Walcha (pronounced ‘Wolka’) is located in a beautiful area 1067 metres above sea level on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range at the south eastern edge of the Northern Tablelands.
It is essentially a service centre to the surrounding area which has traditionally been associated with sheep, wool and cattle, although timber and timber-processing have been of increasing importance to the local economy since World War II.
The area is thought to have been occupied by the Ngayaywana and Dyangadi Aborigines prior to white settlement. In 1818 John Oxley camped beside the Apsley River very near the present townsite en route to the coast. He recorded the event in his diary that day: ‘We halted in a fine and spacious valley … watered by a fine brook, and at a distance of a mile we saw several fires at which appeared many natives.’
A road to Port Macquarie (the template of today’s Oxley Highway) was constructed in 1842 for the transportation of wool from New England to the coast.
In 1878 Walcha was gazetted as a town and a courthouse was built. A rail link opened to the west, at Walcha Road, in 1882. The town became a municipality in 1889.
Walcha’s Agricultural Show is held each year in February, the biennial Timber Expo in September and, in January, the Walcha Bushmans Carnival and Campdraft.
Nearest Airport: Armidale