Forbes NSW

ShouId you have an interest in wealth – however vague – give Forbes a try.

Many have turned a good idea into a fortune at Forbes. Gold prospectors, merchants, pastoralists … bushrangers. Frank Gardiner and Ben Hall made their fortunes the quickest.

One of their good ideas was to point a gun at an escort coach carrying gold and cash back in 1862. Their gang rode off with 14,000 pounds.

Ben Hall did pretty well from holdups until he was shot dead, but that unique Australian respect for the larrikin lawbreaker means his grave is still the most visited at Forbes Cemetery.

By the early 1900s, agriculture and pastoral wealth had overtaken gold income, and Forbes remains one of the richest primary producing areas in the State. Even its stock exchange deals in livestock.

ASK A LOCAL

"I might be out of a job if more people did what I do when the pressure's on - take the walk around Lake Forbes. It's only 5kms, but the fresh air and exercise plus the distractions of the birdlife and the natural beauty give the spirits a lift."

− Kerri Ryan, therapist
48 HRS IN FORBES

DAY 1

Start your day at the Visitor Information Centre in the old railway station where you can thrill to the delicious proceeds of crime in the Ben Hall Experience Room. Pick up a heritage trail brochure here, and head for the Victoria Square precinct to enter its vortex of time-travelling charm – its ability to whisk you away to a time when elegance and high adventure seemed to co-exist. Here you’ll find a cluster of elaborate buildings – the colonnaded Victorian Italianate Post Office with its classic clock tower, the magnificent Town Hall classified by the National Trust, and the charming “gingerbread” churches of St John’s and St Andrew’s. The Victorian Classic Revival Court House dominates another side of the Square and, no less impressive, is the Vandenberg Hotel (once named the Court House Hotel) with its imposing veranda and iron lace balustrading.  Some towns are trapped in history … Forbes celebrates it.

DAY 2

Heritage coming in many forms, get along to McFeeters Motor Museum on the corner of Oxford Street and the Newell Highway to admire the impeccably-restored collection of veteran, vintage, classic and custom cars. The dramatically-designed complex  also houses a cafe, cellar door and wine-tasting facility for a local winery and a gift and souvenir shop. The Forbes Historical Museum on Cross Street (2pm to 4pm daily) brings the evolution of gold mining and bushranging activities into focus, and answers most questions about Forbes’ fascinating time capsule nature. For a cultural interlude, check out Platypus Gallery (cnr Lachlan and Templar Sts.) which presents hanging art, sculpture, ceramics, photography and wood craft created by members of the Forbes Art Society and visiting artists.

COMPULSORY

At Burrawang West Station near Ootha, a paddock full of old utes have become canvases for noted outback artists. The Utes in the Paddock project was inspired by the Cadillac Ranch sculpture in Texas, US. Be-ute-iful.

CURIOSITY

Victoria Park was the venue for a famous address by the Father of Federation Sir Henry Parkes in 1887. But of more lasting importance, in 1894 the RSPCA erected a drinking trough for animals here – the first in the Colony.

EVENTS

Forbes Food & Wine Options

  • Fresh Water Dining, 115 Lachlan St.  02  6851 1447
  • Ben Hall Beau Thai, 4/99 Lachlan St.  02  6851 5230
  • Forbes Services Club Bistro, 41-43 Templar St.  02  6852 3227
  • Forbes Pizza House, 19 Templar St.  02  6851 1555
  • Mezzanine Style, 23 Rankin St.  02  6851 4056
  • Esme’s Coffee Shop, 8 Templar St.  02  6852 2239
  • Vandenberg Hotel, 7 Court St.  02  6852 2015

FORBES’ BEST BITE

Not quite as trendy as Lady Gaga, but Gaga’s Cafe in Lachlan Street is a country town classic … right down to cheese and bacon potato scallops.

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