Call to bring museum west

A recent letter in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH Letters Column 4/5/18) suggested that with all the controversy surrounding the transfer of The Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta the current State Government might be encouraged to move the Maritime Museum from Darling Harbour to Forbes or Wilcannia. Obviously the author of the letter was tongue in cheek, however as an ex-Forbes boy I immediately sent a letter to the SMH extolling the virtues of putting all those old boats on prime-movers and sending them to the bush.

The site of the new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta. Photo: Louise Kennerley. Sydney Morning Herald.

The site of the new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta. Photo: Louise Kennerley. Sydney Morning Herald.

I have decided to put my case to Forbes ...

It’s worth remembering that Forbes was once part of a vast and shallow inland sea, anyone who doubts this need only remember the massive hole that was dug at the tip, apart from searching for scrap metal and taking stamps off the paper waste ... a kid could chop out the remains of fossilised fish. 

My parents were working on a farm a few miles out of Forbes when we got a massive flood during the 1950’s. I remember well the lack of panic as the floodwaters whirled about the kitchen and roared down the hall. Us kids kept an eye out for snakes as we sat on our beds and Mum and Dad calmly drank their tea whilst sitting on the kitchen table. When the water put out the fuel stove we knew it was time to go. A young man wearing a black beret and green uniform loaded us onto a massive vehicle we called an “army duck” and took us into town where we stayed with a family on higher ground.

During the floods we kids would walk along the railway tracks towards the golf club, kicking off the odd snake or goanna who had managed to find a safe haven on a sleeper, the water that gushed over Johnny Wood’s Bridge always resulted in some idiot getting washed off his bike (this was a sport limited to adolescent boys). I can still remember a man who decided to chance it driving a small Citroen car. It’s probably still on the bottom of the lake.

The creek that ran through the Golf Club had water rats the size of small horses and we poked about the shallows looking for huge freshwater mussels, they were the days when you could toss in a line in the river and catch a few Yellow Belly for dinner.

Forbes has a lovely lake and I have no doubt all those old riggers and steamships cluttering up Darling Harbour would love floating up and down the lake.

Brian Mc Keown, Long Jetty NSW 2261