Cossack, nestled at the mouth of the Harding River on the West Pilbara Coast, has experienced a somewhat chequered past. Today, many fine stone buildings have been fully restored to provide informative and memorable insights into the town’s wild and fascinating history.

A History of Cossack

Situated just 12 kilometres from Roebourne, Cossack was originally established as the North West’s main shipping port and named ‘Tien Tsin’, after the boat which carried the first settlers to the region in 1863. The township was then renamed Cossack in 1871 after the warship that visited carrying the states Governor, Frederick Weld.

Cossack has a unique history. Officially established in 1872, it was the first port on the West Pilbara Coast. In 1866 a pearling industry was established in the town and at its peak, had 80 pearl luggers in operation. However, once the local area had been fished out, the pearlers moved further north to Broome. In 1887, a gold rush had commenced in the area, drawing in thousands of fortune seekers to the Pilbara. The impressive growth of Cossack was spread over forty years, but its decline was more rapid. By 1900 the pearling fleet had all but gone, the gold rush had diminished and the port was no longer suitable as a harbour for the larger modern sailing vessels entering the region.

In 1904 a jetty was established at Point Samson and all shipping movements were relocated there. For a short while, Cossack was also home to a turtle soup factory and a leprosarium (leprosy treatment facility), however the municipality eventually dissolved in 1910 and the town was eventually abandoned by 1950 to be left in ruins.

Since being declared a historical town in 1979, many buildings have been restored including;

  • The Customs House/ Bond Store (1869-97)
  • The Post and Telegraph Office/ Bakery (1885)
  • Police Barracks
  • Cook House and Lock Up (1897)
  • Galbraith’s Store (1890-91)
  • The Court House (1895)
  • and School House (1897)

 For those visiting the historical town there is plenty to see and do, including:

  • The Shakespeare Hall Social History Museum located in the Court House building
  • A fine art gallery and pottery shed in the Post and Telegraph Office/ Bakery
  • Cossack Café for a selection of delicious treats in the Bond Store and Customs House
  • and Cossack Budget Accommodation located inside the Police Barracks

Settlers Beach and Lookout

Settlers Beach is a beautiful, wide, sandy beach ideal for swimming, diving and snorkelling. A lookout pergola is perched on the cliff top, offering sweeping views of Roebourne, WickhamPoint Samson and along the coast to Depuch Island. There is great fishing in this area, whether along the beach or along the mangrove filled river mouth. Catches include Mackerel, Salmon, Bream, Mangrove Jack, Barramundi, Mud  Crabs and Blue Swimmer Crabs.

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