26 March 2002
WILLS family, silver trophy cup engraved 'Geelong & Western District Agril. & Hortl. Society Champion Cup To Messrs McDonald & Wills, for Princess Maude the 8th, Octr 1876', the waisted cup chased with floral scrolls and diaper panels, leaf collar, on spreading shaped circular foot with corinthian leaves, 25.5 cm. height
The McDonald and Wills families were associated with the Western District of Victoria for some years. It was when John McDonald told Horatio Wills about his brother Peter's land in Queensland that Wills moved to Cullin-laringo. It was here in 1861 that Wills and 16 other whites were massacred by Aborigines. Horatio's son Tom was fortunately away during the attack and survived to become a leading force in Australian Rules Football and Cricket. He remained on good terms with the Aborigines, coaching them in cricket. He eventually became an alcoholic, descending into depression and committed suicide.
T.J. Sleep of Ballarat designed another trophy cup presented to the owner of the same Champion Draught Horse Mare in 1873, see, Leonard Joel sale, 5 July 1993, lot 540. However the present cup is attributed to William Edwards who made a similar trophy cup in Melbourne in 1865.
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