Bill the Bastard arrives home

Major Shanahan and Bill the Bastard get much needed rest under a date palm. Photo Supplied by Terry Shanahan
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Great news last week, as Bill the Bastard arrived home to Harden Murrumburrah and is now safely stabled in the Murrumburrah studio while the final arrangements are made for his permanent site.

Harden Murrumburrah is the birthplace of the Australian Light Horse, with Captain James Alexander Kenneth Mackay calling the 1st Australian horse muster in Harden in 1897.

Bill the Bastard was a ‘Waler’, so named because he came from New South Wales. Walers usually stood between 14 and 16 hands, but Bill stood at 17 hands. Unlike most of the horses sent to war, Bill had never been fully broken-in before leaving Australian shores. Serving in the Middle Eastern theatre of the conflict, the stallion was notorious for his unrelenting stubbornness, endurance and courage. Bill became a legend at the Battle of Romani, where he and Major Michael Shanahan rescued four Tasmanian troops from certain death on the battlefield. Sculptor Carl Valerius has honoured Bill and Major Shanahan’s legacy with a true-to-scale statue depicting their rescue effort during the battle, in which Major Shanahan lost his left leg.

The whole community had pulled together to fund this project with a formal committee overseeing the entire project. There is much excitement and anticipation about when Bill will be given his final home and great unveiling.

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