An abandoned pearling town on the remote West Australian coast is for sale.
The ghost town, population two, sits on the mouth of the Harding River in the Pilbara region – perfect for fishing and boating.
Cossack, 1480km north of Perth, was abandoned 70 years ago.
In its heyday, Cossack was the birthplace of Western Australia’s pearling industry and housed the colony’s pearling fleet in the 1880s.
By 1895 there were 57 pearling vessels operating out of Cossack, employing more than 1000 people, including 989 Malays and 493 Aboriginals.
The historic town of Cossack, WA, population: two. The ghost town with 12 historic buildings is now for sale. It sits on the Harding River mouth, perfect for boating, camping and fishing
The cafe at Cossack is run by Shannon Ervine, partner of the town’s only other inhabitant, its caretaker. Thousands of tourists pass through each year, however
The Cossack Museum holds relics of the town’s rich pearling history
The bustling port even had it’s own Chinatown.
Cossack was the site of the first port in the northwest which exported wool and opened the land up for the pastoral industry.
It’s importance is seen in its solid and stately colonial stone buildings. The pearling industry moved to Broome, however, and the town long-ago dried up.
Today it has a population of two: caretaker Rhys Osterlund and his assistant Shannon Ervine – who is also his partner.
Mr Osterlund runs the boat hire, camping ground and museum for the thousands of tourists who pass through each year, while Ms Ervine runs the cafe.
Hiking trails, magnificent beaches, and horse rides entertain those passing through.
The caretaker told the West Australian he fears a new developer may bring too many tourists and damage the local ecosystem.
The entire town, now owned by the WA Government, is for sale.
The state government is hoping that an innovative and cashed-up buyer will inject new direction into the ghost town, 50km from Karratha, and perhaps develop eco-tourism accomodation there.
‘Well considered development in Cossack will provide a strong regional economic boost, contributing to the growth of the Pilbara as a tourist destination that offers something for all visitors and will be appreciated for generations to come,’ said Lands Minister Ben Wyatt.
The entire town of Cossack on WA’s Pilbara Coast is for sale
The town seen from the air. The LJ Hooker sales site says it’s 50km from Karratha, and it is home to historic sites and a few crumbling ruins that will be the new owner’s responsibility
A small number of privately held blocks are not for sale in the 22ha package, but 12 historic buildings are. Pictured: a street in the town
Sales agent Anna Guillesser of LJ Hooker, Karratha, said the sale of the 22 hectare Heritage site was a unique chance to ‘activate and develop’ the town.
The area includes the Jarmin Island lighthouse, a school, a police station, a post office and a general store.
In total there are 12 heritage-listed buildings as well as a museum with relics from the town’s pearling past.
It also comes with native title land for future stages subject to negotiation.
‘Favourable consideration will be given to proposals that entertain low-impact tourism development and ancillary uses such as high quality eco-tourism accommodation, low-cost camping, cafes or galleries,’ Ms Guillesser said on the LJ Hooker website.
The new owners will have to look after the conservation of the heritage buildings, ensuring they don’t fall into disrepair.
A small number of privately held blocks will not be included in the sale.
Expressions of interest close at 2pm on Friday, November 20.
The town is located near Jarmin Island (in the distance) and has great fishing
The town is being sold by the WA Government, hoping to find a developer to revitalise it with ‘ecotourism’ and to pay for the upkeep and conservation