Big moves as Museum makes way for Advocate history

When the Forbes Advocate office closed down last year, we were extremely fortunate that much of their printing equipment, some office furniture and many photographs were donated to the Forbes Historical Society.

These are now on display at the museum in Cross Street.

The Forbes Advocate was first published on December 1, 1911, by two brothers Anthony and George Brownhill from an office on Lachlan Street.

It was a bi-weekly publication available on Tuesdays and Fridays for the cost of threepence.

After WW1 the scarcity and the price of paper dramatically increased, so to reduce the costs involved in running the paper the Forbes Advocate incorporated the Forbes Times on 31 March 1920, thus eliminating a competitor.

In 1927 the Brownhill brothers sold out to the Western Newspaper Company and for a brief time the paper was published tri-weekly for two pence on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

In 1928 the Taylor brothers, Jack and Garner (Barney) moved to Forbes to print the first issue of the Western Sun newspaper.

They brought with them the first automatic printing press which was the first of its kind in country NSW.

However, the depression of the 1930s made life difficult for the Forbes three newspapers; the Advocate, the Advertiser and the Western Sun. Consequently, they amalgamated to form one newspaper, the Forbes Advocate run by the Taylor brothers.

In those days the printing of the paper was carried out entirely in Forbes and published bi-weekly.

When the Advocate was bought by the Sydney magnate Kerry Packer in the late 1970s it was involved in the practice of large media organisations taking over smaller papers.

This, along with technological advancements and the centralisation of production, meant that printing was moved to larger centres such as Orange and Dubbo.

In the years since the Advocate has come under the ownership of Macquarie Publications, Rural Press, Fairfax and Nine, today the Advocate is one of 160 regional publications run by Australian Community Media (ACM).

The paper is now published once a week on Thursdays and printed in Tamworth.


In order to display the Forbes Advocate equipment and memorabilia it was necessary to move other early Forbes artifacts.

One of these was a life-sized wooden horse that required moving to an area where it could be seen more easily.

This horse was used at John Meagher & Co, a well-known department store in Forbes, as a part of a display of saddles and other riding equipment.

It is reported that when a flood was approaching the town the large weighty horse was carried up the stairs that were in the middle of the shop - no mean feat. The store was where K-Hub now is situated.

The relocation of the horse to its present position at the museum was competently carried out by a gallant number of strong men from the Forbes Council, who volunteered for the task.

We, at the museum, really appreciated their effort.

Other artifacts that had to be moved were the large number of chemist bottles that have been generously donated to the museum by the various pharmacies that have existed in Forbes over the years.

Many of the medicine bottles are made of coloured glass, whereas others have Forbes labels imprinted on them. These are now displayed in the medical room, along with many other medical equipment.

The displays at the museum are constantly being refreshed and changed to enable us to tell the fascinating diverse history of Forbes and the people that have lived here.