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Walcha, with its mountain climate of mild summes and winters of sunshine, frost and sometimes snow, is invigorating and pleasant. It is a centre from which to explore the extensive southern forests of the Tablelands and the unexpected grandeur of the untamed gorges of The Oxley Wild Rivers National Park.
HISTORY: The explorer, John Oxley, passed through the region in 1818. In 1832 the first settlement was started and named Walcha - three aboriginal meanings have been give as 'sun', 'deep water hole' and 'water'.
LOCATION: Walcha is 534 Kms by rail or 450Kms by road (via Gloucester) north of Sydney. It is 2.5hours drive from the coastal areas of Port Macquarie and Forster. Both Tamworth and Armidale are within an hour's drive of the township.
WALCHA TODAY: The walcha area is one of the largest stock carrying areas in New South Wales. This is due mainly to the aeroplane and the foresight of the late A S Nivison of "Mirani", Walcha, who pioneered aerial agriculture in Australia in 1950. This allowed livestock populations to quadruple. There are one million sheep and 110,000 cattle in the area. A thriving timber and forestry industry provides employment for the township. Area population is approximately 3,800 with 1,700 in the township.
WHAT TO SEE.
The Tia Falls rest area (38Kms east of Walcha) provides picnic and swimming spots as well as spectacular views of the gorge and falls.
TOWN TOUR: This must include a visit to the The Pioneer Cottage where the Tiger Moth aeroplane, first used in aerial agriculture, is on display. Local arts and crafts are available at the Craft Shop, which also acts as the Tourist Information Centre. TOURIST CENTRE & CRAFT SHOP
This is to be found at the corner of the Oxley Highway and South Street.
There are many interesting buildings well worth inspection. These include the banks and public buildings such as the Court House and Post Office, all in Derby Street. Typical country hotels are exemplified by the Commercial, New Royal, Apsley and New England. The Walcha Ex-Services Memorial Club has been remodelled from a former bank building.
The three churches all have a history dating back more than a century. The first Catholic Chapel in Walcha was rected in 1854. The first Presbyterian church was built during 1857 and was a small wooden building. It was replaced by the present church, which was opened on 5th May, 1888. The stone built Anglican Church was erected in 1862.
One kilometre south from the John Oxley Cairn in Derby Street is the historic homestead of "Langford". This was the campsite of John Oxley in 1818. "Langford" is not available for inspection but may be viewd from the road.
A most charming building is Fenwicke House just over the Apsley River Bridge, travelling east in Fitzroy Street, in which a bed and breakfast has been established in the 19th century terrace house.
The Pioneer Cottage (see History page) where the Tiger Moth aeroplane, first used in aerial agriculture, is on display, is a must on any visit to Walcha.
Good vantage point to view the town and surroundings may be gained from the A.S. Nivison Lookout, Monument Park and from the Walcha District Hospital.
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