Annis and George Bills were philanthropists who were greatly concerned about the welfare of horses and other animals. When George died in December 1927, in his will he directed a trust be set up to supply Horse troughs free of charge where they were needed.
The horse troughs, were mass produced and distributed mainly across NSW and Victoria.
Funds were also made available to erect drinking facilities which were of a different design.
Melbourne had many thousands of working horses and they helped shape Melbourne.
The low bridges over the Yarra which were to eventually block any serious shipping out of the city were created to accommodate the horses pulling heavy loads that would not have been able to negotiate the steep incline of a high arched bridge.
A working horse needs over 60 litres of water per day and in summer the horses were often driven many hard miles between available drinks.
Some early photos of how horse transport was used are included.
Note the number of carts waiting to be loaded and unloaded at the Victoria market.
Anyone interested in wanting more information are welcome to contact me at email
Season greeting to all my BHT friends who reads this hope you and your family all have a healthy and prosperous 2107.
Just thought i would list some troughs which are located near old Hotels. They would have been welcome sights for both Horses and their owners on hot days.
George welcomes your photos of troughs please send them in to the email address
George will be 80 next months and does not do the travelling he used to be able to do so he welcome your photos to keep his collection up to date..
Photos are from
Avenal . Harvest and Home Hotel
Bendigo I== One tree Hill Hotel.
Strathdale – Bull and Mouth Hotel . Now a medical centre
Williamstown == Morning Star Hotel.
Bacchus Marsh == Royal Hotel
Wallan East, Raywood, Marong, Avoca, Pitt Town Hotel NSW and Devonish.
Recent visit to the Farm where there is 2 Bills water troughs which are being well looked after, photos were taken back in 2004 .
Plaque from the Kilmore Bills Trough.
The Stanhope BHT has now been relocated 4o metres into a new toilet and art complex. Must say when Simon the Builder was moving it he found time to give it a pressure wash and it has come up wonderful.
Must say that it must be one of the best preserved BHTs that i have seen have a look at the enclosed photos. No chips of cracks in it, served the locals well as was originally beside the gates to there the old Railway Station once was. .
My house is just 5 houses north of the trough . So if any one is there call in and have a chat. You will be made most welcome. George
On The Move
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
New location beside new toilet and Art space
George would like to hear from interested people who share a interest in the story of the Bills troughs and welcomes inquiries at email@example.com
Please send me a photo of troughs you have seen in your travel’s .
Best Wishes George G
Plaque beside the BHT
Near the Bridge
The Bills Water Trough
In the 1950’s this sturdily built water trough was removed from its original site in Stevenson Street not far from this position.
It was then used on a farm at Murchison East until the owner at that time, Doug McKinley, donated it back to the town. The Murchison and District Historical Society Inc. carried out the work of transporting and installing it on this site in 1988.
It bears the inscription: Donated by Annis and George Bills, Australia.
British born George was one of a family of fourteen children. With some of his brothers he emigrated to Victoria in 1873, and married Annis Swarm in 1885, and died at the age of 68 in 1927. During his lifetime he developed a highly profitable business making spring wire bed underlays, which supported horsehair, straw or kapok filled mattresses.
Annis predeceased George by several years, and as they had no children, he wrote his will, leaving the sum of £70,000 (equivalent to $2.5 Mil.) in trust for the welfare of animals. The fund has been administered through the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), which at the time, ran the Tally Ho Rest Home for pets and the Animal Rescue Centre in Burwood, Victoria.
The most conspicuous visible memorial to his legacy was to pay for the manufacture and installation of 7000 horse drinking troughs throughout the world, 500 of which were in Australia. Some incorporated a bowl for the dogs and a tap for the boss. These were made at the Rocla Pipe Co. in Hawthorn, Victoria.
The growth in motor transport in the 1950’s quickly made the troughs obsolete; however the Trust continues to provide a range of benefits to animals through the R.S.P.C.A.
Murchison & District Historical Society Inc. 2014
Not all the Bills troughs we see were made from the Rocla moulds. This one in Mullumbimby NSW would have been made with money supplied from the Bills Trust set up after George passed away in December 1927.
Ducks making good use of the trough in St Arnaud