Horses benefit from Bills’ generosity

At the back of the Milton Showground on Croobyar Road is a simple horse trough with the inscription ‘Donated by Annis & George Bills, Australia‘. It is one of an estimated 7,000 troughs around Australia that were financed from the Estate of George Bills, who died in1927.

 

Inscription detail on the Bills horse trough, Milton

 

There were even some erected in England where the funds were administered by the Metropolitan Drinking Fountain & Cattle Trough Association.

Born in the English town of Brighton, George Bills, with his parents Richard Elizabeth and brothers migrated to New Zealand in 1869.

A keen ornithologist, Richard imported birds from England for Acclimatization Societies in New Zealand whose aim was to make the colonies look as much as possible like home.

The family moved on to Australia in 1873, to Brisbane, where George married the English-born Annis Swan. George manufactured the Lethe brand of mattresses, doing well from the venture.

The couple did not have any children, but they worked enthusiastically for causes related to animal welfare. Sadly, Annis died whilst on a visit to England in 1910.

George is said to have been instrumental in establishing the RSPCA & became a Life Governor of that organization in 1924.

 

Bills Horse trough in Milton Showgrounds

 

Prior to his death he established a trust so that his £80,000 estate could be used for the benefit of animals.

Over the years he had observed horses hauling heavy loads over long distances in hot weather, with neither shade nor water. This thinking led to the construction of the cast concrete water troughs that were constructed over all over the countryside in the next decade.

There was not one common design, as some larger models were designed to cater for draught horses & camels and others, like the one at Milton, had a special section at one end from which dogs could drink. Other Bills horse troughs in the Shoalhaven district can be found in Bomaderry, Illaroo Road and Nowra Showground.

 

Heritage trees in Milton Ulladulla
Hotel Marlin, Ulladulla - post WW2 luxury

Tags: , ,

Latest Articles

  • Have you found Millards Creek Weir, Ulladulla?

    Have you seen a piece of Ulladulla’s history, existing since 1861, near a busy road, but only noticed by a few pedestrians? It is the weir over Millards Creek, 20 metres off St Vincent Street, looking west.

  • Heritage trees in Milton Ulladulla

    The heritage fig in Milton is a well-known landmark and much loved by locals and visitors and the historic elm outside the Anglican church is also an important part of Milton’s history.

  • The day the Milton Show exploded

    In the late 1940s, Milton Shows were still fairly frugal affairs and offered little entertainment for small children. Children quite naturally created their own fun.

  • A Milton ‘institution’, Matron Gwenda Porter

    Gwenda Porter arrived in Milton by bus in 1940 and was said to have told the bus driver that she would be back on it the next day after seeing how small the town and hospital were. Instead, she stayed on as Matron at Milton Ulladulla Hospital for the next 32 years, retiring in 1972 and then continuing to live in the district until her death.

  • Milton pioneer William Henry Wilford

    Milton’s 19th century prosperity was partly built on the expanding dairy industry, established by pioneers like William Wilford on the rich volcanic monzonite soil that surrounds the town.