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
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
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.