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Rediscover shopping on Darby Street


Escape the predictability of chainstore retail and support local business by taking a stroll down Darby Street in Cooks Hill – you might be surprised by what you discover within this unique Newcastle gem!

The Colour Bug 

Whether you interpret its name to mean a colourful African insect or an addiction to being surrounded by a multitude of hues, The Colour Bug offers a unique way to express the colour we have within us. Stocking a collection of bold, unique, one-of-a-kind clothing, homewares and lifestyle products, the retail space at number 104 Darby Street is an ever-changing canvas, showcasing the creative and very colourful talents of aspiring artists from across Africa, all ethically designed and handmade. Each piece comes with its only story, with profits extending beyond Newcastle to the homelands where it originated, allowing buyers to feel good about their purchases.  

Cooks Hill Books  

If the saying is true that ‘a room without books is like a body without a soul,’ then perhaps a shopping strip without a secondhand bookstore would also be amiss. Thankfully Cooks Hill Books brings this essential ingredient to the mix of retailers located on Darby Street. Crime, mystery, romance, non-fiction, children’s books and history books are all hidden within the walls of this surprisingly cosy reading nook, all lovingly cared for by a self-confessed bookworm with a passion for a good read. If its music you prefer then take your time flicking through the store’s eclectic mix of vinyl records and be transported to your own moment in time. 

Blackbird Corner 

Established in 2006, Blackbird Corner has become a go-to store for unique Australian themed gifts certain to pull at the heartstrings of any expat now living overseas. Recognisable landmarks, sayings and icons decorate everything from totes and tea towels to cards, soaps and books. The store is an explosion of colour, with a range that is regularly growing. Boasting the creations of several Australian labels, including their own T-shirt range ‘Anorak Designs’ which is designed and printed on-site. Blackbird Corner is a unique pocket of Darby Street that is guaranteed to have shoppers intrigued for much longer than they assumed before entering. Its new Christmas collection has arrived and is sure to bring a giggle or two. 

Palinopsia Ceramics 

Its name refers to a rare state where you keep seeing an object long after you’ve stopped looking at it. It’s about lasting impressions. The creatives that produce the beautiful unique pieces in this corner store do so with love and a hope that buyers will form a bond with each and every item. Hand-made pitchers, plates, bowls and mugs are so obviously formed with touches that reflect the surrounding elements, each theme evokes a love of nature, making each story as nostalgic as the ceramics at its core. If individual earthenware is what you seek, then Palinopsia is sure to have an enduring piece that is like an old friend that will stay through the seasons.  

Ramjet Assortments 

If you’ve ever shopped at Ramjet Assortments at 78 Darby Street, chances are you were decked out in a fresh look by its owner Michelle Ramsey. Match-making outfits and people is her superpower, a talent she has been honing for the past two decades since she first opened the doors of her eclectic boutique in 2001. The quirky store is named after an amalgamation of her surname and the speed at which she functions, a whirlwind of energy finding the perfect outfit for clients that any onlooker would swear were her lifelong friends. The vivacious redhead has created an outlet that is filled to the brim with accessories, men and women’s clothing, homewares, shoes, and gifts, with stock changing regularly in a commitment to promote brands that don’t overly-produce. 

Steel & Anchor  

It began by stocking high quality men’s fashion labels that were not mass-produced and were tricky to find elsewhere in the Hunter. Now, three years later Steel & Anchor has become so much more thanks to its owner Troy Pezely who has created a uniquely masculine hub on Darby Street that boasts everything from clothing, cologne, and candles, to limited edition underwear, beach towels, caps, puzzles, socks and sauces. He trades all this under a name that pays tribute to Newcastle’s steel-producing history and bustling international port. Oh, and it’s worth mentioning his wrapping skills are exemplary too – a talent he has been working on and adds to every purchase. 

Lone Clothing Co 

Its motto is ‘Local, Quality, Independent’ – a commitment it is obviously good at because Lone Clothing Co keeps winning awards for producing and selling quality clothing at a reasonable price. Each piece it creates is designed in-house and hand-printed right here in Newcastle. Inspired by a youthful approach to surfing, beers, coffee and good vibes, it has been growing in popularity since it first opened its doors in 2016. That’s when it began selling its t-shirts, singlets, hoodies and shirts from its haunt on Darby Street. Together with his small team of five, owner Mitch has extended his range to include limited jewellery pieces, kids wear, boardshorts, surf wax, sunglasses, surfing accessories, sunscreen, towels and ponchos.  


When the doors of its Darby Street store first opened in 2000, Abicus was stocked with a modest but eclectic amount of women’s and men’s fashion and also music – both ingredients its owner Tiff is passionate about. Since then, it has grown to include a hand-picked curation of hats, leather goods, books, shoes and homewares. Its best seller by far is its collection of Birkenstock sandals and Blundstone boots, even stocking down to children’s sizes. And while the tunes have ironically changed from CD to vinyl, they’re still what greets shoppers at the door and sets a relaxed, cool vibe – a mood that is transcribed by the instore team who make it their role to create an enjoyable and genuine experience. 

Sourced on Darby 

By its very nature, vintage clothing deserves at least a second, third or fourth rummage. It’s like treasure hunting – you never know what you’ll find. That’s what gives Sourced on Darby such a timeless appeal. Stocking vintage t-shirts, workwear, overalls, hats, jeans, denim shorts, button-ups, sunglasses and accessories, the generous space is home to an ever-changing number of items. Owner Ellie and her partner regularly travel overseas to maintain stock that is unique. Good quality, hand-selected, preloved items are what the store has become well-known for, with many buyers returning again and again to source their own treasures. For quirky, retro, conversation-starter tees, here’s where you’ll find a plethora of them, from animal and graphic to Harley Davidson, baseball and bands. 

Supported by City of Newcastle December 2022

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