thebigblackbuilding
10am to 4pm – thursday, friday, saturday, sunday, monday

thebigblackbuilding (aka The Big Black Building, the BBB, and the Big Black Shed) is a retail emporium of antique, vintage, second hand and collectible awesomeness. Located in the New England at the crossroads of the Thunderbolts Way and the Oxley Highway in Walcha NSW, thebigblackbuilding is hard to miss (as it’s a big black building). When asked why he painted it black, owner Adam Iuston said, “black fixes everything, black is cool, black is timeless, as is everything in the shop.” Adam, the creator of Walcha Swap Meet says the BBB (his preferred abbreviation) is like a permanent swap meet/flea market/car boot sale that sells pretty much everything. “The BBB is a boutique mini mall of awesome stuff. We have quickly become an attraction because not only is the BBB a ‘thing to do’ in Walcha, but we have something for everyone.” Apart from the obvious collectibles and cool stuff (as stated on the sign above the front door), there are gifts, souvenirs, books (the BBB has a mini book shop) and you can even get a coffee. “We do a pretty good coffee”, says Adam. “I won’t say we do the ‘best coffee in town’ because that usually jinxes you, but it’s pretty good.” … “I’d love to have a café, but we just have the coffee machine at the moment and there are other cafés in town such as Café Graze and The Royal. The Fruit Shop does a mean toasty too, so Walcha is pretty well covered in that area.” So, what made you start the business? “I’ve always thought these places were cool, the collectible mini mall thing. There’s Little Birdy in Uralla, which is very similar to the BBB, and of course there is the very well established ‘Antique Junque’ in Walcha, they have lots of cool stuff. If you look around there are antique and craft shops and op shops everywhere, but just in the surrounding towns there are heaps. Nundle has an antique shop (and the Wool Mill), Tamworth has a fair few, Gloucester, Port Macquarie, Wauchope, Armidale..., they’re everywhere if you search.” The BBB is a consignment-based business with many different stall holders. Why the consignment format? “Well, when you have a lot of people stocking the shop you end up with a really great diversity. If it was just me it’d all look the same, but as we have over 20 stall holders and at least another 30 on the books in the community section there is a huge variety.” What’s your favourite stall in the shop? “I don’t really have one favourite, but there are some that collect things I’m into. Time Walk was based in Tamworth, and when the owner had had enough he closed the Tamworth shop and moved into the BBB. He likes the same stuff as me, so his shop is cool. There are others that I like too. I have a new appreciation for vintage women’s clothing. I didn’t realise how competitive girls were, they love buying something they know no one else can have.” So why Walcha? “Walcha is a cool little town. Yes it’s sleepy compared to Sydney, but I prefer the slower pace. There are things to do in Walcha, just not as many as city people are used to, but it’s not like Walcha is a ‘one horse town’. The reality is Walcha is a million horse town, what with campdrafts and pony camp and the Walcha races (which is so serious it’s a gazetted public holiday for the shire) and even the Geebungs, which is a private horse race held just after the Melbourne Cup, it’s horsey… Myself, I prefer my steeds to be made of steel and drink petrol! The other businesses like Paper Dolls House, Walcha Handmade and the New Birds Boutique are complimentary to the BBB, but there are also good pubs like the Commercial, The Apsley Arms and the New England. The Taphouse is your classier scene, with tapas and Walcha Brewing Co beers and enough gin to give you liver damage in one sitting.” What else drew you to Walcha? “The scenery. Walcha is green, like, in spring it is GREEN, English countryside ‘green’, and in autumn the tree change is amazing. The colours are something you just don’t see in Australia. I also like the temperature. Walcha is freezing in winter, but you get to have a fire for 8 months of the year, and we do get snow on occasion. Have you seen the picture of Langford covered in snow in winter? Amazing!!” Langford is the historic manor house 1km out of town. Tell us about the falls. “Apsley Falls are mega. You have to see them to believe them. You drive in and 50m from the car park there is this enormous waterfall. Tai falls are great too if you’re up for a short walk…” Anything else? “While I’m not into hiking or bicycling (road or mountain bike), there are plenty of tracks and walks, but I’ll let someone else explain that.” … “Oh, in case you missed the 300 bikes passing you on the way up, Walcha is at the nexus of the universe for motorcycles. We have a motorcycle event at the showground ‘The Walcha Motorcycle Rally’ and the run from Walcha to Gingers Creek to Mount Seaview is, um, insane…” Adam adds a ‘nod and a wink’ after that for emphasis. “If you’re into farmers markets, we have one - we have park run - an annual billy cart derby - a great golf course..., what else? We’ve had a few festivals, with Bobby Jacks Festival being the last large music festival. It even had a great event for emerging artists called Get Out of Your Garage. I’m probably beginning to sound like the visitor information centre, but that’s not a surprise because I’m all about the promotion of tourism.” So, what’s with the name Walcha? “It’s funny, there are lots of stories, but there really isn’t a definitive one. I’m using ‘wolka’ on the front of the building because that’s how it’s pronounced. It means water or sun or a few different things according to the indigenous community, but there’s also a tie to Europe. The shire and surrounding area is full of funny names and mispronunciations. (Walcha – pronounced wolka, we have our own ‘Ohio’ and ‘Kentucky’ which is where the famous Dobson’s Distillery is, Tia Falls – pronounces tyah, blomfield – pronounced Bloomfield, Bergen op Zoom, the list goes on and on… I’ve had arguments about collectible vs collectable with schoolteachers. I’m correct, of course, but I’ll take responsibility for that one…) I’m quite used to mispronunciation. With a name like Iuston (that’s with and i but pronounced ‘Euston’ for the anglos) you get used to people butchering pronunciation. I’m Mr Luston to most people until I set them right. I even called my old consulting business Notsui because I figured iuston backwards was easier?” … “the aim is to try and clarify the pronunciation of Walcha and everything else is a bonus. I can’t help you if you spell it Wolcha or Wlacha or Walka or Walachia or Walgett though...” Any final words for our readers? “Yeah, while our main claim to fame is we’re open on Sundays and public holidays (10 till 4), the BBB is known to throw the odd party on a Friday or Saturday night. Friday night drinks is a bit of a thing in summer and if you’re lucky one of the local rock stars will give you some live music...” So that’s thebigblackbuilding, a fun place to visit and a must see in Wolka (aka Walcha). Check them out Instagram or Facebook or YouTube, but don’t bother with Tiktok or Twitter because Adam says he can’t stand those platforms.