The Governor of NSW, the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC and Mr Dennis Wilson, were thrilled to resume regional visits with a trip to Forbes, Parkes and Condobolin last week.
The vice regal couple typically have a busy schedule of visiting rural and regional areas - that was put on hold due to COVI-19 restrictions, and her Excellency said it was wonderful to be back out and about.
Forbes they described as "fabulous".
"We've had ball," she told the Advocate at the conclusion of formal events in Forbes on Friday afternoon.
"First of all it is so good to be out in the country," Ms Beazley said.
While Zoom meetings online during the pandemic were "effective", she reflected it was wonderful to mix with people and really get a sense of what's happening on the ground.
This community, she says, has so much to offer to visitors.
"I know you've come out of the such a tough drought but it does seem to me that it's buzzing," the Governor said.
Her Excellency and Mr Wilson began their Forbes tour with a visit to the Platypus Gallery where they heard about plans to grow arts tourism in the region, before visiting the goanna sculpture and learning about improvements being done at Gum Swamp.
They met with members of the Forbes Men's Shed and Boys to the Bush groups, speaking to both groups about their projects at the new Men's Shed premises.
"It's a hive of activity - buzzing in so many respects," Her Excellency said, adding she had heard a lot about the turn-around in the agricultural sector and hoped the good season would continue.
"You've got this real sense of culture going on here, particularly in the arts sphere - very exciting - to see so much of that," she added.
"It really is a place where you feel welcome, and I can only imagine when people - as they travel - you'd stop in Parkes, you'd stop in Forbes, because this is where you just have so much amenity."
That included our picturesque Lake and surrounds as well as the people who contribute to our community.
The Governor and Mr Wilson met with community members including our Citizen of the Year Murray Brown, Senior Citizen Norm Haley and Youth Citizen Krystle-Lee McMurray at a luncheon at Wheogo Park.
"Communities flourish on that type of thing where people remain engaged, they have a sense of the beauty of the place," the Governor said.
At the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre they spoke with Aileen Allen and Joy Russell, and participated in a smoking ceremony with Yarrangirri Holmes.
Forbes High School's Girri Girri sports program leaders met with Her Excellency, as well as representatives of Yoorana Gunya and CatholicCare.
They wrapped up their Forbes visit to Aussie Biscuits, the Rankin Street factory with a lengthy and proud history now making and packaging some 20,000 biscuits a day to send all over the country.
Her Excellency described the tour as an inspirational way to end her visit.
Ms Beazley is the 39th Governor of NSW, commencing her five year tenure on May 2, 2019.
She enjoyed a long and distinguished law career spanning 43 years, during which she was made a judge of the Federal Court of Australia (in 1993), the first woman to sit exclusively in that Court.
In 1996 she was the first woman appointed to the NSW Court of Appeal.