Museum uncovers some of Forbes' medical history

Dr Hemant has helped the Museum to label and explain some of the incredible early medical equipment on display. Photo courtesy Forbes and District Historical Society.
Dr Hemant has helped the Museum to label and explain some of the incredible early medical equipment on display. Photo courtesy Forbes and District Historical Society.

If you're making a post lockdown to-do list, put a visit to Forbes and District Historical Society's Cross Street Museum on it.

There are many dramatic changes taking place which involve the creation of additional display areas on the first floor of Osborne Hall.

During this process there have been many exciting discoveries, not only with the building and its original 1878 structure, but in the numerous items that have been donated to the museum never previously exhibited.

Forbes and District Historical Society was founded in 1948 by local business man A.J. Gunn and other like-minded residents of Forbes and began with a small display in the School of Arts (now the Forbes Library).

Meetings ceased in 1957 due to the ill health of Mr Gunn and it was not until 1963 that they resumed due to the initiative of Dr J. E. Kelleher.

The collection quickly grew with the support of the community and a larger venue was needed.

After strenuous fundraising efforts and, with the assistance of the Municipal Council, Osborne Hall in Cross Street was purchased in 1968. The Museum was opened on April 27, 1970.

Dr R Fox, the orthodontist, generously donated his rooms to the cause in 2014 which provided greater display areas for the collection and additional toilet facilities.

These four rooms, which are adjacent to Osborne Hall, were originally built by Dr Edward C. Palmer as his consulting rooms.

One of the rooms now displays medical equipment used in Forbes over the years.

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The items were discovered when reorganising the upstairs portion of the building, originally hotel accommodation later transformed into two separate living areas.

Many of the machines were used in the 1950s by the doctors at the Forbes Hospital and at various consulting rooms including doctors Kelleher, G Young (Flying Doctor) and I. A. Mclean (known as Dr Mac).

These items would be a mystery to many of us, and the Forbes and District Historical Society (and community) are indebted to Dr Hemant who kindly shared his extensive knowledge to help label them.

There are also many objects from the Forbes Ambulance Station, a dentist chair with equipment from Dr A G Harris and many other objects too numerous to mention, all with fascinating stories to tell.

During the centenary of WW1 three of the rooms were occupied by exhibits from the war, as well as photographs and possessions of the many men from Forbes who fought in the battles in Gallipoli, in the Middle East and in Europe.

This exhibition has been reduced to one room with one of the remaining rooms now displaying WW11 memorabilia and the other one displaying childhood items such as toys, cots, prams, books etc. that have been donated by the generous members of the Forbes' community over the years.

The Forbes and District Historical Society museum is in Cross Street and under normal circumstances open 2pm to 4pm every day.

When lockdown lifts, they would love you to come and be inspired by these items and the stories of people that reflect and contribute to the wonderful history of our town, Forbes.

Dr Hemant has helped the Museum to label and explain some of the incredible early medical equipment on display. Photo courtesy Forbes and District Historical Society.

Dr Hemant has helped the Museum to label and explain some of the incredible early medical equipment on display. Photo courtesy Forbes and District Historical Society.