The Harden Regional Development Corporation (HRDC) are working with a local sculpture to see the war horse Bill the Bastard cast in bronze in the town.
According to the ARDC a model sculpture of Bill the Bastard, Major Michael Shanahan from Roma in Queensland and the four Tassie Troopers saved during the battle of Romani, will be Bronzed to bear witness to the mateship between horse and soldier and to stand testament to the enduring symbol of fortitude, strength and perseverance of the Australian Light Horse.
The group said a simple error in Roland Perry's book, Bill the Bastard, states that a 'life sized' statue rather than a 'life like' statue, is to be found in Harden-Murrumburrah. Carl Valerius, a local craftsman who made the original small sculpture, proceeded to sculpt the life size version of Bill the Bastard.
With enormous community support this magnificent model created to honour the Australian Light Horse, was unveiled on August 6, 2016, on the centenary of the Battle of Romani. The community, called to action by Faye Valerius and friends, formed a group, now an incorporated company, to raise the funds required to bronze, the model sculpture of Bill the Bastard.
Crawford’s Casting in Sydney has been engaged by HDRC to complete the work.
“Bill the Bastard was a Waler breed, a hardy type of horse bred under the extreme climate and challenging working conditions of Australia,” a HRDC spokesperson said. "The term ‘bastard’ in this instance was much more a term of endearment than an insult among the Lighthorsemen who fought in World War I.”
According to the spokesperson Bill was a massive 17.1 hands high, weighed approximately 730 kg and had strength and intelligence unmatched by any others of his breed.
“He had only one problem – he was the most cantankerous horse that had ever been encountered by the Lighthorsemen,” the spokesperson said.
Once completed, the bronzed statue of Bill will be located in a highly visible Memorial site on the Burley Griffin Way in Murrumburrah.