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Arriving at school.jpg

Arriving at school


Ashford PO & Bank 1930s (2017_03_02 23_41_20 UTC).jpg

Ashford PO & Bank 1930s 



BABE team. 2006


Jan 20

Members of the Ashford Business Council travel to Sydney to attend a meeting with NSW Department of State and Regional Development and NSW Department of Fisheries, Northpower and potential investors in the aquaculture project. Investors indicated there was a need for the feasibility studies previously completed to be extended into a Business Plan.

Jan 24

Ashford Business Council meets with Credit Care to discuss proposals for a Rural Transaction Centre to be established in Ashford. Submission to be presented to Federal Government.


Mar 11

Ashford RSL sub branch organises a highly successful Mardi Gras, which included a parade and live band entertainment. The Mardi Gras was run to gain funds to upgrade the memorial commemoration area on the lawn in front of the Ashford Pool entrance.

Mar 20

Ashford Business Council met with Margaret Lester of Credit Care to finalise details on the proposed implementation of the Ashford Rural Transaction Centre.

Mar 22

Mr Richard Torbay, member for Northern Tablelands attends Ashford Senior Citizen's luncheon to present a Premier's Award to Mrs Willa Woodward in recognition of her lifetime service to Ashford. Mr Torbay also presented a Premier's Community Award to Ashford and Districts Garden Club for the establishment and maintenance of Albury Street centre gardens and Apex Park. Local councillors Barry Johnson, Kevin Kneipp and Michael Lewis were also in attendance.

May 10

Kwiambal National Park is gazetted. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has been developing the park since

May 15

Kwiambal National Park was officially opened by National Parks and Wildlife Services Director General, Brian Gilligan. In attendance were Member for Northern tablelands, Richard Torbay, Inverell Shire President, Rick Colless. Ashford Central School Studec were also invited to attend the ceremony.

May 18

Funding for an Ashford Rural Transaction Centre, under the Federal Government's Rural Transaction Centre (RTC) Program, is announced.

Aug 11

Local aboriginal artist David Allen has six of his artworks commissioned for display at the Sydney Olympics 2000.

Aug 14

Ashford Commercial Hotel is sold to Terry and Carol Bye. The hotel was formerly owned by Michael and Sue Smith for 18 years and had been leased out to various lessees during that period.


Aug 21

Denise Hills carried the Olympic Flame at Inverell. Mrs Hills carried the flame for 400 metres in Ross Street.

The street was filled with Ashford people come to watch Mrs Hills on this memorable occasion.


Major Flooding of the Severn River and Frazer Creek submerge all the low lying areas of Ashford.

Waters reach as high as the ashford Pool. Widespread flooding




Denise Hills has retired from teaching after 42 years at Ashford Central School.

Apr 6
The Ashford Rural Transaction Centre is officially opened by Mr Stuart St Clair, Member for New England.



Local grazier Mr Mal Peters from Kayannie is elected as President of the NSW Farmers Association.


Oct 26

The Hydro-electric generator at Pindari Dam, constructed by Transfield was officially opened.

The Ashford Business Council was given the use of the water license for the former Ashford Power Station at a ceremony attended by State Member Richard Torbay, Federal Independent Tony Windsor,

Minister for Energy Kim Yeadon, Mayor of Inverell Barry Johnson and delegates from Country Energy.


Oct 29

The Ashford Rural Transaction Centre is given official tourist information centre status.




Mar 8

The 2002 RTA Big Ride stops at Ashford for the night. Including riders and workers there is estimated to be 2000 people. The Big Ride camped in tents on the oval and park. Night time entertainment organised by the town included a successful concert, a rock band outside the Aboriginal Lands Council, a pedal power shearing demo, and many street stalls.  


Jun 2

The Royal Flying Doctors Charity Bash stopped at Pindari Dam for a lunch break. The Ashford Central School P and C provided a meal. Each car represented a theme, including doctors, cavemen, american indians and a car disguised as a dog - complete with a cocked leg. 


Aug 20

Ashford Business Council AGM. Committee: President Michael Lewis; Vice Presidents Yvonne Currell,

Michael Smith, Michael Rollinson; Secretary Allan Gordon, Treasurer Leeanne Vickers.

All members are directors. Membership is 35.


Oct 23

Dust storm covers Ashford. 


Telstra installs ISDN and ADSL capabilities in Ashford Exchange, making it the

smallest community in NSW to have these facilities.


