them to my email address.

Or visit my web site search for  bill water troughs wordpress


Researched and written by George Gemmill 25 Brudenell St Stanhope 3623

Phone 03 58572352  billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com


Disclaimer: This information is not to be deemed to be legal advice.

It is supplied in good faith and is believed to be correct.

However, no liability whatsoever is accepted from the use or reliance of this, or other information available.

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Delivery by horse and cartD

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Emerald Bills Troughs

Just received this photo of a different style of water trough in Emerald with a brass plaque saying donated by George and Annis Bill . There is also a ROCLA one in Emerald.

Have seen similar troughs like this one in Euroa .

If anyone would like a copy of where to find Bill Troughs please send me a email to billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com and i will send you a copy .

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