Vale Ferris Ashton
21 August 1926 – 29 January 2013
Men of League Foundation are saddened to hear the passing of legendary Eastern Suburbs and Australian forward Ferris Ashton aged 86.
One of the game’s greatest and most loved characters, Ferris was a proud war veteran with a courageous heart, a Rugby League player with genuine ball-playing skill.
Ferris has given more than 60 years to Rugby League. He began to make a name for himself in his early teens, with the Bondi United club in the Eastern Suburbs junior competition. In the latter stages of World War Two, Ferris served in the Pacific Ocean with the Australian Navy. After returning home, he resumed playing with United and came into grade with the Roosters in 1948.
At the end of 1956 season, Ferris retired and in his seven seasons with Eastern Suburbs, he finished with 84 first grade games and 20 tries. In 1954 he was captain/coach of Easts. In the mid 60’s he coached Sydney University in the Second Division competition.
Ferris played 27 matches for Australia, including eight Tests, was a member of the 1952-53 Kangaroos, and toured New Zealand with the 1953 Australians. He also played five matches for NSW.
Ferris was a great all round sportsman being middleweight champion of the navy and scored a first grade century for Waverley Cricket Club against St George in 1953.
Ferris joined Rex Mossop’s Sportsworld Sunday morning television show on Channel 7. His humour and intelligence shone through as a member of the Controversy Corner panel during his 10 years. Thousands of viewers waited eagerly each winter Sunday for Ferris’ reply after Rex had asked him, “ Have you had your Viking Sauna this morning? “
In recent years, Ferris had become a revered symbol of the war era representing the game during the ANZAC Day ceremonies preceding the annual match between the Roosters and the Dragons.
A life member of the Roosters, he played through 1950–56, captaining the side in many of those years. Ferris would always say he only ever wanted to play for one club.
Ferris Ashton was recognised as a Men of League Honouree at our 2012 Gala Dinner, in tribute to his life-long commitment to the game.
Men of League send our condolences to his family. He is survived by wife Patricia, four children, seven grandchildren, four great grandchildren.
Funeral details as followed:
10am Tuesday 5 February 2013 at Macquarie Park Cemetery and Crematorium Corner of Delhi and Plassey Roads, North Ryde NSW 2113 Phone 9805 0499.
Following the service, at the Sydney Cricket Ground that afternoon, a memorial service will be held in front of the Members Pavilion.
The Ashton family have extended an invitation to all for this service, which will begin at 2.30pm. If you plan to attend the SCG, please be seated no later than 2.10pm.
Yesterday, 30 January, the SCG flags were flown at half-mast as a mark of respect to Ferris.