Diggers' sculptures earn 2021 Forbes Medal for contribution to heritage

Heritage committee chair Cr Michelle Herbert and Mayor Phyllis Miller present the Forbes Medal to Steve Walker on behalf of the RSL and the Walker family.

Heritage committee chair Cr Michelle Herbert and Mayor Phyllis Miller present the Forbes Medal to Steve Walker on behalf of the RSL and the Walker family.

The Forbes RSL Sub Branch and the Walker family have been award the Forbes Medal for Heritage Conservation for the installation of two sculptures of Australian diggers at our local cenotaph.

The sculptures depict Australian servicemen from World War I and World War II, and they stand either side of the Boer War memorial behind the Cenotaph in Victoria Park.

The sculptures were chosen for the awarding of this year's Medal from five nominations as part of Forbes Heritage 2021 celebrations.

Forbes Heritage advisor Graham Hall said the sculptures really are "superb works of art" and recommended people have a look at them.

Sculptor Alex Koloszy was commissioned to create the works as Forbes RSL Sub Branch looked to commemorate the centenary of the Gallopoli landing in 2015.

But the current symmetry of the memorials already in the park led to the decision to commission a second piece, a World War II digger, and this was donated by the Walker family.

The sculptures at the cenotaph in Victoria Park.

The sculptures at the cenotaph in Victoria Park.

Steve Walker accepted the medal on behalf of his family and the sub branch.

"I'm sure the RSL will be very proud to accept the award and on behalf of the Walker family, we're a very proud Forbes family, so we are honoured to receive this, thank you very much."

Mayor Phyllis Miller officially opened Tuesday night's 2021 Forbes Heritage Week awards presentations and welcomed everyone to the Platypus gallery.

"(Heritage) is not just about the buildings, it's about all the things we do and we know, because we live here, just how fantastic it is," she said.

Cr Michelle Herbert, chair of council's heritage committee, said the night was one to pay tribute to the rich heritage of Forbes and the people in our community who are the champions of this.

"We are so proud of the amazing heritage of our town, and it's important that we recognise the people who are making outstanding contributions to preserving it," she said.

"Heritage is not just about old buildings and old things, it is about the people and the stories that have shaped our area.

"This year's theme is heritage for the future, and by celebrating our heritage in a modern way it is interesting and fun for the next generation."

Heritage week concludes with the council's 150 plus 1 celebrations on Saturday night.

This year's other Forbes Medal nominees were:

Rob Willis for his research into the background of the planting of Phoenix palms planted in Court Street - article published both in print and online media and shared on social media.

Those palm trees are influencing future planning including the CBD masterplan and the landscaping around the Camp Street Bridge.

Forbes Museum for their work to renovate the upstairs portion of the former Osborne Hall, now home to the Forbes and District Museum, to make more exhibition space.

Volunteers have spent many hours at work to reveal the original floorboards and remove some of the non-structural internal walls.

The reconstruction of the back verandah at the Forbes Tennis Club was nominated. The clubhouse was built in 1940 and Mr Hall said the job was an excellent example of very sound conservation practice.

The new verandah is made in the original material, cypress pine, and efforts have been made to get the traditional width of board and use tongue and groove even though current decking is typically built differently.

The restoration of the band rotunda in Victoria Park was also highlighted as a Medal nominee.

Mr Hall said the current rotunda, replacing an earlier one, was built in 1926 and it serves as a very different type of war memorial: one that celebrates peace time.

"The wrought iron round the base is clearly Edwardian or later, the cast iron round the top seems to me to be earlier and I wonder if it's left over from the (original) "pixie pavilion"," he said.

"In the ceiling there's a little bit of early art deco in the plasterwork."