Forbes (map) is a town and local government area located on the Newell Highway between Parkes and West Wyalong.  Situated on the banks of the Lachlan River, the town is 245m above sea-level and about 380km west of Sydney (population circa 8,500). It is a prime wheat growing area.

The area was occupied by the Wiradjuri people prior to European settlement. John Oxley passed through in 1817 during one of the first inland expeditions. Oxley named the site Camp Hill. He was unimpressed with the clay soil, poor timber and swamps and he concluded, it is impossible to imagine a worse country. The first settlers moved into the district in 1834.

Gold was discovered by Harry Stephens, also known as 'German Harry' in June 1861.  Initially found in the area known as Halpin's Flat, the goldfields were named 'Black Ridge'.  The Albion Hotel, once a Cobb & Co stage coach destination, has tunnels situated beneath which were used during the gold rush to convey gold and money to and from the banks in order to minimise the chance of theft.

Initially about 30,000 people moved to the Lachlan goldfields, but by 1863 this had declined to about 3,500 because of the difficult mining conditions. It was during this gold-rush that the name Forbes came into use. The name possibly comes from the surname of Francis Forbes, the first chief justice of NSW.  The name was administered through Sydney possibly as a government error.  It is said that the name was meant for the town now known as 'Hill End' near Mudgee where gold was also  discovered at a similar time. 

One of Australia's most renowned bushrangers, Ben Hall, was shot dead in gun battle about 20km to the north-west of town on 5 May, 1865.  Hall and his gang were famous for stealing 77kg of gold and £3,700 from the near-by town of Eugowra in 1862. He is buried in the Forbes Cemetery.  Kate Kelly, the sister of bushranger Ned Kelly, lived in the town and drowned in a lagoon on the Lachlan River in 1898.  She is also buried in Forbes Cemetery.

Towns and villages  include Bedgerebong, Bundbarrah, Corradgery, Daroobalgie, Eugowra, Ooma North and Paytens Bridge. 

Forbes GenWeb Coordinator:  Volunteer Required



Return to Central WestGenWeb Hompage

© Central WestGenWeb Project

AustraliaGenWeb  NSW Logo WorldGenWeb Project