Home to splendid heritage buildings, gorgeous river banks and leafy parks, Forbes is an elegant town in the beautiful Lachlan Valley in the Parkes region of NSW. Gold was discovered in the area in 1861. You can learn all about the colonial gold rush and the notorious bushrangers in Forbes.
Appreciate the town’s architecture 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.
Ben Hall and Frank Gardiner are the most infamous of the early bushrangers to have roamed the district. In 1862 they carried out Australia’s biggest gold robbery, the Escort Rock heist, bailing up the Forbes to Orange gold escort coach near Eugowra, just east of Forbes.
The Forbes and District Historical Society Museum has a fascinating exhibition on Hall, whose short life ended in a hail of bullets on 5 May 1865 near Goobang Creek, northwest of Forbes. You can visit his gravesite in the Forbes cemetery. A white picket fence borders the grave.
You can also explore the Ben Hall discovery room in the Forbes Visitor Information Centre, in the heritage-listed old railway station. Other things to do and see in Forbes include the McFeeters Motor Museum’s remarkable collection of vehicles dating back to 1905. Lake Forbes is a lovely spot for picnics.
Check out the events calendar for upcoming festivities, such as the Kalari-Lachlan River Arts Festival, a biennial festival. Forbes is three hours’ drive from Canberra and five hours from Sydney. Trains depart Sydney for Orange, with a connecting bus. Or fly to Parkes and rent a car.