Ashford Refreshment Rooms 1929 (2017_03_02 23_41_20 UTC).jpg


Ted Smiths horse team (2017_03_02 23_41_20 UTC).jpg

Ted Smiths horse team


Coggans Truck in main St (2017_03_02 23_41_20 UTC).jpg

Coggans Truck in main Street



Richard Torbay and
Principal Michael Lewis. 2003


Merry's Wine Shanty, 'Merrydale', was located about 2km from Ashford on the Bonsahw road. It was also the first iron roofed building in Ashford.

Bukkulla village was established and property known as 'Bukkulla' was changed to 'Bukkulla Station'.

Ashford had a number of business houses in operation, including three hotels, Merry's Wine Shop, George Moore's Blacksmith's and Undertaker's shop, Kimmorley's store opposite the Sport Ground, Post Office and Dunman's Saddlery.

Wells' Crossing named after an incident when a carrier named Wells was hauling 37 bales of wool from an outlying property to Ashford. The wagon brakes failed when crossing the Severn River and the whole load was tipped into the river.  

Race courses had been established in succession on Frazer's Creek, where Sinclair Street now is, then at 'Cawdor' where the aerodrome is, then at the site of the present Golf Course, then just across the Frazer's Creek bridge and finally at a site just across the Severn River bridge.

W. H. Howard builds the first Public Hall.

Feb 20

The erection of a new school building was completed on a block adjacent to the existing building.


May 21

The Money Order system was reintroduced.




Mr R. A. Peberdy takes up duties as a teacher.


A year remembered as the worst drought on record. Frasers Creek Station lost 20,000 sheep out of 28,000.

A mid-1902 report said so many deadstock were in the creek that people had difficulty getting any water.



A school bell was erected after the teacher, Mr Peberdy wrote saying that 'most of the parents live within hearing of a bell and that one would tend to improve the punctuality of the pupils by enabling the parents to keep informed time'.


A town well is sunk in the park.

The post office was moved into a new building.

Lodge meetings were being held.

The State Member of Parliament, G. A. Jones, whose father had once been a schoolmaster at Ashford (see 1871), brought a government expert to Ashford to advise and educate farmers on the growing of tobacco.



New court house is built.

The old Union Church is sold.

Seven farms were growing tobacco with seed provided by the government. They received 8 to 10 pence per pound from travelling buyers. This encouraged other farmers to grow tobacco.



A telephone line was installed at the post office, making it possible to send and receive telegrams.



Ronald Johnston who had already built the Commercial Hotel builds a larger public hall.

New church opened.

Flue-curing of tobacco was introduced.

Local tobacco grower Hammond Watts produced the first flue-cured tobacco in the area. This leaf took first prize



Miss Mary Egan takes up a position as assistant teacher.



Ashford Shire Council was formed under the Local Government Act. B. C. Besley (Jnr) appointed as Shire President. Councillors were G. W. Dight, H. A. Fraser, J. Y. Black and R. J. Higgins.

An effigy of the German Kaiser is burned in the main street in celebration of the end of World War I.



Sheep have now taken over from cattle as the main farming income, with 185,000 head compared to 10,000 to 25,000 head of cattle in the district. Some of these were dairy cattle and their cream was sent to Inverell.

B. C. Besley was re-elected president of Ashford Shire Council.

After much Lobbying by George Arthur, 1100ha was set aside on the Severn River at Pindari for the Noocoorilma Aboriginal people. The place was named Sevington.


Jun 1

The status of the post office was raised to that of semi-official post office and delivery of telegrams within one mile was commenced. Mail arrival times included 3 am, 5:30 am, 9:30 pm, 10:30 pm and midnight.


Oct 15

A public telephone was installed at the post office.



R. J. Higgins elected as Shire President.


Ashford Presbyterian Parish became a separate parish.

Frazer's Creek Bridge was Officially opened by Mrs Higgins, wife of the then Ashford Shire President.