Dec 12

Telstra officially launch the opening of Mobile Telephone Service in Ashford, after the completion of a

CDMA tower on Beaumont Hill, as part of the Beasley Fund.


Dec 20

Ashford Central School is officially granted approval to teach HSC Years 11 and 12.



Sunhaven hosts its 10th anniversary celebrations. The activities room is opened by Ken Harrison. ​A large quilted wall hanging is presented to the Hostel by the Graman/Wallangra sewing ladies.

Feb 6

13 students enrol for Year 11/12 at Ashford Central School. Of these 6 are mature age students.

The students are able to complete their studies using both resources from Ashford Central School and distance education facilities in Dubbo.Ashford Central's first HSC students


Feb 17

Federal Member for New England, Tony Windsor, visits Ashford with Everald Crompton, Chairman of the Australian Transport and Energy Corridor (ATEC) the developers of the Inland Rail Link from Melbourne to Darwin. Accompanying Mr Crompton is Adam Shand, the features writer of Australian Financial Review. The purpose of the visit was to look at the Ashford Integrated Agribusiness proposal.


Feb 18

State Member Richard Torbay visits Ashford to check out the new Year 11/12 facilities at Ashford Central School, the new Pre-School Building and attend a Lions function as guest speaker.

Jun 9

Robert (Bob) Sheppeard has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to
the community of Ashford; particularly as a fundraiser for aged care, sporting and other charitable groups.


Melanie Minos graduates as Ashford Central School's first HSC student.  



Local SES, Fire brigade and community members, Kevin Hilton, Dave Henderson, Graeme Voss, Shane Pendlebury, Trevor Smith, Justin Irwin, John Carragher, Peter Baker, David MacDonald, John White, Mick Hoscher, Shorn Kippax, Gary Bates, Wade Bennett have been awarded a Group Bravery Citation for their efforts during the November 2000 floods. The awards will be presented at Government House.




Jun 12

Local grazier and shearer, Warren Julius comes in second in the Australian Open Shearing Championships held at Toowoomba.


Jul 27

Over a five day period, a Program Review team assesses the effectiveness of Ashford Central School delivering Years 11 and 12 locally.


Aug 2

Ashford Central School gains the okay from The Program Review team to continue teaching HSC levels locally.

Jul 19

The combined Bundarra, Ashford, Bingara, Emmaville (BABE) Central School's 13 Years Rugby League team wins the 2005 Country Rugby League Cup final at Dubbo for the 2nd year in a row. Ashford Central School team members are: Kyle Hartley, Todd Currell, Tyler King, Chris Lewis (captain), Lachlan MacDonald. Michael Lewis was the coach. 

Sep 2

Ashford community Surveyed on proposed Long Day-Care centre for Ashford to replace existing Pre-School facilities, which are open for two days per week. The proposed changes will see a Day-Care centre opened 5 days per week.


Population 635


Jul 19

Local SES members Peter Baker and Sue Baker receive recognition of twenty years service and Johno Johnson receives recognition of 15 years service in SES. The award was presented at Ashford's Australia Day celebrations held at the local pool. 


Feb 25

Nell Thompson, Daph Hartley and Bobby Curnow receive recognition of twenty years service with Ashford Show Society. Richard Torbay, Member for Northern Tablelands presented the awards at the official opening of the 2006 Ashford Show. 


Mar 9

New England Volunteer Air Transport (NEVAT) becomes incorporated. Executive: President - David Roach;

Vice President - Glenn Stevens; Secretary/Treasurer - Leeanne Vickers. David Roach has been the prime mover in getting NEVAT up and running.


Chad Morgan performs at the Memorial Hall for a NEVAT fundraiser.

Jan 13 & 14

NEVAT holds a Country Music Shindig as a fundraiser.

May 28

Ashford General Store closes.


Apr 4

Ashford Post Office is sold to Ashford Business Council and moved to the Ashford Rural Transaction Centre building. Official opening of Post Office at new premises


Jun 2

At a ceremony attended by Hon. Member Richard Torbay and a representative of the Masons, NEVAT acquires a Beechcraft Sundowner aircraft. The aircraft was donated by two local community members.


NEVAT has a hangar built for their use at the Ashford Airstrip, funded by Inverell Shire Council’s Village Grants, at the suggestion of the Ashford Business Council.

An Industrial Hemp crop is trialled by Leon and Connie Minos on the property “Ponda”, located on the Bonshaw Road, with financial assistance from the Ashford Business Council.

