The legislative unveiling of Bill the Bastard by the Hon. Steph Cooke MP will take place on Friday 8th July 2022 at 1pm. This event will officially complete the acquittal process for the grants obtained to fund the statue. All are welcome to attend.

The formal unveiling and commemoration of Bill the Bastard, currently planned to become an annual commemorative event, will be held on a date yet to be announced. We look forward to this event that will involve the Light Horse Re-enactment Troop, relatives of Major Shanahan and all those folk Australia wide who have followed this project with great interest.

Bill has arrived home and is now in the Murrumburrah studio.
Details about where he will be permanently sited are yet to be finalised.
Bill can be viewed through the studio doors in Murrumburrah and close up viewings can be arranged by phoning Carl.

These recent photos show the fully assembled statue after sandblasting and prior to patina being applied. The patina process takes about nine days after which Bill will be transported to Murrumburrah.

Work on Bill is progressing nicely and full assembly of the statue is estimated to be late July. Note the heavy-duty stainless steel armature that is required for support. The photos show one leg that has been cut apart for insertion of the steel support tubing then welded back together. If possible the completed statue will be mounted on site later this year. No date has been set for the 2021 unveiling ceremony at this stage.


Newsflash: Covid-19 pandemic impact on planned August 2020 BTB unveiling ceremony:

  • There will not be an unveiling ceremony for the Bill the Bastard statue this August.
  • The unveiling ceremony will now be scheduled for a date, yet to be determined, in 2021.
  • It may be at least 12 months before an official unveiling ceremony can be held.
  • The statue is on target to be completed this June/July and, hopefully, be installed on-site later this year.


Watch this space for further updates and progress photos of the statue assembly which will be available for posting in the near future.


Final funding for Bronze Bill the Bastard

Published 25/07/19 Hilltops Phoenix

Hats, straps and canteen (top left) Partially completed saddle (top right) Bill (bottom left) Cast portion of soldier (bottom right).

The funding target for Bronze Bill the Bastard has been reached, with two donations pushing it over the line.

Jericho Cup donated $25,000 and sculptor Carl Valerius donated $12,000 to reach the target.

Funding for the project has come from a number of sources, with thanksbeing paid to Hilltops community members, Hilltops Council, the Hon Steph Cooke MP and the State Government, local philanthropists and community organisations as well as Jericho Cup and Carl Valerius.

After an error in a book about Bill the Bastard by Roland Perry stated a life size sculpture, rather than life like sculpture, could be found in Harden Murrumburrah resulting in a lot of visitors, local sculptor Carl Valerius proceeded to sculpt a life-sized version of Bill the Bastard.

Fundraising is now complete to bronze the life-sized sculpture.

Crawford’s Casting has been engaged to complete the bronzing. It will take 4 months to complete Bill and a month for each soldier.

The unveiling date is yet to be determined, likely to be announced in early 2020.

Macca interviews Carl for “Australia All Over”.

Wednesday 18th July 2018

The Interview was broadcast ABC Radio, 22nd July 2018.

Canberra Caravan Club members visit Bill.

Saturday 19th May 2018

Members of the Club (pictured below) were impressed and moved by Carl’s rendition of Bill’s story, and the processes he uses in the studio. Club President, renowned cartoonist Ian Sharpe, produced the cartoon above for the Club newsletter. A ‘cell’ is a make of American caravan.

Canberra MG Car Club members visit Bill.

Saturday 5th May 2018

Central West Lifestyle magazine: GET YOUR COPY TODAY

Central West Lifestyle magazine has generously included a story on the project of ‘Bronzing, Bill the Bastard’ (BBTB) and the Australian Light Horse. (pp 114-118). The article includes the full Genevieve Liebich speech which is informative and highly entertaining, as well as three delightfully informative pages, packed full of great images.

An additional two pages devoted to Harden-Murrumburrah and surrounds, tells the story of the Twin Towns’ unique personalities, accessible from the southern gateway of Jugiong,

Central West Lifestyle magazine’s continued support of rural and regional communities, through quality stories and enticing advertising, provides a wealth of information, captivating many and encouraging visitation to regional NSW.

‘Bronze, Bill the Bastard’ Ltd, are incredibility grateful to Central West Lifestyle magazine for their support in helping to spread Bill’s story and our nationally significant project of Bronzing, Australia’s Greatest Warhorse.

Purchasing this magazine to add to your Bill the Bastard collection and perhaps placing this high quality, entertaining and informative publication on your coffee table for guests and friends to read, would be a wonderful way to help spread the story of Bill the Bastard.

