Forbes, NSW

We hadn’t planned on visiting Forbes. Our plan was to get up tomorrow morning, and travel from Parkes to Griffith, completely by-passing Forbes.

By around lunchtime, however, we had “ran out of things to do” in Parkes. We had visited the local huseum (which was very interesting), we had visited the CSIRO Radio Telescope, and we’d had lunch at “The Paragon” (suggested to me by a former colleague who grew up here).

“Maybe we should go to Forbes for the afternoon?”, I suggested to Sue. A bit of Googling revealed there was some interesting public art in the area. Neither of us found the sculptures in the main part of town all that interesting, but we had read about the sculpture of a giant gonna, located several kilometres out of town.

The Forbes Art Society’s vision for the project is to establish the Lachlan Valley as an iconic tourism destination featuring unique public art with twenty large sculptures placed along a trail extending from Forbes to Condobolin, recognised by their size and artistic merit.

The first sculpture to be installed is a 22 metre long, 5.5 metre tall galvanised steel Goanna named Varanus (Gugaa) crafted by northern NSW sculptor Glen Star. “Anyone who has been camping in the bush has probably seen a lace monitor,” explains Glen. “The second largest goanna, it grows up to 2 metres in length. The goanna is of special significance to the Wiradjuri people as a totemic animal, and a food source particularly during tough times.”

We were both really impressed by our discovery of the giant goanna located near a neighbouring wetland. A newspaper article we read mentions how the wetland development and the sculpture park is intended to provide some income protection during periods of economic distress.

“How awesome is it that locals realise the environment and arts can be at the centre of the town’s economic development”, I said to Sue.

Gum Swamp wetland, near Forbes, NSW.
Lovely flowers in the field (and some Paterson’s Curse) near the wetland development at Forbes, NSW.

We also saw several signs for the bushranger, Ben Hall. I’d first heard of him as a child, thanks to a terrific ABC-TV series. Ben (and his gang) operated in the area around Forbes. He was shot, aged 27. There are references in local tourism publications about how you can visit the sight where he was shot. It was a little far out of town, so we concentrated on what we could find in town.

If you look closely, you’ll see there are coins on the gravesite. “He wasn’t a rob from the rich give to the poor kind of character, was he?”, I asked Sue. Neither of us knew the answer, so if you know why there are coins left on the grave, please leave a comment below.
“He’s not as hot as the actor who played Ben Hall on the TV show, and he looks way older than 27”, I noted.

4 Replies to “Forbes, NSW”

  1. Big Banana, Big Pineapple, Big Crayfish……..blah. Big Goanna! I love it. Did you Google about the coins on the grave?

  2. Not because I think I have superior googling skillz, but out of curiosity, I did have a wee look and naturally didn’t uncover any solution to the coin mystery. However it is pretty fascinating to see how the grave has changed over time!

    Image search link, tiny URL’d:

  3. A friend posted on Facebook “That bastard robbed my ancestors’ farm, stole the horses (which was like taking their living away because they needed them on a farm) and their guns, he was too big a dumb f*** to realise the girls had hidden the little money they had in their hair, the man and his riff-raff mates were pure scum – if he was alive today he’d be a petty car thief doing home invasions threatening bodily harm to innocent families in order to feed his meth habit…”

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