School of the Arts established in the school reserve.


Many Chinese were now growing tobacco on a share farming basis.

A telegraph messenger was employed by the post office.

Rev Arthur Setchell, a missionary, sets up camp at Sevington Mission Station at Pindari.



Ashford had a population of 343. Ashford Shire population 2490.

Coal mine had been opened.

Presbyterian Manse was built and occupied by the Rev Albert Bates.

A new school building is opened on Sevington with an enrolment of 10 girls and 15 boys.
There were now 91 Aboriginal people in residence on the mission station.


Jul 3

A branch of the Government Savings Bank was opened at the post office.



A bridge was built over the Severn River at a place that was then called New's Crossing.


The new shire council chambers was officially opened.

A Bush Nursing Service began.

The mails were now handled as follows: arrived from Inverell 6 days a week at midnight and despatched at 3 am; arrived from Bonshaw 3 days a week, twice at 7pm and once at 1:30 am and returned 3 days weekly at 3 am; Hadley's mail arrived 9am Sunday and returned that day at 7 pm; Pindari mail arrived twice weekly at 6 pm and left at 3 am; Rocky Creek mail left 7 am and arrived 6 pm



The Roman Catholic Church building was opened as part of the Inverell Parish.


An American won prizes in the Chicago Exposition of 1914 with tobacco cured at 'Beaumont' by Mr Howell
(Mr Howell later became the government tobacco expert in Queensland).


Bush Nursing centre was built.



A Parliamentary committee report was made on the feasibility of an Ashford rail link.

Ashford Shire Office erected.

Rev Setchell leaves Sevington mission station.

Missionary teacher Miss Eva Hagan suggests Sevington be renamed as Noorcoorilma.



New manager, Charles Burage arrives on Noocoorilma.

H. A. Fraser appointed as Shire President.

The Ashford Railway League was formed to try and secure the extension of the railway system from Inverell to Ashford.


M. Sinclair appointed as Shire President.


Miss Mary Egan takes up a position as assistant teacher.


Total Ashford Shire (550,000ha) population 2100. 300 people lived in the township.

Tobacco growing ceased.

Nov 8

The Bank of New South Wales opened a branch at Ashford

Record drought year.

Repeated calls were made for a railway branch line connection.

A man named Laverick blew up the hotel. Laverick shot the proprietor through the shoulder as he ran for the police and then shot himself. He died on the way to Inverell.


Ashford shire held a population of 2,137.


97% of the Ashford district's workforce involved in agriculture and pastoralism.

A prominent member of the Aboriginal people at Noorcoorilma mission station named Schoolmaster Jack, nicknamed after the type of coat he wore, died. Most of the ceremonies associated with Aboriginal culture ceased on Noocoorilma after his death.

H. A. Fraser appointed as Shire President.

Post office status was raised to that of Official Post Office.

The Ashford Branch of Oddfellows was formed.

Apr 12

W. A. Gardener, the first official postmaster, was appointed.



Noocoorilma mission station is closed down and the reserve was soon revoked.

A. F. Campbell elected as Ashford Shire President.

Rates at this time accounted for about 66% of the Shire's total expenditure.

Ashford Shire Council gives its support to having crown land repayments on land suspended for a period of two years due to the complete collapse of the cattle and meat markets generally.


An attempt to form a Deepwater - Ashford Railway Line was made.

Wallangra Bridge construction was begun and completed in 1923.



Ashford Shire Council strongly opposes a government proposal to form a council for noxious weed control.

Four blocks purchased in Ashford by the Church of England.



A Parliamentary committee report was made on the feasibility of an Ashford rail link.

W. Lennon appointed as Shire President.

H. A. Fraser appointed as Shire President.

Mar 23

St Mark's Church of England was dedicated by the Right Rev. W. F. Wentworth-Shields DD. MA.,

the then Bishop of Armidale. Rev G. A. Baker was Vicar.



C. McCosker appointed as Shire President.

A government committee visits to investigate providing a railway link.

