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Forbes Shire

About the profile areas

The 2016 Estimated Resident Population for Forbes Shire is 9,808, with a population density of 0.02 persons per hectare.

Location and boundaries

Forbes Shire is located in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, about 360 kilometres west of the Sydney CBD. Forbes Shire is bounded by Parkes Shire in the north, the Cabonne Council area in the east, Cowra Shire and Weddin Shire in the south, and Bland Shire and Lachlan Shire in the west.

Name origin

Forbes is thought to be named after Sir Francis Forbes, the first Chief of Justice of New South Wales.

Settlement history

European settlement of the area dates from 1817, following exploration. Land was used mainly for farming. Population was minimal until the gold rush of the 1850s and 1860s, when the township of Forbes was established. Growth continued in the late 1800s, aided by the construction of the railway line. The most significant development occurred during the post-war years. The population declined slightly from the early 1990s, falling from over 10,000 in 1991 to about 9,000 in 2011.

Land use

Forbes Shire is predominantly rural, with several townships which include residential, industrial and commercial areas. Settlement is based mainly in the town of Forbes (95% of the population), and the smaller villages of Bedgerabong, Corinella, Ootha and Wirrinya. The Shire encompasses a total land area of about 4,700 square kilometres. Much of the rural area is used for farming, including sheep and cattle grazing, dairy farming, orcharding and viticulture.


Forbes Shire is served by the Newell Highway and Forbes Aerodrome.

Major features

Major features of the Shire include the Lachlan River, Lake Forbes, Lake Cowal, Jemalong Weir, Gum Swamp Bird Hide (Wildlife Sanctuary), Eugowra Nature Reserve, the Forbes CBD, McFeeters Motor Museum, Forbes Historical Society Museum, TAFE NSW Western Institute (Forbes College), Forbes Hospital, Ben Hall's Grave and various wineries.

Indigenous background

The original inhabitants of the Forbes area were the Wiradjuri Aboriginal people.

Included areas

Forbes Shire includes the localities of Bedgerebong, Cookamidgera (part), Corinella (part), Daroobalgie (part), Derriwong (part), Eugowra (part), Forbes, Garema, Gunning Gap, Jemalong, Lake Cowal (part), Mandagery (part), Mulguthrie, Mulyandry, Ooma, Ootha (part), Paytens Bridge, Warraderry (part), Warroo (part), Wirrinya (part) and Yarrabandai (part).