Historic Forbes pub eyes future with Inland Rail

In 1887, Sir Henry Parkes stood on the balcony of Forbes’ Vandenberg Hotel, then known as the Court House Hotel, and spoke to about 2000 people assembled on the street below. It was the beginning of his fourth term in politics and he was leading the charge to improve railways.

Grant Clifton and Kim Featherston are the faces of the Vandenberg Hotel

Forbes is now gearing up to support the Inland Rail works coming to town and Grant Clifton, the current owner of the Vandenberg Hotel, said it is exciting.

“I think Henry Parkes would be quite chuffed at Inland Rail coming to this region,” Mr Clifton said. “The future for the Vandenberg Hotel and Forbes is very bright.”

The Condobolin-born publican took over the Vandenberg Hotel in 2002. He has worked hard to retain the pub’s legacy, reinstating many of its original features, while creating a vibe attracting a wide range of clientele from footballers to judges, who often reside at the hotel as the court house is across the road.

“Things have changed with what people expect from the hotel, and people expect more than just booze and pub grub,” Mr Clifton said. “They view the Vandenberg Hotel as a great place to stay and have a meal and congregate and talk over things.”

As anticipation for the commencement of Inland Rail grows, Mr Clifton said now was the time for the local business community to consider how they could benefit from the multi-billion-dollar project that will attract workers to the town.

“Inland Rail is going to elevate a lot of the progress on the Newell Highway, the spine of NSW, and open up this regional area,” he said. “We’ve all got to be aware of what’s expected of Forbes and we’ve got to be ready for Inland Rail.”

And he’s leading by example, with the Vandenberg Hotel offering good short-term accommodation and hospitality and ready to scale up and support the influx of people that the Inland Rail project will bring to town.


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