300,000 head of sheep are being farmed in the shire.

Mr N. Clout and Mr. Lucas J. Wilson were elected the first St. Mark's Church of England Wardens.

Jun 25

The first wedding to take place in St. Mark's was that of Alexander Sutherland and Lillian Kimmorley.



Ashford Shire Council again strongly opposes a government proposal to form a

commission for noxious weed control.



F. E. Body appointed as Shire President.

Enrolment at Ashford school had increased to 90 pupils.


A request to have a new Post Office was refused.

The portion of land on the corner of Duff Street and Bukkulla Street,

now known as McRae Park, was reserved for a sports ground.



R. A. Black elected as Ashford Shire President.

The Bank of New South Wales opens its own premises on the corner of Duff and Albury Streets.


Plans were submitted for the erection of a Post Office building in Albury Street.



A smoke social was tendered to the Ashford Light Horse Troop.


Ashford Light Horse Troop competed in and won the Prince of Wales Military Cup out of 88 troops who entered.




A large shed containing 7,000 to 8,000 pounds worth of tobacco was burned down.
It was uninsured because the Insurance companies thought the risk too high.


Ashford Tobacco Lands suffered a disastrous hailstorm.



R. A. Black appointed as Shire President.

A new building was added to the school.


Tobacco growing resumed in the area when prices rise.

Queensland extended its rail link to Texas.

Coal mine was reopened for time.




Councils co-operated with government to abolish dole system.

Sep 1

A reduction in wages was commenced, based on the cost of living during that time.

Sep 9

A special council meeting was held to consider applications for unemployment relief grants owing to the





Population of Ashford Shire 3800. Town population 588 in 114 houses.

Ashford Shire employed 230 men on various roadworks.

Publican Bill Gobbert added a second floor to the Commercial Hotel giving it 56 rooms. The hotel,

Strand picture show and the butcher's shop were powered by a private generator.

Ashford businesses at the time included two stock and station agents, a bank, a baker, two boarding houses, Gobbert's Commercial Hotel, McRae's store, Mrs Nichols store, Henderson's store, a refreshment room, a police station, a motor garage, blacksmith and garage, and a sawmill.

Jul 14

Sanitary service proposed at council.

Aug 11

C. A. Cox was given permission by council to erect a store and bake house,

which became the New England Bakery.



May 11

Council supported the Ashford P. and C. Association in its efforts to have a new school erected in

Ashford instead of enlarging the existing building.

Jun 8

Council gave school authorities permission to enclose a park or reserve.

Jul 5

The original Charter of the Ashford-Bukkulla Sub-branch of the R.S.L. is formed.



Ashford Shire Council engineer was instructed to make an investigation into the dam site at

'The Pocket' and take up with the federal and state governments the provision of funds for a dam to be constructed. This was 30 years before the construction of Pindari Dam.

Original Police station sold and removed.

School reports an enrolment of 140 pupils.

Feb 8

A proposal for a Public Hall and School of Arts was opposed by rate payers.


Plans for a new school building were completed and a tender accepted.

Sep 13

Water storage schemes were proposed by progress associations in the area.



The Strand Cafe was opened.

Skeleton weed is reported within the Ashford Shire Council area and council reverses its stance on noxious weed control and resolved that every effort be made to have it cleared as soon as possible.



Ashford Shire Council lodges an objection to Aboriginal people camping in tents, bark and timber shelters and homes made out of opened out kerosene tins, close to town, but does nothing to improve living conditions for these people. Among these families were Greens, Connors, Boneys, Browns and Landsboroughs, all of whom were previously associated with Noocoorilma mission reserve.


Council joined tree planting scheme in co-operation with Australian 150th Anniversary.

Twenty five trees were planted.


A public meeting proposing the installation of electricity supply at
Ashford took place to determine the extent of demand.



The money was raised to build and equip a hospital.
The hospital had only one bed for emergency cases. All other patients were sent to Inverell.

