Heritage items are those things identified as having heritage significance for a community. They are things which have survived from an earlier time and illustrate how an area has grown and developed. Forbes has a unique and rich history and the identification and protection of heritage items helps to illustrate this history. Council has a responsibility to identify local heritage items and seeks to preserve the heritage of Forbes by encouraging sensitive management of these public and private items. There are 157 existing heritage items and heritage conservation areas which are listed in Schedule 5 of Local Environmental Plan (LEP) 2013. They include private dwellings, public buildings, gardens, reserves, commercial and industrial buildings, landscape features, bus shelters and memorials. 

LEP Heritage Mapping 

Alterations and Development

If you own a heritage building, then Council would not like to see that building demolished. However a heritage listing does not mean that a building cannot be changed. Heritage buildings can be altered, extended or modernised, as long as these changes are appropriate and take the buildings heritage significance into account. 

Heritage Advisory Service

The Heritage Advisory Service offers free professional advice from Forbes Shire Council's Heritage Advisor who visits Forbes every second month. The advisory service is available to owners who want to renovate or redevelop private homes or commercial buildings, occupiers of buildings with historical significance, or owners of movable heritage items who want to undertake conservation work. This advice can include the topics of colour schemes, extensions, verdandahs, awnings and fences as well as more comprehensive advice on the integration of new development in heritage conservation areas. The free advice which is provided is of a general nature and should be considered as the starting point for more extensive work that may require an architect, builder or designer.  


Aboriginal Heritage

When the Central West began flourishing with Europeans looking for gold they followed an Aboriginal highway over the Blue Mountains, on the track that is now the Great Western Highway.

The initial relations between the new settlers and Wiradjuri were widely reported to be relatively peaceful. The Wiradjuri people began sharing their food and resources with the newcomers. It was the Aboriginal knowledge, the settlers needed to establish their properties, and build their homes. The Wiradjuri campsites were places that were sheltered, had clear water, and were safe from flooding, this is the information the settlers didn’t know.

As the large pastoral stations began to be established they needed workers and Aboriginal labourers and their families were perfect for this.

To the Wiradjuri, a place is defined by sunlight casting deeper shadows in the afternoon, the arc of a river and the peculiar flatness of a rock, they do not define a place with a town or town centre. It is a very different way of thinking of place.

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Heritage Awards

Each year Forbes Shire Council shines a spotlight on the great work that is carried out in our community to promote our natural, built and cultural heritage. Nominations are now open for the 2020 Forbes Heritage Volunteer Award and the Forbes Medal.

Forbes Heritage Volunteer Award
The Forbes Heritage Volunteer Award recognises and rewards an individual in the Forbes Shire who has a consistent record of excellence and who has made outstanding achievements as a volunteer in the heritage of Forbes and District.

Nominations will be sought for Forbes and District community members, who display excellence in any facet of community service, development and promotion of heritage.

Forbes Medal
Council will award the medal to a person or organisation responsible for an outstanding contribution to the Shire’s environmental heritage or to the understanding of that heritage. A contribution to environmental heritage could comprise one or more of the following:

  • the conservation of a building, place or object through maintenance, preservation, repair and reconstruction
  • sensitive alterarions or additions to a significant building
  • sympathetic new building in a historic townscape or rural setting 
  • the sympathetic adaptation of a significant building for a new use

The work must have been completed within the preceding five (5) years.A contribution to the understanding of the Shire’s heritage could include:

  • a history, heritage study or commentary
  • interpretive material at heritage sites
  • an exhibition
  • a presentation using any medium

CBD Heritage Revival Program

Council is able to assist local business owners, and owners of buildings of heritage significance located within the Forbes CBD, with the restoration of verandahs and awnings, new signage or just a new coat of paint. 

Council have a Heritage Advisory service which provides free advice from Council’s Heritage Advisor, as well as $ for $ financial  assistance, through its Local Heritage Assistance Fund; an initiative that has assisted many businesses and residents with heritage conservation projects.