Extensions to Sunhaven Hostel are completed giving the facility an extra 8 rooms and a palliative care room


Jan 26

Shirley Thompson has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the communities of Bonshaw, Ashford and region through the Country Women's Association and the Agricultural Show movement.


Richard Torbay presents NEVAT with $15,000 for repairs to the aircraft’s radio and navigation equipment.



NEVAT’s 4th Birthday Bash is held with artists, including James Blundell, providing their services for free.


Ordinary Meeting of Council, Council resolved to allocate funding for the construction of a
Driver Reviver/Function Catering Room to compliment the new amenities to be constructed in Walter McRae Park.



A “Back to Ashford” reunion was held on the Easter long weekend attracting over 1000 ex

Ashfordites back to the town.

Jul 10

NEVAT Café started operating in the old Bakery building, leasing the property from

David and Sue Roach as a means of further fundraising for the service.



Population 885

March 29

Andrew Baker was awarded the Individual Landcare Award at the Regional Landcare & Catchment Management Awards for his contribution to Landcare at many levels; from his activities on his property, with his local Landcare group Myall Creek / Ashford Landcare and as Deputy Chairman of GWYMAC.

April 25

The Ashford War Memorial, which is the combined work of the Ashford RSL, Inverell Shire Council and the Ashford people, was unveiled by Mr Richard Torbay MP, Northern Tablelands Ashford R.S.L. and Inverell Shire Council. The memorial is located in front of the Ashford Memorial Pool. Anzac Day services are held on site.

NEVAT has, to date, flown 237 missions with 401 passengers carried to specialist medical appointments.


The Campbell and Freebairn Chemist building comes under new ownership and undergoes a massive refurbishment to upgrade the interior of the shop.



Ashford Local Aboriginal Land Council holds its first Debutante Ball.

Major renovations at Ashford Central School are completed, which include upgrades to the science laboratory, hospitality kitchen, administration building and construction workshop.


The Memorial Hall became the property of the Department of Education and had $800,000 renovations completed.


Sept 28
The new Driver Reviver site at Walter McRae Park has been officially opened by mayor Barry Johnston OAM and the Hon Richard Torbay, Member for Northern Tablelands. It is the only driver reviver station on the 370 kilometre journey between Tamworth and Inglewood in Queensland. The Lions Club of Ashford will man the facility.


Major flooding of the Severn River.




NEVAT Café operating out of the old Bakery ceases operations.


The Café operating in the old Bakery (previously known as the NEVAT Café) is under new management.

NEVAT secures funding of $100,000 from the Federal Government to continue its operations.

NEVAT secures funding of $100,000 from the Federal Government to continue its operations.



Jan 26

Malcolm (Mal) Peters has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to primary industry, regional development and the community.


A second “Back to Ashford” reunion was held once again on the Easter long weekend attracting around 1000 ex Ashfordites back to the town to meet up with old friends and family.


The Ashford Rugby League Football Club reforms with Michael Lewis as the driving force and President. The Back to Ashford Weekend marked the relaunch of the club, before they made their official return to Group 19 the next weekend, where they hosted the Tingha Tigers.

The Commercial Hotel closes its doors.

The Ashford Showground Trust receives a $12,380 grant from the NSW Government to add portable grandstands.


Sunhaven celebrates 20 years. Paul Cook, CEO of McLean Care is guest speaker.

Aug 30

The Ashford Rugby League Football Club receives a $5,500 grant to upgrade the power supply to its canteen from the NSW Government’s Community Building Partnership.





Ashford Show Society holds its 30th Annual Show.


The Ashford Rugby League Football Club receives a $21,000 to build spectator seating at the Ashford Sports Ground under the State Government’s Sport and Recreation Program. 


The Community Mutual Credit Union (formerly New England Credit Union) closes within the Ashford Rural Transaction Centre

Aug 22

Ashford Showground Trust receives a $12,112 grant to install shade sails and water troughs at the Ashford Showground from the NSW Government.


NEVAT ceases operations due to lack of funding.





The Inverell Shire Council and NSW Government jointly funded the construction of the new $350,000 purpose-built SES headquarters in Semmes Street. An important part of the community of Ashford is its SES unit, which has been running since 1959. 

Mar 16

Ashford’s new $530,000 medical centre opens, thanks to joint funding from the Federal Government of $280,000 and Inverell Shire Council’s contribution of $250,000. The funding assisted Council to refurbish the town’s old Masonic Hall, providing rooms for the two doctors servicing the community as well as a location for community health workers and Home and Community Care workers.