The Ashford Memorial Hall was opened with the crowning of charity queen Joyce Solomon.
Ashford Memorial Hall

Roman Catholic Church, Ashford Parish was opened, with Father Thomas Leahy as Parish Priest.

The original Catholic Church building


Inverell Municipal Council's Electrical Engineer gave council a brief outline of cost of electrical supply for Ashford. Inverell Council took up the proposal to extend the electricity supply to Ashford.


Council gave consideration to the needs of the citizens of Ashford with regard to a Town Water Supply.


Applications were made by council to have Ashford declared a built up area for the purpose of regulating traffic speed through the town.


Approval was granted to erect signs declaring Ashford a built up area.



Tobacco production is boosted by the discovery of a cure for the disease 'blue mould'.


Tenders were called for the supply of electricity to the Ashford and district.


The Bonshaw Progress Association requested Ashford Council support the idea of having the village of Bonshaw re-designed or surveyed and vacant crown lands thrown open for purchase by public.
Council supported this request.


A reserve of 7.2ha was declared on the Severn River near Ashford, known as Tarangower, for the Ashford Aboriginal people. This was after the government had forcibly moved all the families living at Ashford to a government station at Toomelah on the Queensland border, only to find that most had returned to Ashford. The new reserve was close to the area where they had previously been removed from.


A doctor commenced practice at Ashford, but stayed for less than 12 months.


Air Raid Trenches were dug at the school.


MarNorth West County Council was founded with the aim of generating power from Ashford's coal deposits. Inverell Municipal Council did not join into the North West County Council, but chose to keep their old diesel driven generators and negotiate with Tamworth for a bulk power line.


Ashford Shire population 3000


R. Tighe was appointed as Shire President.

Dec 21

A Memorial Bell was dedicated at St Mark's Church of England to honour

the memory of all from this parish who served in World War II.


Inverell joined North West County Council allowing plans for the Ashford Power Station to proceed.


Sinclair Hall (Presbyterian Church) was built.

Nov 11

Ashford R.S.L. Sub-branch Charter is formed.


J. R. Black elected as Ashford Shire President.

R. A and R. Heron, general drapers, toys and fancy goods store opens.


Electricity was connected to Ashford.



The Minister for Local Government, acting on a report, announced the proposed building of the
Ashford Power Station would be deferred indefinitely, as it would produce little energy and did not fit in
with the state's plans for development.

Doug Mather of North West County Council travelled to Sydney and after weeks of negotiation the
Minister for Local Government approves the building of the Ashford Power Station.


Additions were made to Ashford Council Chambers.

A branch of the regional library was opened at Ashford.

May 2

The Ashford Power Station was officially opened by the Minister for Local Government Mr J. B. Renshaw.

At the opening the minister dedicated the power station 'to serve as a lasting memorial to the zeal and untiring efforts of its chairman Cr D. G. Mather.' Ashford Power Station 1958


Sealed road to Inverell was completed.

Ashford water supply was officially opened. Work begins for the Ashford water supply

A fire tanker was provided.

Mar 21

The NSW Tobacco Growers' Association was formed after a meeting at Bonshaw. Mr George Warner was elected as chairman. Mr R. N. Southam was elected as the first and only secretary.


A stabilising scheme is established for the tobacco industry.


Ashford Power Station was producing all the electricity requirements for Inverell, Glen Innes, Texas,
Goondiwindi and Bingara areas.


Ashford Central School enrolment over 370.

Demountable classrooms arrive for installation at Ashford Central School.


Ashford Central School celebrates 100 years. In attendance were J. R. Black, the Ashford Shire President,
Mr C. Katsuta, Consul to Japan, Mr L. A. Weaver, Area Director of Education, Mr L. Merry, the oldest ex-pupil of the school. At the ceremony Mr Katsuta unveiled a plaque in the school's international garden.




The total value of tobacco leaf grown in the Ashford district was $1.08 million.

