Things to See and Do

Near Forbes, New South Wales, Australia

The area was occupied by the Wiradjuri people prior to white settlement. The first Europeans to set foot on the future town site were the party of John Oxley who camped here in 1817 while engaged on one of the first inland expeditions. Oxley named the site 'Camp Hill', but was unimpressed with the clay soil, poor timber and swamps. In fact, he concluded, 'it is impossible to imagine a worse country'. Nonetheless…

The area was occupied by the Wiradjuri people prior to white settlement. The first Europeans to set foot on the future town site were the party of John Oxley who camped here in 1817 while engaged on one of the first inland expeditions. Oxley named the site 'Camp Hill', but was unimpressed with the clay soil, poor timber and swamps. In fact, he concluded, 'it is impossible to imagine a worse country'. Nonetheless a run named 'Bogabigal' was established here around 1834. However, the town did not emerge until gold was discovered by Harry Stephens in June 1861 at what is now King George V Park (there is a memorial to that effect in the park). The lure initially drew about 30,000 people to the Lachlan goldfields which centred on what was initially known as 'Black Ridge', after the ironbarks which once predominated. This tent city was later renamed 'Forbes', probably after Francis Forbes, the first chief justice of NSW. The influx of people meant opportunities for service providers such as the Albion, the first hotel, which allegedly sold the greatest quantity of alcohol in Australia during the 1860s. It has been claimed that, during the first two years, 8,100kg of gold were turned up although, by 1863 the population had declined to 3,500 due to poor conditions, the small size of alluvial claims and seepage from the Lachlan River into the mine shafts. Throw a line in the Lachlan river or try your luck at catching Yabbies.

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Featured Things to See and Do

Note:
Distance is calculated point-to-point. If landmarks, waterways or rivers are nearby, the distance may be further by road.

Local Highlights

Forbes Township
Forbes is a substantial rural settlement of some 10,000 people on the Lachlan River, 245m above sea-level and located 387km west of Sydney on the Newell Highway between West Wyalong and Parkes. Forbes has some fine parks and gardens associated with a large lagoon known as Lake Forbes which bisects the town. The rural economy is based around major saleyards complex, feed lots and hay exports, wool, wheat, grain and seed crops, fruits and vegetables. Forbes is known for its bushranger history.

Ben Hall Bushranger
Ben Hall was born in Breeza, NSW in 1837. He was the son of ex-convicts, though there is no official record of his birth. At first Hall was a stockman, leasing land at Sandy Creek. In 1856 he married Bridget Walsh, but in 1860 she left him, taking with her his infant son. In 1862 he was arrested for armed robbery, but was acquitted. He was then detained for having a share of the Eugowra gold escort robbery. He was not committed for trial but upon his return to his farm he found that all his animals had been killed and his home burnt down. Hall then joined John Gilbert and became the leader of a gang of bushrangers. Hall's men were well led, well armed and their stolen race horses easily outraced the poorer police horses. In October 1863 they made a daring raid on Bathurst and in 1864 they concentrated on the Sydney-Melbourne road south of Goulburn. Following the shooting of two police constables by the gang, a reward of 1,000 pounds was offered on Hall's head. Betrayed by an informer, Hall was ambushed on 5 May 1865 and shot by police near Goobang Creek on the Lachlan Plain. His body, riddled with gunshot wounds, was buried in Forbes Cemetery. He was 27. His funeral was well attended for his reckless courage, courtesy to women, sense of humour and hatred of informers had won him much public sympathy.

Local Events

Forbes Open Gardens (Various Locations around Forbes)
from 01 October, 2008 to 02 October, 2008
Forbes Horticultural Society and Garden Club invite you to join them for a weekend of open gardens. 10am - 4pm daily. Lunch provided at one garden with proceeds to Can Assist. Map to be provided. $10.00 to visit all gardens, $2.00 per garden.

Van Fest
on 03 December, 2015
Central-west NSW is about to experience its biggest party ever, announcing VANFEST festival. The first Vanfest was held in May earlier this year, taking over Grant's hotel on a spectacular evening, bringing live music and DJs to the region for the first time. It was such a huge success that what started as a one night only event has paved the way for a massive outdoor festival.

Parkes Elvis Festival
from 05 January, 2016 to 09 January, 2015
Parkes Elvis Festival is held each January in Parkes in Central New South Wales. The Festival is held on the second weekend in January to coincide with Elvis Presley’s birthday. Check out the promotional video for a taste of what to expect!

Rotary Ipomoea Markets
from 24 April, 2013 to 24 April, 2013
Foods and knick knacks for sale

Forbes Camel Races
from 26 March, 2013 to 26 March, 2013
Forbes Racecourse, Racecourse Road, Forbes. The Forbes Camel Faces promises a huge program of great family entertainment including eight Camel Races, sweep booth, games, rides, live music, food and drink and licensed bar facilities. Gates open at 10.30am with racing from 11:30am.

Heritage Week
from 02 May, 2013 to 08 May, 2013
Historic rememberance shows Ben Hall Festival

Forbes Country Music Talent Quest
from 07 May, 2013 to 08 May, 2013
2 days of competitions of all ages.

Mezzanine Winter Markets
from 05 June, 2013 to 05 June, 2013
All types of knick knacks.

Rotary Ipomoea Markets
from 26 June, 2013 to 26 June, 2013
Food, trinkets, toys etc.

Bedgerebong Show
from 14 August, 2013 to 14 August, 2013
Animals, sideshows, fun rides etc. Fun family country show day

Rotary Ipomoea Markets
from 28 August, 2013 to 28 August, 2013
All sorts of stuff

Forbes Motor Show
from 03 October, 2013 to 03 October, 2013
Cars and more cars..............

Bedgerebong Country Music Campout Week
from 05 October, 2013 to 12 October, 2013
Music and bush poetry

National Barbecue Championships
from 16 October, 2013 to 16 October, 2013
It will feature amateur barbecue chefs competing for prizes and being judged by a panel of experts and celebrities.

Mezzanine 'Big is Better' Art Exhibition and Competition
from 22 October, 2013 to 22 October, 2013
Art and more art

Rotary Ipomoea Markets
from 27 November, 2013 to 27 November, 2013
Lots of different things to see and buy at the Rotary Ipomoea Markets

Mezzanine Christmas Markets
from 04 December, 2013 to 04 December, 2013
Christmas goodies

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