Forbes Medal awarded to Medical Centre's Discovering our Doctors project

Forbes Medical Centre’s Discovering Our Doctors project has been awarded the 2017 Forbes Medal for heritage preservation.

Dr Neale Somes and the Medical Centre principals birthed the project five years ago, with a desire to tell the stories of the two GP practices that served the town before the Medical Centre was built. 

Over the past four years they have covered the walls of the Medical Centre with the fascinating stories of the town’s earlier doctors. 

On Wednesday night the project was given top honours of Forbes Heritage 2017 at the annual heritage presentation evening. 

Dr Somes said he was surprised as well as honoured by the award.

There’s no doubt, however, about the popularity of the panels. 

Another three doctors’ stories were unveiled before a full house on Monday night with the doctors’ children returning for the occasion.

Find out more about this year’s doctors here

Dr Somes still regularly hears stories of the town’s former doctors, and has never wanted patients to think they have been lost in the move to one, modern medical centre.

Increasingly, he sees the panels as an inspiration to the medical students and young doctors who come to Forbes – the panels are an opportunity to see how their forebears practiced medicine.

“History is important, it sheds light in trying to understand humanity,” Dr Somes said.

He thanked his partners and colleagues at Forbes Medical Centre as well as the families of the doctors so far recognised, for their commitment to the project. 

“I think another reason it’s successful is because of the quality (of the panels) and Kerry Neaylon deserves congratulations for that,” Dr Somes said. 

Council’s heritage advisor Graham Hall praised the project for the “extensive and meticulous research and active participation of the doctors’ families”. 

He complimented the panels’ excellent graphic design and readability.

Other nominees for this year’s Medal were:

The Legend of Ben Hall

Two Tone Pictures has produced a feature film on Forbes’ most infamous character, Ben Hall. 

Research was undertaken to produce the movie, based in the Forbes district, in the era when Ben Hall and his gang reigned supreme.

The filmmakers examined records of the Forbes township and the Lachlan region during the 1860s gold rush. They visited the site where Hall was shot. 

The movie focuses on Hall’s final days and his death at the hands of police. 

The Legend of Ben Hall had its world premiere in Forbes on Saturday, November 12, 2016 and was released nationally in December. 

Restoration of the Ivel tractor

The Ivel tractor, built between 1902 and 1908, is claimed to be the first successful tractor built.

Only 380 were manufactured and only eight are known to exist today – just three of those in Australia.

The Forbes and District Historical Society purchased this Ivel in the 1970s, but it had been abandoned for many years and was not running.

After a long working life in the Forbes and Gooloogong area, the tractor had been exposed to the elements and submerged in flood waters on numerous occasions.

A team of four volunteers dismantled it to stabilise it and have invested some 700 hours in restoring the tractor.  

Ben Hall family tree panel and booklet

After many years of enquiries from visitors, the Forbes Railway Arts and Tourist Centre embarked on a project to present the family tree of Ben Hall.

A local Ben Hall enthusiast was engaged to undertake the research, sourcing information from Forbes Museum, Family History Group, Murrurundi Museum, numerous publications and descendants of Ben Hall’s siblings.

The panel tells two stories – Hall’s parents and early life; and his short marriage. 

So much information was gathered that it could not fit on the panel. A booklet has been produced and is on display in the visitor centre’s Ben Hall room. 

Read the Advocate’s story on the panel, including photos of Hall’s descendants who attended its unveiling, here

The Advocate thanks Kerry Neaylon for the blurbs on this year’s award nominees. 

The other main honour to be announced on Wednesday night was Forbes’ Heritage Volunteer of the Year