The story of the Lake Forbes De Havilland Vampire

The iconic Vampire jet near Apex Park has been fenced off while the council investigates structural issues.

Forbes Shire Council says a community member with a keen eye noticed some cracks forming in the fuselage around the nose cone of the historic plane.

For safety, the area has been cordoned off while council investigates - and the news has ignited discussion on social media about just how much we love this local icon.

"This may be ongoing due to the specialised nature of the aircraft," the council said in a post to the Facebook page.

"Council recognises the community significance of the Vampire jet and we will do our best to resolve the issues in a timely manner."

The De Havilland Vampire has been in its place by Lake Forbes since 1971, the 50th anniversary of the Royal Australian Airforce.

The DH 100 Vampire was a single-seat fighter bomber that entered RAAF service in 1949 - so how did this one end up in Forbes?

Wal Williams, who was president of the Forbes Aero Club as well as the council's health and building surveyor at the time, said it was intended as a drawcard for the town.

And it would be fair to say it's become iconic indeed, the subject of hundreds of photographs and videos particularly as floodwaters rush through the lake.

Mr Williams said the story went back to the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the then Forbes Municipal Council purchased the plane from the RAAF at Wagga.

The Vampire had been used at their training centre - stripped down and rebuilt in training mechanics - and was one of three they made available for sale at the time.

"The aircraft came into service about the Korean war," he explained. "They were made by De Havilland at Bankstown ... there weren't a lot of them made."

The Vampire is a twin broom aircraft with centre fuselage: the booms are made of aluminium but the fuselage is timber.

"Once council had purchased it there was need for people and money to get it together and establish something somewhere - like a Big Banana as it were," Mr Williams said.

It was brought to Forbes by Connie Jones Transport - the engine sold to cover the cost of the transport.

Mr Williams recalls the Services Club and local businesses supported the cause, and the Forbes aero club was involved with the installation.

Leo Richardson and Doug Andrews, with other members, put the plane back together at Wright Heaton's premises in Dowling Street.

The Lakeside location was chosen and Snow Hodder Concrete donated the concrete; Les Wright did the welding to see the plane placed.

It was always to be a crowd-stopper, Mr Williams says, in an era where country towns were looking for things to set them apart and potentially lure more city-dwellers here.

A point of difference for Forbes' Vampire, of course, is its "unusual attitude".

"Most other aircraft that are used for this purpose are mounted in a climb position," Mr Williams says.

But if Forbes' Vampire were to be aimed up, it would look at a glance to a motorist on the Newell Highway bridge as if the plane was coming in their direction.

So Forbes' plane was positioned for descent - and there it has been for more than 50 years.