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

  • MUHS bus trip to historic Braidwood, NSW

    Come with MUHS on our bus trip to the beautiful historic town of Braidwood, on Sunday 10 March 2019. It’s only a 1.5 hour drive by comfortable bus from Milton-Ulladulla to see one of NSW’s most picturesque historic towns, where many of the old town buildings have been preserved and restored.

  • Milton Ulladulla in 1883

    On 20 January 1883, the popular broadsheet publication ‘Australian Town and Country Journal’ published a unique insight into the district of Milton-Ulladulla. Called ‘Southern Pencillings’ and attributed to ‘The Raven’, it included several line drawings featuring Pigeon House mountain, Lake Conjola, Airlie House and Ulladulla Harbour.

  • Ulladulla’s famous Funland, and Rowen’s Arcade

    In the late 1940s and early 1950s, with my wife Doreen, we would spend many weekends in the Milton-Ulladulla area, spear fishing and water skiing. When King’s Point was subdivided, we had the first house built there by Millard and Ingold builders, as a weekender.

  • Farewell Joanne Ewin

    The Milton Ulladulla Historical Society (MUHS) recently lost one of its highly-valued Life Members with the passing of Joanne Ewin on 24 January 2018, a well-known and respected member of the Milton-Ulladulla community and a past secretary of MUHS.

  • 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.