I recently came back from a road trip to Forbes. I went on this journey to do a little research for my up and coming novel – Wild at Heart. I managed to gather some interesting information on the history of the historical town of Forbes as well as colourful information on the first Australian Bushranger to be outlawed – Ben Hall.
While most of the information on record is conflicting and inconclusive, it is safe to assume four things:
1. Ben Hall was wild at heart.
2. He lived and loved.
3. There were definitely some others in his life who might have been jealous of the things he had – one of them being his wife. (She sure was a stunning woman.) Wether this theory is true or not, it would be hard to find conclusive evidence of this matter.
4. Ben was betrayed for money – that fact is plain and simple. He had a substantial price on his head and the sad thing was a friend, (and backstabber) turned him in. With friends like that, who needs enemies – right?
Ben’s short and tragic life was likely the main reason people still talk about him today. Probably one of the reasons his story is filled with romantic notions of the classic ‘somebody done me wrong – I’ll have my revenge’ type of heroism. While many will be divided on the aspects of his life, and the many facets it surely had, Ben Hall was indeed a real person. He was flesh and blood like the rest of us, capable of the same emotions as are we all. He loved, he felt pain, heartbreak, joy and loss. He knew what it was like to walk a fine line between the right and wrong side of the law.
His story inspired me to include a few details of his life in my book, but they may not have been entirely found to be historically correct. I am acting on intuition based on the information I have been privileged to have been exposed to.
I wish to thank the wonderful people of Forbes. You have a lovely, warm and friendly town. To the Forbes Historical Society – Thank you for allowing me to view your collection on Ben Hall. To Judith at the Forbes Tourist and Information Centre, Thank you for all your help and for the beautiful silk screen printed tea towels and bookmarks you made. They are amazing! I’d also like to thank the local Library in Forbes and their Family History Group for some rather interesting facts in plugging up the holes in my research (and my family tree!) – so, thank you! Thank you to the Forbes Ex-Services Club too – your meals were delicious and your hospitality appreciated. Last but not least, I wish to thank, Peter at the Ben Hall Motor Inn for accommodating us on this trip. We had a lovely time, breakfast was delicious every morning, and the local wild life (Midy and Bob) were a delight to come back to every day. Hugs and cuddles to Midy and Bob the cat, from their new best friend, little Rachel.
Hope to visit the town again soon. I highly recommend a visit to Forbes and that you check out the town’s enchanting, historical path through time. It will leave you feeling a little Wild at Heart.