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Treasured trough in Wallan East

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By Colin MacGillivray

MEMBERS of a history group are concerned a piece of Wallan East’s heritage is being overlooked in a proposed development on Station Street.

Developers applied to amend a Mitchell Shire Council planning permit to pave the way for a $14 million development comprising apartments, a childcare centre, and retail shops including a supermarket, bottle shop, cafe and tavern opposite Wallan Railway Station earlier this year.

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Wallan Wallan and Surrounds Historical Group member Christine Ogilvie said while the group did not oppose the development, it was concerned about the relocation of a Bills horse trough included in the plans.

The trough, which currently sits opposite the station, was one of many manufactured in Australia during the 1920s and 30s as part of a trust fund established through the will of George Bills, who along with his wife Annis, supported animal welfare projects.

Ms Ogilvie said the group had urged council to protect the trough after it became neglected, and was worried the development would see it fall into ruin.

“We spoke to council and got it cleaned up because it was infested with weeds and basically on the roadside being used as a rubbish bin,” she said.

“When I looked at the plans it was in between two car parks. I thought that was pretty awful to have it shoved down the back. It’s really not showcasing it.”

Ms Ogilvie said she and other members of the history group had already submitted complaints to council about the plans.

She said if the developers made an effort to feature the trough it could become a tourist drawcard.

“There is a trough trail like the silo art trail where people drive around to see them,” she said.

“There is a square where they want to put a public art piece. Why not put it into that area where there is seating and people can sit and view the trough?

“I would love to see some signage on the history of the troughs and perhaps some pictorial history boards with photographs of the local history of the station precinct.

“We’ve hardly got any history left in this area. The community want to have what little history we’ve got preserved.”

Council chief executive Brett Luxford said council was intent on moving the trough to a more prominent location and would discuss a suitable place with the developer – hopefully to a prominent location on public land on Station Street in front of the subject development.

“This alternate location for the horse trough is to be addressed during the council determination,” he said.

People can make a supporting or objecting submission regarding the permit for the development before Saturday.

Plans are available to view at

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  1. I totally agree, it should be a feature, not tucked away to be forgotten about. It’s interesting to see the ways of earlier times, especially when it’s in your own area. There is one in Malmsbury also, and they have it in the main street. When passersby stop in the town, often they will walk over to the trough when they spot it and if not even take the family over to it as well.
    It’s a great local piece of history, let’s not neglect it.

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