Hear from some of the best businesses behind Newcastle’s iconic shopping strip
When you think of boutique shopping in Newcastle, where exactly do you picture? For me, it’s Darby St – every single time. From my childhood memories of holding mums hand wandering through the shops to high school moments of walking down the iconic strip looking for treasures, or to now, browsing for a pre-loved book, finding the perfect gift, or a statement piece; Darby St is my go-to.
Over the years, we’ve seen many a place come and go, but one thing continues to ring true. The community spirit of this strip of retailers, and the undying love each and every one of the business owners have for the street.
To get a glimpse into the world of Darby St retailers, we caught up with the quartet of retailers sitting at the North end of the strip; Cooks Hill Books, Blackbird Corner, Steel & Anchor, and Ramjet Assortments.
It’s been over 30 years that this corner store has been trading second-hand books on Darby St, and not a day goes by where owners David, Alison, and Sean, don’t revel in the exciting culture and community vibes on Darby.
“We love the sense of authenticity here, the Community, the familiar faces, and the shared passion that other small business owners have for our little strip,” Sean shared.
If you’re quite an avid book lover and you’ve stepped inside Cooks Hill Books, you’ll know that overwhelming feeling of wanting to examine each bookshelf. Bibliophiles will be at their peak of excitement, with the store’s stock consistently expanding.
“Stock changes from day-to-day. You’ll always find room upon room of good quality second-hand books. From almost all genres, plus a selection of new and preloved vinyl. The longer you spend in here – the more you’ll discover.”
With society’s growing need to buy and own new items, Cooks Hill Books is a little treasure right in the heart of our city, that promotes the love of old and gives second-hand books a new life.
Where: 72 Darby St
When: Mon-Sun | 10am-3pm
More Info: click here
Can you believe it’s been almost fifteen years that this little shop of treasures has called Darby St home? Brought to us by the enthusiastic Nici, Blackbird Corner has continuously graced our local retail game with Aussie-designed and made giftware, a range of t-shirts printed on-site, greeting cards, accessories, and so much more.
With Nici’s husband, Sean, a partner amongst the Cooks Hill Books gang, the group are never short of support for one another.
“Whilst Darby St is constantly evolving, changing, and growing, its core, heart, and soul stays the same. It’s just such a fabulous community.
“The past 18 months have certainly thrown more than a few unexpected hurdles. But we’ve gone from strength to strength. That’s really thanks to our extraordinarily loyal and supportive customers, who have staunchly stood by both Blackbird Corner and Cooks Hill Books.” Nici said.
Moving into the space below their home last year, Blackbird Corner plans on continuing to bring you a curated collection of Australian handmade and designed brands which you just can’t find anywhere else in Newcastle for many years to come.
Where: 74 Darby St
When: Wed-Sun | 10am-3pm
More Info: click here
It’s no secret that men are hard to buy for, but with Steel & Anchor opening their doors in Darby St back in 2019, this problem is no longer for locals and visitors alike. Brought to us by Newcastle-born and bred local, Troy Pezely, Steel & Anchor is the culmination of his extensive career in the retail industry.
May 2019 saw it time for Troy to expand into building his very own brand, and Darby St was an absolute no-brainer.
“I chose to open up on Darby St as it has always been one of my favourite areas of Newcastle. I used to live in Railway St in the late 90s, and I have always loved the broad mix of people and businesses and of course the amazing café and restaurant aromas of the street,” Troy said.
The ultimate man cave-esque vibes see the space filled with all the top-quality items a man could want. From a unique range of gifts, homewares, and beard care, to skincare, clothing, and even complimentary gift wrapping – Steel & Anchor is home to it all.
“I feel the future of Darby St will continue to grow. More businesses are opening up and with the addition of the brand new Crystalbrook Kingsley just across Civic Park, I believe it will be a bonus for us all along Darby St to really take advantage of welcoming visitors to our city and showcasing our unique street.”
Where: 76 Darby St
When: Mon | 10am-5pm
Tue-Wed | 10am-5pm
Thu | 10am-6pm
Fri | 10am-5pm
Sat-Sun | 10am-4pm
More Info: click here
Ramjet Assortments is a Novocastrian retail institution and Darby St has been lucky to have this fabulous one-stop boutique, bringing together vintage-inspired, night out on the town and classic styles for 20 years - yep you read that right. Michelle Ramsay is as iconic as her store and has been dressing us all for 20 years!
“I knew there was a market for a boutique store, and I also loved the community vibe of Darby St; the mix of clientele, the older buildings, and my fellow traders,” Michelle said.
Step inside to the colourful oasis, where you’ll be treated with a vast range of products for everyone. Think party frocks, classic yet unique work ensembles, personally curated accessories, bags, and gifts. Oh, and of course, fabulous shoes! Heels, boots, and even one-off vintage cowboy boots; it truly is a unique yet stylish offering at Ramjet Assortments.
“Ramjet is known for stocking something for everyone. I don’t have a set style in store, although people do sometimes mistake me for a vintage store as I tend to lean towards goods with a retro vintage vibe! I also dress oodles of mums like myself. As well as all the fancy stuff, I have a great core range of everyday wears suitable for the stay-at-home mums, and the working mums. I also have men's clothes too!”
Because of this, the item you buy at Ramjet today won’t date. It will become that piece whenever you pop it on, you’ll get compliments, day after day, and year after year.
Catering for absolutely everyone, the Darby St institution has only recently launched their online store; giving you the chance to discover the unique range of goodies all from the comfort of your bed! With twenty years of strong community spirit sitting within this store, we have no doubt that Ramjet Assortments will be just as strong, just as trendy, and just as in love with Darby St in another twenty!
Where: 78 Darby St
When: Mon-Fri | 10am-5pm
Sat | 10am-4pm
Sun | 10am-3pm
More Info: click here
There’s so much to love about Darby St and this is just a little sneak peek into the ever-evolving Cooks Hill community. With a great mix of fashion, food, lifestyle, professional, health, home, and much more, there’s a little something for everyone. So, when are you off to Darby St next?