Horse Trough in High Street, Epping

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Horse Trough by Wendy Lowry

How many times have you driven along High Street, Epping near Park Street and not noticed the concrete horse trough  on the side of the road?

Well I am sure there would be lots of people who did not know it was there.

It turns out it was one of many scattered around Victoria as a generous gift from a Melbourne philanthropist and animal lover who wanted to ensure horses could always have a cool drink.

George Bills and his wife Annis had no children but were devoted to animal rights and joined the Victorian Society for the Protection of Animals, a forerunner to the RSPCA today.

In his last will before his death in 1927, George bequeathed his estate of an estimated £80,000 to easing the suffering of animals  by instructing his Trustees to erect horse troughs where they thought it necessary.

From 1930 to 1939 between 500 and 700 concrete troughs were built at a cost of £13 each. All were inscribed  “Donated by Annis and George Bills Australia”