The ‘Bronze, Bill the Bastard’ committee has been established to organise the bronzing of the life-sized sculpture of the famous war-horse (Bill the Bastard) and his five troopers. Local craftsman Carl Valerius conceived and produced the sculpture to reflect Major Shanahan and Bill the Bastard’s saving of four
Tassie Troopers in the WW1 Battle of Romani in 1916.
Carl has now started work on making the moulds that are sent to Sydney for bronzing.
“Crawford’s Foundry in Strathfield has done a fantastic job on the bronzing of the first trooper. The detail is incredible,” said Carl.
Carl’s studio is in the old mill building, on the corner of Albury Street and Bathurst Street, in Murrumburrah. Visitors are encouraged to join Carl who will enthusiastically immerse you in the Bill the Bastard story and even take you through the steps in the moulding and bronzing process.
The bronzing of the complex sculpture is a very specialised and expensive process. The committee has set to work to secure the funds required so the bronzed sculpture can be placed in the Lighthorse Memorial in Murrumburrah, in time for the Centenary of ANZAC celebrations in November 2018.
Rhys Gray, Chair of the Committee, explained that the committee is applying for incorporation to allow Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.
“Once we have these items sorted, all donations over $2 will be tax deductible.”
“We are also applying for grants and have a crowd-funding program scheduled later in the year to help finish the project.”
Rhys shared that the committee was appreciative of the widespread community support, currently $75,000 in kind, and that of the Hilltops Council and Harden Regional Development Corporation (HRDC).
The committee estimates the economic benefit of regular visitors to Harden-Murrumburrah will increase jobs in the town, with the sculpture/studio currently hosting up to 8 visitors per day from all over Australia.
Bill the Bastard Unveiling Lead Up
Promotional video for the unveiling of the Bill The Bastard life-size sculpture on August 6th 2016.
Published 01/08/16, MAT MILLER
Inspiration By The Fire – Bill The Bastard
Upon walking into the workshop owned by Carl Valerious, it’s as if you have been transported to another relm [sic]. The fire is burning, the creativity and hard work that is being produced can be seen on every angle. I notice the very distinct aroma of bee’s wax, which Carl tells me he uses a lot, along with petroleum jelly to crete [sic] his pieces of work. Carl’s latest project ‘Bill the bastard’ stands at a very impressive 17.1 hands high. It has a working, inner steel frame and the body is carved from polystyrene. Carl’s attention to detail is magnificent, and he expressed the importance of having the correct dimensions when constructing such pieces. The original ‘Bill the Bastard’ weighed in at an impressive 730kgs. He carried five men, (350kg) galloping for the last three kilometres taking them to safety from the Turks in WWl. During some of his battles he would be ridden for 5 hours. He out did other horses that were only expected to last half an hour, thus making him a legend.
Carl gives praise to Kevin Maher for his knowledge and contribution towards the project, to the extent of Kevin locating a horse shoe from 1917 to make a replication. Carl has also made five hats, five bayonets, and is working towards ten boots and 48 ammunition pouches. He is dedicating a lot of time to the construction of the men, almost finishing a soldier that will be in the strips. Carl’s work has gained the attention of ‘The Senior’s’ newspaper, ‘Motorcycles Magazine’ and on the local news. Carl comes from a very creative family, his cousin, Julie Ricketts has been inspired by the subject and is painting an oil painting of ‘Bill the Bastard’. So far Carl has completed nearly 300 hours work, towards what will be a very impressive display in Murrumburrah.