Sculpture Down the Lachlan is an art trail which follows the Lachlan River, stretching 100 kilometres between Forbes and Condobolin in NSW.
There are 25 sculptures set out in the natural environment, designed to showcase the rugged beauty of this part of Central West NSW.
Back in 2011, an artist from Forbes - Rosie Wingrove Johnston - visited the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition in Sydney, and was inspired to create a bush version in her hometown.
Over the next 11 years, various funds were acquired through fundraising and grants (including $5.7million from the NSW government in 2019) and the trail was built.
The first few sculptures were acquired through an annual sculpture competition in Forbes, and the more recent and larger works have been selected through a tender process with the Forbes Art Society.
There are 12 sculptures located within Forbes town, and then the rest are located along Lachlan Valley Way, on the road from Forbes to Condobolin. You can download a map for your trip here.
A few of our favourite sculptures along Lachlan Valley Way are:
Heart of Country (Damian Vick, 2021): standing at 6 metres tall, this steel sculpture of a Wiradjuri man is so impressive. It represents the collective resilience and determination of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia and their profound spiritual connection with the land.
Varanus (Glen Star, 2020): this sculpture of a goanna was my kids' favourite!
It is huge at 5.5 metres tall and 20 metres from tongue to tail.
The goanna is of special significance to the Wiradjuri people as it is a totem animal.
Road Kill (Jimmy Rix, 2021): this sculpture shows a kangaroo getting its revenge on drivers, smashing them with a cricket bat.
We haven’t ever hit an animal, but road tripping around Australia we have seen many, many dead animals that have been hit by vehicles. It’s always so sad to see, so we liked seeing this one getting its revenge!
Sonata (Suzie Bleach and Andrew Townsend, 2022): this sculpture is of a little girl playing a violin while standing on a life-size bull.
The bull represents the powerful forces of nature, in contrast to the fragility of the child (representing humans), however the bull is being held under a spell by her music.
The sculpture is made up of hundreds of steel panels which have been traced from cardboard patterns and then pressed, hammered and welded into the work that you see.
Of the 12 sculptures that are located in Forbes town, some of our favourites are:
Inside Out (Roger Bennie, 2015):
Looking very much like "The Thinker" by Rodin, but more angular and with philosophical quotes (and a few that seem to have been added more recently!) scrawled all over it.
This sculpture is located in Albion Park, Forbes.
Also located in Albion Park is this sculpture of three figures with human bodies and animal heads (a rabbit and two dogs).
My kids found the bums and penises hilarious, but the piece is meant to represent supporting each other despite our differences, in a stand for love and acceptance.
We seen other sculptures by these artists featuring these characters Rabbitwoman and Dogman in Sydney, Melbourne and London!
Wiradjuri Story Poles West (Brett Garling, 2022):
Located on Sir Francis Forbes Drive, right on Lake Forbes, this sculpture is made up of five story poles depicting key wildlife that are special to the Wiradjuri people.
As you can see from the above photo, it was pretty flooded when we visited, but we loved the bronze sculptures atop each pole, especially the platypuses!
You will need a car (or a bike if you are very fit!) to see all the sculptures, although the 11 in town are within an easy walk of each other.
It is also worth noting that once you leave Forbes, there are no facilities along the way until you get to Condobolin, and i’s about an hour drive between the two towns.