Jun 23

Optus upgrades its services to Ashford which will deliver fast mobile internet speeds for customers with compatible 4G mobile phones and tablets, and improved 3G services.

Squires Rural Supplies closes its doors.

Ashford Showground Trust receives a $12,000 grant from the NSW Government to rebuild the old wooden yards and cattle loading ramp at the Ashford Showground.

Sep 25

Ashford’s Sports Ground will receive a major upgrade to its amenities thanks to Council’s commitment to match a $75,000 grant from the NSW Footy Facilities Program and a $10,000 contribution from the Ashford Business Council. The $276,500 (inc GST) project will see the construction of a new canteen and brick amenities block, which will include dressing rooms for teams and officials and public toilets.


Senior Constable Pat Lennon earns the 2015 Inverell Rotary Police Officer of the Year award.

Oct 17

The inaugural Ashford Salami Festival is run by 2 Rivers Pty Ltd (Lorrayne Riggs).

Bruce Fitzhannim turns 100.




Population 652.


Inverell Shire Council secures $800,000 from the State Government for the replacement of Tin Tot Bridge between


Graman and Ashford. Council also contributes $200,000 of its own funds towards this $1 million project.


The Ashford Junior Rugby League Club is formed and more than 75 youngsters registered to play. A $2,000 grant from the State Government’s NSW Sport & Recreation funding program funds the training, education and accreditation of the club officials.

Aug 29

Ashford Showground’s ageing cut-out yards are upgraded with the help of $8,800 in funding from the state government.  


Dec 5

Sunhaven Hostel’s Library and Computer Lab are opened by Kath Thompson, Sunhaven Board Member.


Jan 18

The Ashford Memorial Bowling Club will use an $85,000 State Government grant to build some overnight accommodation in the village for emergency workers, visitors and even tourists. The club will turn an old bar that hasn’t been used for over 25 years and an under-utilised meeting and storage area into four dormitory-style units to accommodate 12 people.

After spending 23 years as Principal of Ashford Central School, Michael Lewis retires.




Ashford singer Breanna Krauss made her debut at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. Breanna performed at the Coca Cola Battle of the Young Stars and then went on to sing as part of the Aboriginal Cultural Showcase and as part of the long-running Capital Country Music Association (CCMA) talent quest. 


Jan 23

Tin Tot’s Neil McCosker Bridge is officially opened on Tuesday, 30 January by Member for Northern Tablelands Adam Marshall and Inverell Shire Mayor Paul Harmon after a $1 million upgrade. 

Feb 6

Ashford Golf Club receives $8,000 from the NSW Government to fix termite damage replacing the 70-year-old clubhouse’s ceiling and supports.


Council engage Coolatai resident Kelly Jones to paint a river-themed mural on the fence of the Ashford Rural Transaction Centre as part of their NSW Youth Opportunities program.

May 14

Replacement of fuel tanks at Ashford Service Station means fuel is unavailable in Ashford for ten weeks.


Ashford landfill (rubbish tip) which has always been open has been transformed into Ashford Waste Transfer Station and is restricted to a total of 8 operational hours per week opening only two days.

Aug 1

Ashford Junior Rugby League nominated for Club of the Year. The club was named the Greater Northern Regional Club of the Year which covers Group 19, Group 21 and Group 4.


Council host a free movie night at the Ashford Pool in partnership with the Ashford School P&C, thanks to funding from the NSW Government through the Youth Opportunities Program.

Ashford Central School celebrates its sesquicentenary. To mark the huge milestone and recognise the school’s dedication to 150 years of public education in the small community, a 3rd “Back to Ashford Reunion” was held in conjunction with the celebration. The school hall featured a 'decades display' of household objects and vintage clothing together with old school student photos, enrolment books dating back to the 1930s and



Jun 24

Inverell Shire Council secures $50,000 to install a skate park at Walter McRae Park.


Ashford Local Aboriginal Land Council’s NAIDOC celebrations attract over 200 community members, thanks to funding from the NSW Aboriginal Land Council.

A wheelchair access ramp is installed at Ashford Medical Centre thanks to funding from Council under the Australian Government’s Drought Communities Program.

Renovations in the form of new entry steps and walkway are completed at the Ashford Local Aboriginal Land Council Building.



