Within ten years of the first gold strike, Forbes was proclaimed a Municipality in 1870. Thought to be named after Sir Francis Forbes, a chief justice of New South Wales, Forbes comprised an area of 32,000 acres which was reduced to 6,000 acres in 1927 when 26,000 were added to the shire of Jemalong. The council's first balance sheet for the year 1870 showed an expenditure of 349/12 pound. In 1970 the value of the ratable property was $3,706,560.00.

By the time the town had reached Municipal and shire status, gold had become secondary to the agriculture and pastoral wealth of the district. Between this time and the First World War there was considerable consolidation of holdings as the free selectors sold out their one pound per acre properties, at a considerable profit to the larger land holder, keen to regain the land lost earlier to the "cockies"

In the township itself the pattern of settlement of today was being laid down. Shops, Offices, Hotels and Churches of the gold rush days clustered near the original workings on a small area of slightly higher ground between the former water course of King George V Park and Lake Forbes. Those who prospered built fine homes on what was recognised as the pick of residential areas of town. The first of these, Camp Hill overlooks the lake and commercial centre. On the North Hill, the citing of homes revels the old resident's knowledge of the flood position.

As land in the Camp Hill area is hard to come by, the growth of homes and shops in the North Hill area has shown a phenomenal growth and in some cases has extended into the Shire area.

Naming of the town

The period during which the Lachlan mining settlement became officially known as Forbes is pinpointed in the postal history of Forbes.

The site where gold was discovered was known as the  black ridge and it was under this name that an application was first made for postal facilities in the mining settlement. The postmasters at Bundaburra and Lambing Flat (Young) first presented the need for postal facilities at Black Ridge diggings.

Their request went the authorities in October 1861. They were supported by the mayor and councillors of Orange Municipal Council who petitioned the Postmaster General requesting that mail be dispatched to Black Ridge three times a week. Postmaster Butchart of Lambing Flat already provided a mail service and had opened Black Ridge Post Office, which became officially recognised. Before the official postmarking stamp for Black Ridge could have be provided, the name "Forbes" appeared in a memorandum dated November 27, 1861 in which it was asked whether the post office would be known as Black Ridge or Forbes.

Forbes Family History Group

The Forbes Family History Group provide a research facility for people wanting information on ancestors and family history in the Forbes region. Pop in and see them on Wednesday's from 10am-7pm and on Saturday's 11am-3pm at the Research Room at the rear of Forbes Library.

For enquiries please email - or visit