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New South Wales


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Forbes Local History

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Forbes, New South Wales, Australia - a region rich in history that has contributed significantly to the progress of the country. From its humble beginnings as a colonial outpost, Forbes has transformed into a bustling community with a thriving economy and a fascinating past that draws visitors from around the world.

Early Settlements in Forbes

Before the arrival of Europeans, the Forbes region was inhabited by the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people. However, the region's history with European settlers began in the 1820s when explorers John Oxley and Charles Sturt reached the area. After this exploration, Forbes was established as a British colonial outpost and named in honor of Sir Francis Forbes, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.

The first European settlers arrived in Forbes in the 1830s, and by the 1840s, the region's economy had begun to flourish as a result of gold mining and agriculture. The town of Forbes was officially proclaimed in 1861, and by the turn of the century, it was a thriving community with a population of around 5,000.

The Gold Rush of Forbes

One of the most significant events in Forbes's history was the gold rush that began in the 1860s. The discovery of gold in the region led to the founding of several settlements, including the town of Eugowra, which was named after a local Aboriginal word meaning "place of shining quartz." Forbes became a center for gold mining, processing, and transport, thanks to its location at the intersection of several important transportation routes.

The gold rush brought thousands of people to the region, and Forbes flourished as a result. The town's population grew rapidly, and it became a center for trade, commerce, and innovation. In the 1880s, Forbes was home to several large mines and processing plants, including the New Albion and the Federal mine. By the turn of the century, however, the gold rush had begun to wane, and the town's economy shifted to agriculture and other industries.

The Development of Forbes

Throughout the 20th century, Forbes continued to grow and develop. The town remained an important center for agriculture, with many farmers and graziers working in the region. The town's industries expanded to include manufacturing, retail, and services, and Forbes became an important regional center for these sectors.

In the early 1900s, Forbes was a center for innovation and technology. The town was home to the first electric street lighting in the Australian colonies, as well as the first electric telegraph line. Forbes was also one of the first towns in the region to have a regular air service, with flights between Forbes and Sydney operating from the early 1920s.

The Heritage of Forbes

Today, Forbes is a vibrant regional town with a rich and fascinating history. Many of the town's historic buildings and landmarks have been preserved and restored, making it an ideal destination for visitors interested in exploring the region's heritage.

Some of the most notable historic sites in Forbes include the Forbes Railway Station, which was built in the late 19th century and is a National Trust listed building. The station played an important role in the town's growth and development and was a key transportation hub. Visitors can also explore the Forbes Museum, which showcases the region's mining and agricultural heritage, as well as the politics and history of the region. Additionally, the Forbes Historical Society, founded in 1967, is dedicated to preserving the region's heritage and promoting interest in local history.


From its earliest days as a British colonial outpost to its current role as a thriving regional center, Forbes has a fascinating history that has shaped the region, the state, and the country. Today, visitors can explore this heritage by visiting the town's many historic sites and landmarks and learning about the stories and experiences of those who lived and worked in the area. Forbes reminds us of the importance of preserving our history and celebrating our achievements as individuals, communities, and nations.

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