The Ashford Business Council opens the RTC Café at the Rural Transaction Centre.



Ashford Showground Trust secures a $13,500 State Government grant to upgrade the old stockyards at the


Ashford Showground and to make improvements to the ground's kitchen and food preparation area.


Leon and Connie Minos sell their first Ashford Hemp Processor.


Mar 16 - Jun 30

Ashford (and all of NSW) is in lockdown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Minister for Health directed every person within the state to remain in their residence. A person can only leave their residence if he or she has a ‘reasonable excuse’ eg. to get food, medical care, work if you can’t work from home. The School is closed from 21 March 2020 with the exception of the children of essential workers. Children are home schooled. Staggered return to school (one day per week) commences 11 May.

Queensland closes its border and a Border Pass is required for locals to go to the Texas Doctor. The border is manned by police and military. The Ashford Caravan Park is closed to newcomers and the bowling club can only sell takeaways a couple of hours a day due to COVID.


Jun 5

Local lad Chris Lewis, son of Michael and Pauleen Lewis, makes his NRL debut playing with Melbourne Storm.


Jun 7

Robert (Bob) Kneipp has been awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for service to the community. Mr Kneipp was a councillor with Ashford Shire Council, a president of Ashford Lions Club and a volunteer with the town's bushfire brigade. He was a founding member of Ashford Show Society, a former president of Ashford Pony Club and a volunteer with Inverell Meals on Wheels, Inverell Rotary Club, Inverell Probus and Inverell East Probus, as well as Inverell Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

A $39,000 shade sail is erected at Ashford Pool thanks to funding from Council under the Australian Government’s Drought Communities Program.

Shade sails are installed at Ashford Skate Park thanks to funding from Council under the Australian Government’s Drought Communities Program.

The Ashford Memorial Bowling Club finishes its renovations thanks to funding received from Council under the Australian Government’s Drought Communities Program and opens accommodation downstairs. It also places a transportable building (2019) behind the car park providing a further four rooms for accommodation in the town.



QR (quick response) codes become more common. When entering a business or school etc. you need to scan the QR code of that organisation with your smartphone to ‘check-in’ and ‘check-out’ when you leave. This enables the Government to trace the spread of COVID-19.

An avenue of new Desert Ash entrance trees is planted on the northern approach of the town.

Dec 14

The State Government provides $132,600 for upgrades to Ashford's water treatment plant. A total of $221,000 will be spent installing a permanent automatic system for treatment of raw water. Inverell Shire Council will contribute $89,600 to the scheme.



Jan 1

Tough new QR code rules have come into force. As of 1 January 2021, hospitality venues and hairdressers must use the Service NSW QR code system for COVID-19 contract tracing. If you don’t, penalties include $5,000 on-the-spot fines, followed by a week’s closure and a month’s closure if problems continue.

The Ashford Local Aboriginal Land Council building has its roof replaced with funding from the NSW Aboriginal Lands Council.

A bike track was installed in the Ashford Central School grounds for the well-being of students and also to teach road safety. It is equipped with road signs and the children can use the track using the schools’ bikes during recess, lunch and sport.

Jun 26

For the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak, the wearing of face masks has become mandatory at all indoor non-residential venues in regional areas of NSW under new Public Health Orders.  Under these new regulations there are certain rules such as only allowing up to five visitors to another household at any one time (including children); you must be seated when consuming alcohol in an indoor area of a non-residential premises in NSW (restaurants, pubs and clubs, nightclubs, stadiums); dancing is allowed at weddings for the bridal party only (no more than 20 people); funerals are permitted provided there are not more than 100 people present.


Yvonne Currell retires from Campbell and Freebairn Chemist after 45 years.


The Ashford Tennis Club Committee, with the assistance of council’s grants officer Fiona Adams, secures a $136,957 State Government grant to refurbish the rundown Ashford Tennis Court facility.

Council secures $41,025 to install a new unisex toilet at the Ashford Cemetery. The existing amenities block has serviced visitors for 50 years.

Aug 14

Once again Ashford is in lockdown as a result of the whole of NSW locking down due to COVID-19. Home schooling is back on the agenda.


Council secures $81,689 from the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund to upgrade the Ashford Caravan Park. The project includes new covered picnic tables, renovations to the amenities block, barbecue installation, noticeboard and a new Ashford Online website.

 Record number of house and land sales in Ashford. It is believed that this is due to a population shift from the city to the country due to COVID-19.