It comes as 19-year-old young gun Jordan Petaia became the youngest player to be named in a Wallabies World Cup squad, while Tatafu Polota-Nau, Tom Banks, Joe Powell, Nick Phipps, Luke Jones, Tom Robertson, Pete Samu and Jack Maddocks were all left out by the three-man selection panel.
Will Skelton's name also does not feature on the final list, with negotiations and a late bid to get him to a second World Cup never getting out of first gear.
Coach Michael Cheika, director of rugby Scott Johnson and third selector Michael O'Connor have confirmed a squad that features 17 forwards and 14 backs with a combined total of 1406 test caps between them.
The squad of 2015, which would lose the final 34-17 to New Zealand, had an aggregate of 1236 caps before the tournament.
"We've become a really tight group and it was a very difficult process in picking only 31 players but I know each player selected will travel to Japan with the full support of those teammates who won't board the flight," said Cheika in a statement.
"We have worked really hard at building each week and each game so far this season, and play a brand of rugby that Australia would be proud of and get every player contributing towards the outcome.
"These next few weeks are about building and adding that little extra edge as a squad and we'll be working hard to make sure we deliver on the qualities we want people to see when we run out on the field in Japan."
There are few major surprises in this squad, however there was some doubt as to whether selectors would pick a player like Ashley-Cooper, 35, who has 118 tests to his name.
It is understood Ashley-Cooper's experience and versatility held him in good stead given the relative inexperience in the outside back stocks.
Australia's third-most capped Wallaby, behind George Gregan and Stephen Moore, Ashley-Cooper did not play a test for 27 months between August 2016 and November 2018 but had the carrot of a fourth Rugby World Cup in Japan dangled in front of him.
His only showing this year at test level was during Australia's dismal 36-0 loss to the All Blacks when he got 18 minutes off the bench. It is unclear how much the utility back will be used at the tournament which begins for the Australians on September 21 when they take on Fiji in Sapporo.
Selectors have gone with three No.10s in Christian Lealiifano, Matt Toomua and Bernard Foley but could not find a place for Banks, who after starting at fullback against South Africa last month has been edged out by Dane Haylett-Petty.
It is understood Haylett-Petty's ability to play multiple positions and safety under the high ball, in light of Kurtley Beale's poor showing in wet conditions in Auckland, worked to his advantage in a decision unlikely to go down well with Brumbies fans.
The Melbourne Rebels, NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies all have eight players in the squad, while the Queensland Reds had six selected. Nic White is yet to nominate a Super Rugby club.
As in 2015, selectors have opted for just two specialist halfbacks in White and Will Genia - meaning Powell and Phipps both miss out - but decided on taking the insurance of another hooker by including Jordan Uelese as well as regulars Folau Faingaa and Tolu Latu.
From an experience point of view, Polota-Nau is the biggest omission from the squad but the fact he has not played a minute during four tests this year made it clear the 34-year-old was on the outer.
One would expect Polota-Nau's 89-test career to be all but over after this latest news.
Petaia, 15 years Polota-Nau's junior, is the youngest in the squad by three years and likely to debut before the World Cup in Australia's pre-tournament warm-up against Samoa at Bankwest Stadium on September 7.
The prodigious Queensland Reds utility back only played two Super Rugby games this year due to injury in what is a massive sign of faith from selectors at the code's centrepiece tournament.
The other big winner is NSW back-rower Jack Dempsey, who has overcome a shoulder injury and is set to feature at his first World Cup.
Seventeen of Australia's 31 players are yet to take part in a Rugby World Cup.