Newcastle Jockey Club Chairman Geoff Barnett, along with representatives from Soldier On, were on hand at Cessnock Racecourse to officially unveil a lifesize statue of legendary war horse ‘Bill the Bastard”.
“The giant statue is a tribute to the courageous men, women and horses who served our nation, and reflects the critically important role of horses in Australia’s military history, in particular, Bill,” said Mr. Barnett.
“Bill was a true Aussie war hero whose legendary feats earned him the title of Australia’s greatest war horse. Bill was big, strong, fearless, intelligent and tough with a cantankerous nature – he only ever allowed one man to ride him in battle - Major Michael Shanahan,” he added.
Beneficiaries of fundraising at the race day were the veteran support charity Soldier On, who assist modern-day veterans and their families in the Hunter, Newcastle and Central Coast.
Soldier On’s Local Support Officer Dan Jeffery said he was pleased with the support received from racegoers through gold coin donations but even more proud of the team that restored the statue that now honours our service men, women and, of course horses.
“Soldier On is proud to be associated with this project and also the Cessnock Racecourse as it has provided our team with the opportunity to contribute to the local community and build an important memorial leading into Anzac Day,” said Dan Jeffrey.
Following the ceremony, racegoers enjoyed the afternoon trackside with a few rounds of Two-Up, entertainment by Venus Music and a Free Kids’ Zone that kept the littlies amused.Media Release