Historic horse troughs

AT Sunday’s meeting of the Narooma Historical Society Julie Worldon shared her passion for the Bills Horse Trough.

A chance discovery of a horse trough in Henty, NSW sparked Ms Worldon’s interest.

She set out to find every horse trough donated by the estate of George Bills. She discovered there were over 500 such troughs in Australia. Ms Worldon can across George Gemmill of Stanhope, Victoria who has visited 329 of the trough sites. The closest Bills Horse Troughs in our area are in Milton and Captain’s Flat.

When George Bills died in 1927 he left the bulk his estate to form a trust fund to supply horse troughs for the relief of horses and other animals.

The troughs were made from a standard mould, which included an inscription, “Donated by Annis and George Bills Australia”. Annis was George’s wife.

The troughs were also available to communities in England, Ireland, Switzerland and Japan.

With the popularity of cars, horses were no longer the prime mode of transport and troughs were not installed after World War II.

“Today you rarely see a horse trough, except perhaps at a pony club or museum,” Ms Worldon said.

The Narooma Historical Society is keen for information about any Bills Horse Troughs in Narooma and can be contacted on 4476 5284.

National Museum of Australia is looking for a Bills Horse Trough to use in an upcoming exhibition.

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