Add a book mark at page 114!!

Thanks for your support,


Major Shanahan’s grandson visits ‘Bill’

Published 30/11/2017, JODY POTTS, Harden Express

Terry Shanahan, grandson of Michael Shanahan with Carl Valerius

Terry Shanahan, grandson of Major Michael Shanahan, visits with sculptor Carl Valerius and shares some of his famous grandfather’s history.

Terry Shanahan, from Killarney in Queensland, recently made the trip to Murrumburrah to see the Carl Valerius statue that is a monument to his grandfather Michael Shanahan and his infamous horse ‘Bill the Bastard’.

“My grandfather died in 1964, the year I joined the Royal Australian Air Force, but I have memories of him and of course there are lots of family stories.” Mr Shanahan said.

“One of my clearest memories of him was from when I was a child, maybe four or five. My mother took me into a big department store in Queensland where my grandfather was operating the lift. He only had one leg, which of course, was fascinating for a little boy, and he used two walking sticks to get around. I was told later that he flatly refused to used crutches.”

It seems Major Michael Shanahan’s heroics began long before he joined the Lighthorse during the first World War.

“My family have told me that during massive floods in Roma Queensland, I am not sure of the year, my grandfather used to use an old tin boat to take food across to people who were stranded – at some great personal risk I might add.” Mr Shanahan said. “His nickname in the family was ‘The Bloke”, and he earned the reputation of being somewhat of a ‘Robin Hood’ during the depression of 1890.”

“Family history has it that he used to sneak out to wealthy properties and slaughter a beast, then distribute the meat amongst the poor families in town who could not afford to feed their children. That little escapade made him very popular in town, but I am not sure how the farmers felt about it.” Mr Shanahan said.

“Another story was that he rode 200km on a pushbike during the  1890 Depression to get work as a carpenter and once won a five pound bet for a hurdle race – big money in those days. He also had trophies as a young man for Irish dancing – I’m not sure how that came about.”

“As an older man, I know he never missed an ANZAC march, he never smoked or drank and ate porridge for his breakfast every day, he said it was these habits that afforded him a long life. He even built himself a skateboard to get around on, there was no stopping him.”

Mr Shanahan’s uncle, the last remaining child of Michael Shanahan passed away just a few weeks ago.

“It is up to our generation now, to remember Michael Shanahan as the strong Aussie bloke he was. He would have been proud of Carl’s sculpture, I am sure. I can’t wait to see it completed.  I believe my grandfather was one of the original ‘horse whisperers’ and that is how he won Bill over – that and the licorice allsorts he carried.”

‘Bill the bastard’ mentioned by Prime Minister at the commemoration of the Battle of Beersheba

Published 08/11/2017, JODY POTTS, Harden Express

Chairman Rhys Gray

Chairman Rhys Gray

The inaugural meeting of the directors of Bronze, Bill the Bastard Limited was held recently as part of a plan to recognise the heroics of the iconic horse.

The company was formed to raise enough funds to have the life-size statue of Bill the Bastard sculpted by Carl Valerius, cast in bronze and mounted in Murrumburrah as a memorial to the waler horses who fought so bravely in World War I.

This meeting came just days before the commemoration to mark 100 years since the Battle of Beersheba, where Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gathered in southern Israel to watch as descendants of the original Anzacs paraded on horseback and performed a scaled down re-enactment of the charge.

“The leaders of our three nations are here assembled because we are honouring an extraordinary battle, an extraordinary campaign, which made history, which fulfilled history,” Mr Turnbull said.

“A tale of incredible courage, of men and horses.”

“Bill the Bastard – that was a horse, that was a horse, I hasten to add – he was unrideable. He was a rogue and one Michael Shanahan managed to ride him, managed to break him in.”

The battle was a crucial victory in the Middle East campaign that enabled the Allies to break the Turkish line in what is now southern Israel and capture Jerusalem weeks later. Bill was a part of that battle.

The company, Bronze, Bill the Bastard Limited, was incorporated on June 13, 2017, and Dr Rhys Gray was elected chairman of the board of directors.

“I am delighted that Bill and the Light Horse were referred to by the Prime Minister during his speech at the re-enactment of the Battle of Beersheba,” Dr Gray said.

“The Bronze, Bill the Bastard Limited board of directors are committed to bronzing this sculpture and giving Bill the recognition he deserves.”

