Meet Pat and Ray Ash­ford, the vol­un­teer man­agers and founders of the High­fields Pioneer Vil­lage

Highfields' Own - - CONTENTS -

Vol­un­teer man­agers and founders of High­fields Pioneer Vil­lage Ray and Pat Ash­ford

How long have you been in High­fields for?

We first moved to High­fields in 1974.

What brought you to the High­fields re­gion?

We wanted to start a Her­itage park and mu­seum with our fam­ily and friends. We [High­fields Pioneer Vil­lage] did our first fundraiser for the High­fields State School in 1992 and it was so pop­u­lar peo­ple used to come and visit. In 1993 we opened to the pub­lic on a reg­u­lar ba­sis and haven’t looked back since.

How have you seen the re­gion change since you have been living and work­ing there?

When we first moved to High­fields it was dirt roads, tall tim­bers, dairy farms, hobby farms and pig­geries. Peo­ple trav­elled to Toowoomba to do their shop­ping, the lo­cal newsagent was a hive of ac­tiv­ity. Then the new shops at Plaza Cir­cle be­came so con­ve­nient, the kids used to ride their bikes there and buy an ice-cream.

What do you love the most about the High­fields re­gion?

The com­mu­nity, the at­mos­phere, the cli­mate and the con­ve­nience.

Where do you like to take friends and fam­ily mem­bers when they come to the area?

High­fields Pioneer Vil­lage of course, then send them to the lo­cal cafes, crafts shops, parks and other tourist at­trac­tions in the area.

What would you like to see for the High­fields re­gion in the fu­ture?

An op­por­tu­nity shop, hous­ing for the home­less, a com­mu­nity gar­den and more lo­cal vis­i­tors to Vil­lage.

What is a favourite mem­ory from your time in High­fields?

In the 1970s we bred clydes­dales. We would har­ness up our stal­lion Jimmy in the cart, put the kids in the back and ‘drive’ them up to the High­fields State School — in those days there were only 90 chil­dren en­rolled there. On the way home we would visit the newsagent on the high­way.

How do you par­tic­i­pate in the com­mu­nity?

We work as the vol­un­teer man­agers of the High­fields Pioneer Vil­lage, it is a not-for-profit vol­un­teer-run com­mu­nity or­gan­i­sa­tion at­tract­ing over 31,400 vis­i­tors to the re­gion each year. There are about 200 vol­un­teers in our as­so­ci­a­tion who or­gan­ise and run the Aus­tralia Day cel­e­bra­tions and the Easter Vin­tage Fes­ti­val rais­ing over $3000 for the Toowoomba Hos­pi­tal Chil­dren’s Ap­peal each year.

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