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Forbes - Cities, Towns and Localities

‘Friendly, Historic and Inviting’

Forbes is situated in the heart of the Lachlan Valley, regarded as one of the richest primary producing areas in the state.

It’s beginning however was quiet different. Little did John Oxley and his party know when in 1817 they camped on the banks of the Lachlan River, near Forbes, that within 44 years mayhem would ensure with the discovery of gold. With the discovery of gold in 1861, tens of thousands flock to the region in search of their fortune.

Known briefly as ‘Black Ridge’, by mid 1962 the population had exploded to about 30,000, with great riches being struck. Along with the rush for gold came the bushrangers.

In 1864 Ben Hall and his lieutenants John Gilbert and John Dunn were terrorising residents in the western district, as well as travellers on the main southern road between Sydney and Melbourne. Within five years all three were dead.

The heady days of the gold rush was over as quickly as they began, with the population dwindling to about 500. Agriculture replaced the search for gold with wool, wheat, fruit and lucerne the main produce. With the formation of the inaugural Municipal Council in 1870, and the establishment of the town water supply as early as 1885, replacing the water carts plying between the river and the town centre, Forbes was now established as a viable town. Irrigation had given the town and district stability.

The potential of the ‘lagoon’ that intersects the town was recognised early with successive councils gradually improving its waters and foreshores. Today, Lake Forbes is an incomparable asset to the town.

The heritage of the town can be seen today in the many historic buildings, with the ‘Centenary of Federation Heritage Trail’ detailing the fascinating stories of local buildings, landmarks, and people that shaped the town into what it is today. The ‘Trail Brochure’ is available at the visitors centre or council.

Check out our listing of Forbes accommodation. In addition to our listed online travel guide information, contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

Information Centre

Forbes Visitor Information Centre
Railway Station
Union Street
Ph: 02 6852 4155
Fax: 02 6852 4133
Email / Email


Open 7 days 9 am - 5 pm
Hours may vary, contact visitor centre

Other visitor information can be found at:

Forbes Shire Council
Court Street
Ph: 02 6850 1300

Handicraft Centre & Art Gallery
Lachlan Street
Ph: 02 6851 4591

More info and maps can be downloaded from the council page Tourism in Forbes.

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Forbes Attractions

Centenary of Federation Heritage Trail
• Forbes has long been known for its historic buildings, still in use today. Many of the buildings were featured in the film ‘The Dish’. The ‘Centenary of Federation Heritage Trail’ details the fascinating stories of local buildings, landmarks, and people that shaped the town into what it is today. The ‘Trail Brochure’ is available at the visitors centre or council.
Forbes & District Historical Museum
• Cross St, FORBES NSW 2871 • Ph: 02 6851 6600 • Ph: 02 6852 3856
• The building housing the museum was originally a music hall and part of the Osborne Hotel. The museum has a varied and interesting display of relics from the bushranging days of Ben Hall; a vintage kitchen; antique farm machinery; and many other items of interest including an excellent display of Aboriginal artefacts. There is a comprehensive photographic section that recalls bygone days in the shire, and there is a dedication to Paul Wenz, the ‘Henry Lawson of France’.
Lake Forbes
• The Lake or ‘lagoon’ as it was known, is a great place for picnics and fishermen. There are grassed banks, large shade trees, BBQ and picnic facilities. There is a playground and a fountain. Toilets are found at four picnic spots - Apex Park, nearby Grinsted Oval, Lions Park on the southern side of Oxley Bridge and at Rotaract Park in Bandon Street.

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Forbes Distance

Distance to Forbes
• Following are some approximate distances by road to Forbes:
Bathurst 171.4
Cootamundra 164.0
Cowra 90.4
Dubbo 152.5
Mudgee 244.4
Orange 117.2
Parkes 32.9
Sydney 373.9
Temora 163.8
Wagga Wagga 247.3
Wellington 143.4
Young 115.2
Distances given are only approximation, they should be verified with the appropriate maps.
The Australian Automotive Motoring Associations also offer select access to travel trip planners.

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Forbes Other links

• Forbes Community/Local Government Links
• Forbes Related Links
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