Destination Southern NSW tourism boost for Hilltops

Published 09/08/2017, JODY POTTS, Harden Express

The Destination Southern NSW group, accompanied by David Newberry from Hilltops Council stopped off to visit with sculptor Carl Valerius. Picture by Keith Ward.

The Destination Southern NSW group, accompanied by David Newberry from Hilltops Council stopped off to visit with sculptor Carl Valerius. Picture by Keith Ward.

The NSW Government will invest $43 million over four years in a major overhaul in the way regional and rural areas attract visitors, including the creation of six new Destination Networks throughout NSW.

Harden Murrumburrah is part of the ‘Destination Southern NSW’ group, which covers the areas from Hilltops through to Crookwell and Eurobodalla through to the Snowy Mountains and Yass, including the Canberra region.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events Stuart Ayres said the new networks will work closely with local government, tourism organisations and operators, as well as collaborate on campaigns with Destination NSW and a new Destination NSW regional division.

“The networks will improve industry engagement and better development of visitor experiences and products. Destination NSW is the state’s expert body in tourism campaigns, marketing and programs and their assistance in building the new regional networks will make a positive difference,” Mr Ayres said.

“By investing around $10 million a year in support of the new regional initiatives we aim to bolster our efforts in attracting visitors to regional and rural NSW. The NSW Government has a goal of doubling overnight visitor expenditure by 2020, and we know that regional tourism is an important driver in meeting this target.”

A group from Destination Southern NSW team, accompanied by David Newberry from Hilltops Council, visited the Hilltops region last week and stopped off in Young, Harden Murrumburrah and Jugiong to ‘meet the makers’, including our own sculptor Carl Valerius.

“The group were very impressed with the region as a tourism destination.” Mr Newberry said. “They commented that there is great potential to reflect on the culture and heritage of the towns.”

Carl Valerius donates a bust of a Lighthorsemen

04/08/17, HRDC – Michelle Kennett

Carl presents the bust to Peter

HRDC conducted a 4 session strategy workshop where participants, both business and community groups, developed a 3 to 5 year strategic plan. Carl kindly donated this wonderful bust of a Lighthorsemen from the ‘Bronze, Bill the Bastard’ project which went to Peter Beal representing the Harden Racecourse Users Group. The group will use this prize as a raffle to raise funds for projects at the racecourse. Congratulations Peter. A huge thank you must go to Carl Valerius for his continued support of events and projects that deliver renewed strength and sustainability to the Twin Towns of Harden Murrumburrah. Thanks Carl, your ongoing contribution and enthusiasm is highly valued and appreciated.

Cootamundra Probus Ladies inspect ‘Bill the Bastard’ with sculptor Carl Valerius.

25/07/17, BTB Committee

Robyn McMellon, Secretary, and the Cootamundra Probus Ladies visited Carl’s, studio on the 14th July to view the “work in progress” of bringing to fruition the bronzing of a life sized statue of Bill the Bastard and Bill’s five riders.

‘Bill the Bastard’ has more visitors

Published 08/07/2017, JODY POTTS, Harden Express

Bill the Bastard visitors

Sculptor Carl Valerius was thrilled to have visitors from the local Tourist Information Centres visit ‘Bill the Bastard’ in his studio. Picture: Keith Ward

Even though sculptor Carl Valerius is hard at work every day, preparing moulds that will allow his tribute to the great war horse ‘Bill the Bastard’ to be bronzed, he always has time for a cuppa and a chat when visitors stop by his studio to admire ‘Bill’.

“It is amazing how many visitors we are getting at the studio!” Mr Valerius said. “We are averaging about eight a day, according to our Visitor’s Book”

“The last group we had was from the local Tourist Information Centres of Young, Boorowa and Rye Park.”Mr Valerius said. “It was organised by Mr David Newberry, from Hilltops Council, to educate the information officers about ‘Bill’ as a point of interest for visitors to the area.”

“But the visit that made me the most humble was from a couple from Gladstone, Donna and Lyall Rogers. Donna read about ‘Bill’ in Roland Perry’s book. She decided she wanted to see him for her birthday, so they flew to Canberra, hired a car and drove out to Murrumburrah. They went to the War Memorial the next day, then flew home to Gladstone”

Portrait of Bill the Bastard is returned home to Murrumburrah

Published 20/06/2017, JODY POTTS, Harden Express

Bill the Bastard

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba presents sculptor Carl Valerius with the painting of ‘Bill the Bastard’ that she won earlier this year. Picture: Keith Ward

Bill the Bastard has returned home. The magnificent painting by renowned equestrian artist Julie Ricketts, was raffled earlier this year to raise money for the bronzing of the magnificent sculpture of ‘Bill’ by Carl Valerius The raffle was won by Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba, but she made the decision to donate the painting back to the ‘Bronze, Bill the Bastard committee, which has recently obtained business status.

