The sun has well and truly set on the dreams of the many men who made their way to the large tent city that developed after gold was discovered here in 1861. Situated among farmland on the Lachlan River 380 km west of Sydney, Forbes today is an agricultural centre for wheat, sheep, dairy and fruit.

 They say that there is no gold left but that’s not true because I know I’ll be looking to finding my own little nuggets of information about my ancestors when I go digging tomorrow at the Forbes Family History Group, and that’s like gold to me.



When gold was discovered in 1861 the district boomed, bringing an influx of some 30,000 people leading to the development of the substantial hotels, churches, civic and other buildings which you can still see in the pictures above.

By 1865 Mary Jane Peacock  who is my Great, Great Grandmother on my father’s father’s side had parted from her husband John Beatson in Forbes. This separation is putting my chance of existence into doubt. Here nearly 400 kms from Sydney and single , is the woman who has to give birth to my Great Grandfather.

William Hodges and his wife Harriett are still in Bathurst working as a farmer at ‘Wyagdon’ in the Wattle Flat District. They have had another son Henry Thomas Hodges, b. abt. 1865 who, along with his seven other siblings including Ellen my Great Grandmother on my father’s mother’s side, enjoy the sunshine and healthy life style on the farm.

I discover in my diggings at the Forbes Family History Group HQ that an accidental meeting happens. I call it an accidental meeting in the sense that it was by chance, unplanned and above all fortuitous.

Edward Francois Barbe was born on the 15/5/1841 at Paris, France and by 1865 had made his way to the Forbes district and during my diggings I have discovered that the “accidental meeting” with Mary Jane Peacock has created a moment of love frozen in time.

It is incredible that Edward from Paris has come all the way to Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in 1856 and then somehow made his way over 760 kms to Forbes in New South Wales to meet up with my Great, Great Grandmother Mary Jane Peacock who herself has travelled the 250 kms from Hartley. Obviously the long walk gave him plenty of time to work out what he wanted to do with his future and thank God Mary Jane was part of it.

They are to have nine children and live a long and happy life together on land they take up at Bogabigal in the early1880’s. The children are Edward Francis Barbe Peacock born 1866 at Carrawobitty, Phillip Barbe born 15/10/1867 at Carrawobitty, Esther Louise Barbe born 4/4/1871 at Forbes, William Barbe born 30/10/1873 at Grudgery, Charlotte Jane Barbe born 30/1/1875 at Carrawobitty, Martha Marian Barbe born 17/2/1876 at Carrawobitty, Arthur James Barbe born 10/10/1877 at Forbes, Charles Henry Barbe born 30/10/1878 at Carrawobitty Island, Elizabeth Gertrude Barbe born 11/4/1881 at Carrawobitty.

The question is who are these people and how are they related to me. Where to next? They say many secrets are hidden in the cemetery so I’m off to the Forbes cemetery.

William Barbe born on the 30/10/1873 at Grudgery is to become my Great Grandfather on my father’s father’s side so after the cemetery I’ll be heading to Grudgery some 30 kms further to the west of Forbes.




  1. I am after a Mary Peacock who had a daughter in Binalong about 1866. The daughter was Kathleen Mary Merritt would your Mary Peacock have been in Binalong at this time?

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