Forbes has long been known for its grand heritage buildings set alongside gorgeous riverbanks and leafy parks. A new, world-class sculpture trail shows there's more to this town in the beautiful Lachlan Valley than meets the eye. See the town’s changing face, from colonial gold rush times and notorious bushrangers to the modern day.
History & heritage
Gold was discovered in the Parkes region in 1861 and helped shaped the area. Learn about the colonial gold rush and famed bushrangers at the Forbes and District Historical Society Museum. It has a fascinating exhibition on bushranger Ben Hall, whose life ended in a hail of bullets at nearby Goobang Creek in 1865.
Ben Hall and Frank Gardiner were the district’s most infamous bushrangers, responsible for the Escort Rock heist in 1862. Australia’s biggest gold robbery, the gang ambushed the Forbes-Orange gold escort coach near Eugowra. Forbes Visitor Information Centre, in the heritage-listed railway station, also has a Ben Hall discovery room.
There’s more colonial architecture on show on the Forbes Heritage Walk, which includes Victoria Park, where Prince Charles planted an elm tree in 1994. Many of Forbes’ heritage buildings featured in The Dish, a movie about the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope’s role in the 1969 Moon landing.
Art & culture
Sculpture Down the Lachlan is an inland sculpture trail inspired by Bondi Beach's famous Sculpture By The Sea festival. This impressive public art trail is a permanent exhibition, starting in Forbes and winding 100kms to Condoblin alongside the Lachlan River.
Forbes has more to offer on the culture front, including the McFeeters Motor Museum’s remarkable collection of vehicles dating back to 1905. Check out the events calendar for upcoming festivities, such as the Taste on Templar feast in November and Frost and Fire, celebrating the winter solstice in June. The inaugural Vanfest Music and Arts Festival kicks off in December.
Eat & drink
Grazing Down The Lachlan is an annual food festival in September, which celebrates produce native to the Central West region and Lake Forbes is a lovely spot for picnics. In town, stop by Bakehouse for country cakes and pies and enjoy modern pub classics or a beer on tap at the Forbes Inn Hotel.
Forbes is a five-hour drive from Sydney, seven hours from Melbourne and three hours from Canberra. Trains depart Sydney for Orange, with a connecting bus. Or fly into Parkes and rent a car for the 25min drive.