Mayor Saliba’s husband, Les Dawes was very taken with the painting, as his grandfather was in a Lighthorse regiment.

“I would have loved to have hung on to the painting, because of my ties through my grandfather,” Mr Dawes said. “But I agree with my wife, the painting belongs in Murrumburrah.”

Sculptor Carl Valerius is very grateful to mayor Saliba for donating the painting back to the fundraising committee.

“It is a very generous gift to the Bronze, Bill the Bastard committee and I am happy to know that it will remain in Murrumburrah,” Mr Valerius said.

BBTB; News Update

14 June 2017

From the Chairman ‘Bronze, Bill the Bastard’ (BBTB) Committee

Dr Rhys Gray.

Corporate Structure – Update

I am pleased to advise that our Sydney lawyers, Makinson d’Apice have informed us today that the company ‘Bronze, Bill The Bastard’ (BBTB) has been registered and that the Australian Tax Office has issued an ABN.

The BBTB group decided that a limited liability company structure was required to seek the necessary approvals to fundraise and apply for grants to bronze Carl Valerius’ life sized statue of Australia’s Famous Warhorse – ‘Bill the Bastard’, Major Michael Shanahan and the four Tassie troopers: refer to

Dr Gray said that the next step is to register with the ACNC to achieve charitable status, then approval from Fair Trading, NSW to allow us to raise funds for the project. The company is applying for deductible gift recipient status (DGR) so that any donor can claim donations over $2 as a tax deduction.

The ‘Bronze, Bill the Bastard’ group has also been informed by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) that our company constitution will allow the ‘Bronze, Bill The Bastard’ company to “piggy back” on FRRR’s DGR status. FRRR is a not for profit organisation that was set up to assist organisations in rural communities to qualify for tax deductible gift recipient status.

Dr Gray is pleased that the corporate and legal processes are almost completed, to allow the ‘Bronze, Bill The Bastard’ group to start fund raising in a few weeks.

Rhys Gray,
Chairman, BBTB.

Bill the Bastard Sculpture to be bronzed

11/05/2017, MICHELLE KENNETT, BBTB Committee

‘Bronzing, Bill the Bastard’ -Join us on this exciting journey……

Bill, Australia’s most famous WW1 Warhorse, was a feisty 17.1 hand Waler who had a reputation for throwing his mounts, a fact that Australia’s renowned poet, Banjo Paterson exploited to the detriment of the officers and the reason for Bill being affectionately named ‘Bill the Bastard.’ Bill was eventually befriended, with helpings of liquorice allsorts, by Michael Shanahan who became Bill’s only trusted mount.

Bill served, at Anzac Cove in 1915, saved four Tassie troopers from certain death in 1916 at the battle of Romani and as a packhorse carrying machine guns in the charge at Beersheba in 1917. Bill also won the 5 km Jericho cup in 1918.

Bill is an enduring symbol of the fortitude, strength and perseverance of the Australian Light Horse.

Roland Perry’s book, ‘Bill the Bastard,’ stated a ‘life sized’ statue rather than a ‘life like’ statue, is to be found in Harden-Murrumburrah. This was the impetus for Carl Valerius, in true Aussie spirit, to take on the challenge and complete the life size maquette of Bill the Bastard, which was unveiled on the 6th August 2016
and will now be bronzed by the ‘Bronze, Bill the Bastard’ group.

The completed bronze statue of Bill and his 5 riders will be placed in the 1st Australian Horse & Australian Light Horse Memorial in Murrumburrah, a fitting place to commemorate Australia’s greatest Warhorse.

We ask that you help us spread the story across Australia, of this magnificent horse, by becoming one of ‘Bill the Bastards’ Ambassadors.


Bronzed Aussie arrives in Harden

The ‘Bill the Bastard’ statue in Murrumburrah.

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

[Rich_Web_Video id=”1″] 

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.


Bill The Bastard and the horses of war

Max Presnell
Published 24/05/2015. MAX PRESNELL. Sydney Morning Herald.
A better stayer than Phar Lap, and if you want to quibble even superior to Peter Pan, considered the more powerful two miler.
Read the full article here.