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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Transport by Horse Power

You can see the need to supply all these horses with a well earnt drink. you can understand why George Bills left a sizeable amount of money from his estate to have troughs erected all onet the states.

Please send me any troughs photos you may have  to billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com.

if anyone would like a copy of the location list i have, it  will be my pleasure to send you a copy.


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Bills 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 in 1950whe4n I sold the Herald newspaper near it.

This was when horses pulling delivery 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 350 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 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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Travelling the old way by Horse and carts

When you see this many horses working you can fully appreciate the wisdom of George Bills had when he donated  water troughs so these working horses could quench their thirst. These photos have been posted on the internet  note the traffic jam in Melbourne at  Flinders and Swanson streets back in 1925 not much has changed now.

My hobby is collection photos and locations of where Bills water troughs can be sighted.. If you happen to see any of these Bills water trough in your travels please spare the time and send me a photos

I have a  i list of 350  locations and if you would like a copy please send email to billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com and i will be pleased to share it with  you.

Best Wishes  safe travelling George Gemmill August 2018

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Bills water Troughs In Western Australia .

Western Australian BillsWater Troughs0,


The legacy of the George and Annis Bills Trust is still remembered today in three Western Australia towns.

The towns of Hines Hill, Merredin and NorthCliffe, all have a horse trough which had been  funded by the Bill Trust, sometime between 1930 to 1939,

These troughs are not like the ones to be seen in the Eastern states, as they were mass produced and distributed by the Rocla company.

These troughs had been made by local contractors and installed, they all have plaques stating they were financed by George and Annis Bills Australia.

Interesting to note the plaque on the Trough at Northcliffe Pioneer Museum Annis,s name is spelt as Anne Bills.

This is just another example of the distance the Bills Trust spread throughout the world.  I still seek your help to locate  any Bills Troughs in South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, so far I have been unable to find any.

George invites you to view his web site on Bills Horse Troughs search for  . billswatertroughs wordpress

If anyone sights Bills troughs could you please send me a photo and its location it would be much appreciated.

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Working Horses

In this month post i have found many old photos from the early day before motor transport took over,on our roads as the main means of transport.

When you see this many horses working you can fully appreciate the wisdom of George Bills had to supply water troughs so these working horses could quench their thirst.

My hobby is collection photos and locations of where these water troughs can be sighted.. If you happen to see any of these Bills water trough in your travels please spare the time and send me a photos

I have a  i list of 350  locations and if you would like a copy please send email to billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com and i will forward it on to you.

Best Wishes George Gemmill July 2018


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Hitching Posts

Hitching posts played a very important part in the way of life in early days as it was most important to be able tie up horses while their owner left them to do their business.

I know if 4 cast iron hitching post which illustrates George’s and Annis‘s Bills long standing interest in animal welfare in the early 1900s when they  installed several horse troughs around Melbourne.  Grateful locals apparently commemorated their gesture by erecting Hitch Posts; each has a engraved brass plaque that reads



The posts feature a decorative column topped with a golden horses head.

The posts have a number of tether rings, a step to assist riders mounting,   and a tap to supply water for thirsty steeds.

Would love to learn more about what George did to have these post presented.

Have photos which are example of other hitching posts and ju

st update my locations list .send me a email if you would like a copy sent to you.

Photos of Bills troughs and posts are welcome please send to billshorsetroughs@hotmail.com

Sharons 6


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