Bendigo Advertiser letters to the editor

Historic horse troughs belong to the people

I write in response to the letter by Ray Andrews of Spring Gully regarding the moving of the Bills Horse Trough into the grounds of the One Tree Hill Hotel. 

As Ray said, these BHTs were made available for the use by the communities around Australia and also some overseas locations by the thanks to the kindness of the benefactors Annis and George Bills.

These troughs were purchased at a low cost and an agreement was made with the councils that these troughs would be maintained and water supplied, including the dog troughs at the base of each one.

These troughs therefore belong to the people and the councils are the caretakers.

Bills Horse Troughs are one of our areas of research and we have photographed many. There are three troughs listed on the BHT researcher George Gemmill's files in the Bendigo region that now appear to be missing - or perhaps I should say were at the time of our trip to Bendigo.

These are:  Epsom - was outside the Turf Club Hotel; Strathdale - was outside the former Bulls Head Hotel, McIvor Highway and Long Gully - was in Eaglehawk Road near the Rose of Australia Hotel. 

Several years ago we raised this matter with the Bendigo Council and our concerns appear to have fallen on deaf ears.

If anyone knows where these troughs may have gone to, plus any others that we are not aware of, that would be much appreciated by my husband Wayne and me, plus many others who document these troughs as a very important part of Australian history.

The BHTs are a salute to the horses, their owners, dogs and the community - before motor vehicles these were a significant part of society.

It is reported that the Bills were also instrumental in the early setup of the RSPCA. Wayne and I can be contacted by email with any information:

Judi McKail, Maryborough

Time for a republic 

It's clear that any person with even a whiff of citizenship of a foreign land cannot serve as a politician in our Parliament. And yet the person with the  ultimate political power of Australia is unmistakably British- and doesn't even live in this country. I refer of course to Queen Elizabeth. How contradictory is that? It's time for us to have an Australian head of state - time for the Republic.

Ian Braybrook, Castlemaine

Need for representation

Re the proposed ratepayer’s association having a sub-branch in Bendigo. This seems a very good idea, but one should find out the articles of association and rules to ascertain what it will stand for in our community.

As a past member of the Victorian Ratepayer’s Association I can see real benefits  in being an “incorporated body”  providing legal protection to it’s officers  and the  spokespersons who will represent it.

It certainly will have more clout than certain individuals voicing their objections to council policies and achieving nothing. Remember the petitions taken up to save the Kangaroo Flat Community Centre and other petitions which  where  ignored. And the continual attack by the Municipal Association of Victoria on rate-capping . It would also be a strong voice to the government of the day and the Local Government Minister.

The danger of course is to ensure it really represents the ratepayer and does not become a clique or claque just supporting certain areas of the local government and council proposals. Will it represent the voice of the poor suffering ratepayer is the question?

Bill Collier, Golden Square