Apsley had its beginnings as a key postal town.
Important tracks between settlements and properties - roads between the colonies of Victoria and South Australia (Melbourne and Adelaide) merged and crossed here.
The town was an important link in the new colonies transport and communication networks from the late 1840's.
Originally known as Lake Wallace, the name Apsley was given to it by surveyor Lindsay Clark who laid out the town in October 1851. Clark's survey was officially approved in January 1852.
With the emergence of the wool industry the town flourished as a centre for the passage of wool on the way to Portland from the north.
The Chinese and other travellers also included Apsley on their route to the gold fields from Robe in the west.
The present township sits peacefully among the red gums and has a district population of 250 residents.
Take time to stroll along our main street and relive the history.
APSLEY BORDER INN
Mr Mack Davidson, in 1848 realized that there was potential for a business in Apsley to cater for all types of travellers - squatters, teamsters, gold seekers - who found Apsley a suitable stop over place on long journeys and he gained permission from Mr Ballantyne to build the first Inn on Newlands Station.
Davidson only kept the house a short time and sold it toMr Samuel Baird who originally came from Warrnambool.
Mr Baird was there in 1849 and he opened a store, but the township made little progress until the early fifties when crowds of overlanders came from South Australia on their way to the goldfields. Baird then made money so fast that he opened a wine and spirit business in Geelong and sold his Apsley business to Mr Joseph Botterill and in his time the township flourished.
The Botterills enlarged the hotel and store and built a room for an Assembly Hall, capable of holding fifty or sixty couples of dancers. Joseph Botterill died in 1868 aged 41 years and his wife Mary Ann Botterill continued to run the hotel for several years.
After a fire extensively damaged the building in 1887, it was rebuilt a little further along the street where today it stands proudly with its Art Deco facade on the corner of Wallace and Splatt Street.
Over the years it has undergone many renovations, with the latest extensive renovation and major upgrade in 2014.
APSLEY UNITING CHURCH
Any visitors or newcomers to Apsley with an appetite for ?the old? will not be disappointed if they take a short stroll to the end of Johnstone St; there nestled midst the gums and wattles they will find a quaint little building fondly known to the locals as ?The Church on the Hill?.
This year one hundred and forty five years ago in 1864, the bell would have sounded loudly and clearly as the door was opened for the first church service, conducted by Rev Dugald McCalman. Added to this celebration was the baptism of two babies, namely Alexander Johnstone and Margaret Rutherford.
Crafted from local stone and completed for the contract price of £600, generously donated by the parishioners, this building gives great testimony to those faith filled pioneering people who placed so much importance on gathering for worship and placing their trust in God to be with them in all the up and downs of life.
Apart from the addition of a porch and the beautiful stained glass windows donated to the memory of past parishioners, the building stands in its original state. Some renovations were done in 1886: iron rods placed end to end and side to side, masonry and plaster repaired and the floor renewed with 1¼ inch coal backed floor boards, all at the cost of £55/4/6.
Again the generous families of the Gordons and Laidlaws met the costs.
Since then there have been no major repairs, although a hall was built nearby in 1960 and meetings and functions are conveniently held there.
I think many would agree that this "Little Church on the Hill" is one of Apsley's hidden prize possessions - may it stand serene for many more generations.
THE APSLEY FOOTBALL CLUB - THE APSLEY MAGPIES
A proud and successful sporting club established itself on the Victorian/South Australian border many years ago in what was to become known as the Shire of Kowree in the West Wimmera.
The earliest printed report of an Australian Rules match at Apsley at the present ground dates back to 1890. Apsley played Edenhope on Wednesday 10th September 1890 and Edenhope won -1 goal to nil. Sibling rivalry was born and still lives.
From about 1920 Apsley played in various "border" leagues. In 1937 Apsley played in the Kowree Naracoorte Football League and enjoyed much success and fun on and off the field.
The Apsley magpies have entertained supporters for over 100 hundred years. Football has provided much to the small community which has contributed enormously to the survival and development of the club.
The early history of the AFC was compiled by Les Burgess and updated in 1990, the year of centenary celebrations and the selection of the legends team.
The amalgamation with arch rival and closest neighbour Edenhope in 1999, the challenge to embrace change and ensure long term survival for both clubs commenced. The decision to join the Horsham and District league in 2007 provides the club and supporters with the opportunity to continue the search for solutions that ensure the local youth have opportunities to participate in sport.