Mar 21

Pindari Dam was completed. Water storage capacity of 37,500 megalitres.


Weight of tobacco leaf grown in Ashford area exceeds 457,000 kilos and sells for $1.2 million.


Jack Black resigns as Shire President and accepts a place on the Barnett Committee of Inquiry into Local Government.

Shire rates at this time account for about 30% of shire expenditure.


Barnett Report released recommending that Inverell, Ashford, Bingara, Macintyre and

Yallaroi shires become one.


Boundaries Commission, which replaced the abandoned Barnett report, began collecting evidence and opinions.



Oct 31

The amalgamation of Inverell, Ashford and Macintyre shires was announced by the government.



Town population 800.

Ashford Shire Council was amalgamated with Inverell Shire Council.


The Ashford Sardinian Craft Co-operative was formed.


The Ashford Sardinian Craft Co-operative was closed.


The hospital ceased to take in-patients and became a community health centre.


Pre-school was started.


The coal mine was closed, as the seam was no longer viable as an open cut mine.

Coal for the power station was freighted from other mines.


Tobacco growers hit hard after import restrictions were taken off tobacco.



Ashford population 579.

Dec 7

New work on the enlargement of Pindari Dam was commenced.



August 23

Sunhaven Hostel opens with eight beds and one respite bed.
The Hostel is run by live-in matron, Tina Alsop.



Water storage was commenced with the new enlargement of Pindari Dam.

March 26

Sunhaven Hostel is officially opened by Bob Jones.



Work was completed on the enlargement of Pindari Dam.

New capacity 312,000 megalitres, from the old capacity of 57,000.



North West County Council taken over by Northpower.

Kim Meale takes over the running of Sunhaven Hostel.



Ashford Power Station is closed by Northpower.

The site is to be demolished and the 703 megalitre water licence sold to cotton growers downstream.

Apr 4

Community Meeting called to discuss whether or not to form an Ashford Business Council.

May 5

First meeting of the Ashford Business Council (ABC) is held. The ABC was formed by community members in an attempt to promote Ashford interests in tourism and business. Col Mundy President, Alan Gordon Secretary, Leeanne Vickers Treasurer.



Michael Lewis elected as President of the Ashford Business Council.

Ashford Business Council calls for submissions from the community on ways to improve the look of Ashford.

This is to become known as the Ashford Beautification Plan.

Ashford Business Council submits the Ashford Beautification Plan to Inverell Shire.


Dr Frank Trewartha ceases his practice at Ashford, leaving both Emmaville and Ashford without a medical doctor.




Ashford Business Council begins a campaign to attract a doctor to Ashford. An advertisement is produced by NSW


Farmers Federation concerning Ashford's lack of medical services.

Dr Vaughn Miller expresses an interest to take up the Emmaville / Ashford practice, but is unable to because of current NSW laws regarding Overseas Doctors.

Ashford's push for a doctor gains the support of the Member for Northern Tablelands, Mr Richard Torbay.

Using Ashford as an example Mr Torbay gives a speech to parliament showing the need to change the laws on Overseas Doctors.

Dr Sondergeld from Texas opens a practice in Ashford three days a week.

After the change on Overseas Doctors, Dr Vaughn Miller takes up practice in

Emmaville and Ashford. Ashford now has two doctors practicing.

The Ashford Business Council meets with Northpower to consider other options for the power station site.

Northpower agrees to give the Ashford community an opportunity to redevelop the site.

The Ashford Business Council is successful in lobbying the Federal Government to gain funding through the Department of Employment, Small Business and Workplace Relations to complete feasibility studies into alternate uses of the power station site. Studies were begun on the feasibility of using the power station site as an aquaculture venture with nearby agriculture ventures using excess water. A second study by the NSW Forestry Service was entered into the establishment of a sustainable cypress and eucalypt industry, milling timber and using waste to distill oil and refire the power station. Both studies reported positively on the potential of these industries.