Locals gathered in Harden last week for the official opening of the bronze sculpture of hero war horse Bill the Bastard.
The sculpture by Carl Valerius and bronzed by Matt Crawford of Crawford's Casting has been years in the making with Member for Riverina Michael McCormack, Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke, Hilltops Council Mayor Margaret Roles and a number of other Councillors attending the unveiling at Harden.
There were also two other special guests with Brigadier Glen Ryan from Victoria Barracks in Sydney, along with 97-year-old Keith Taylor who travelled from Uranquinty for the occasion.
Harden is the home of the Light Horse, a group of the military that played an integral role in the Boer War and World War I.
Bill the Bastard was one of the many horses that served the country with the Waler bred gelding believed to have been over 17hh (over 173cm) tall.
In 2018 the Harden Regional Development Corporation were working hard with Mr Valerius and Mr Crawford on getting the sculpture under way after a simple error in Roland Perry's book, Bill the Bastard, stated that a 'life sized' statue rather than a 'life like' statue could be found in Harden-Murrumburrah.
"Bill the Bastard was a Waler breed, a hardy type of horse bred under the extreme climate and challenging working conditions of Australia," a HRDC spokesperson said at the time.
"The term 'bastard' in this instance was much more a term of endearment than an insult among the Light Horsemen who fought in World War I."
Mr Valerius has been working tirelessly on creating the sculpture and has finally seen the end result in its final home.
"To have an idea and believe in it, you can achieve almost anything," he said.
The sculpture of Bill the Bastard also includes Major Michael Shanahan from Roma in Queensland and the four Tassie Troopers saved during the battle of Romani.
According to its creators and the HRDC the sculpture bears witness to the mateship between horse and soldier and to stand as a testament to the enduring symbol of fortitude, strength and perseverance of the Australian Light Horse.
In 2020 the sculpture returned home to Harden as the final preparations for its final site were being made, visitors were able to see the sculpture at Mr Valerius' studio in Harden as the arrangements were made.
Over that time Bill became very popular with both visitors and locals who wanted to look at the amazing and detailed work of the great horse.
The sculpture of 'Bill the Bastard' can be found at the First Australian Horse and Australian Light Horse Memorial precinct in Murrumburrah.
To find out more about the process of how the sculpture was created be sure to visit https://billthebastard.org/.