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Forbes Local History

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The town of Forbes is located in the central west region of New South Wales, Australia. Initially, it was a settlement of cattle graziers, but it grew steadily because of the discovery of gold in the nearby river in the 19th century.

Before European settlement, the area was inhabited by the Wiradjuri people. These people lived off the land by hunting, fishing, and gathering food. Evidence of their occupation includes rock art and grinding grooves in the nearby hills.

Initially, the area was a pastoral lease known as the "Lachlan District", but Forbes was officially established by Sir Francis Forbes in 1817, after whom the town is named. Forbes ordered the subdivision of land in the region, which led to the establishment of a town center, as well as the building of a courthouse and jail.

The discovery of gold in Forbes in 1861 led to a population boom and the town's classification as one of the richest and most populous goldfields in Australia. By 1865, Forbes had a population of more than 30,000 people and was considered the most prosperous town in New South Wales.

The wealth of Forbes attracted many prospectors and miners who came from all over the world to seek their fortunes. They established businesses and services in the town, including hotels, banks, and shops. And as a result, the built heritage of Forbes is marked by grand public buildings and commercial premises constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

One of the most significant buildings from this period is the Forbes Town Hall, built-in 1890 in Renaissance Revival style. This grand building houses a clock tower and a large meeting space, and it is still used as the center for many of the town's cultural events and civic ceremonies.

The opening of the railway line to Forbes in 1893 revolutionized the town's economic landscape. It provided a direct route to Sydney and other regional areas, making it easier to transport goods and services, as well as people. The railway created many new opportunities for the local economy, including the employment of railworkers, the growth of the wheat economy and the region’s viability as a source of wool.

Today, Forbes is a bustling regional center, with a population of about 10,000 people. Its economy is built around agriculture, banking, and significant retail sectors. The town has a fascinating heritage and an array of landmarks and attractions that showcases its history.

Some of the notable landmarks include the Forbes Railway Station, Christ Church Anglican Church, the Forbes Museum, the Statue of Sir Francis Forbes, and the Forbes Cemetery.

To provide visitors with a sense of the town's rich history, the Forbes Historical Society was established in 1964 and runs the Forbes Museum, which offers a narrated history of the town and its established businesses and people.

In conclusion, Forbes is a town steeped in history with a fascinating story of evolution from a pastoral lease to its significant growth during the gold rush period and the establishment of a regional center after the world war 2. And Its fascination continues to attract tourists from all over the world.

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Background thanks to John Goodridge (CC‑BY‑SA‑2.0)