History comes to life through Forbes' new digital heritage trail

You'll soon be able to hear voices from our community's past at the click of a link from a QR code.

Local had the first look at Forbes' digital heritage trail on Saturday as part of the 2022 Forbes Heritage Festival, with the project to open up a whole new insight into some of our heritage buildings and locations.

Town Hall, Victoria Park, and the former Lachlan Vintage Village - to become Forbes' Visitor Information Centre - are the first sites to feature in the project suggested by now Cr Michele Herbert back in 2012.

The short videos bring together photographs, sounds and stories from across the decades and will be accessible via QR code from the sites.

Visitors to the former Vintage Village, for example, will see images of its heyday and hear the voice of then Prime Minister Gough Whitlam declaring it open.

While looking up at Forbes' Town Hall, you can hear the story of the man who climbed to the top of the flag pole.

Rob Willis - Forbes local, oral historian with the National Library who connected and narrated the stories - said it was all about bringing together built heritage and cultural heritage.

"Many people reflect on buildings which is fine because we have some beautiful buildings here in Forbes, but what about the other side, what about what we call cultural heritage," he said.

"(This) is what we do at the National Library - we record people's voices, stories, songs, poetry and all these wonderful things that give you that feeling of who we are in the community.

"When Michele (Herbert) floated this concept many years ago, we got together and we thought we've got beautiful buildings ... what about the stories?

"You can go to a history book and read facts and figures, but can you hear the voices of the people? Now you can."

For decades now Mr Willis - and now in partnership with his wife Ollie - has been recording the stories and voices of Forbes along with those all over Australia as part of their work for the National Library of Australia.

It's the voices and the people of Forbes who feature in this project.

"We have Margaret Simmonds talking about her days on the telephone exchange, Steve Hohnberg talking about being a postie, Fred McMahon the shearer - and many others whose voices we will be using," Mr Willis said.

"There are so many more stories to be told in this place.

"We have a rich tradition in Forbes, we have the most folklore of anywhere in Australia, stories, yarns, songs."

Saturday's launch was itself a chance to recapture a moment in local history.

Soprano Karyn Tisdell, from Garema and with a career spanning 20 years in opera performance and teaching, took the stage to bring a mini-concert reminiscent of Dame Nellie Melba's 1909 performance here.

She concluded with Home, Sweet Home, explaining Melba performed the work at most of her concerts and would most likely have sung it on that very same stage more than a century ago.

Mr Willis said more than 700 people packed into Town Hall for Melba's performance, and more listened outside, "in the pouring rain".

He thanked all those involved in the creation of the digital heritage trail, including Cr Herbert as chair of the heritage committee, Cassie Gates, Forbes Shire Council staff, Forbes and District Historical Society's Pictorial Forbes, Forbes Family History Group, Craig Dwyer for drone footage, and particularly to all those who have shared their stories and voices with the Willises over the years.