Pilbara coast- Cossack historic town

Next we headed to the Pilbara coast and had a couple of days in Karratha. Another town built because of the iron ore mines inland and the off shore gas plants. The railroad tracks end at the shore near here at Dampier to load the ore onto waiting tankers. This town is not pretty but useful – for stocking up on groceries and getting the Prado fixed yet again :-(. We then headed to the Historic town of Cossack. Here there is a nice beach to camp on with only 4 campsites and is quite pretty. You can still see the industry in the far distance but it can’t be heard out here.  M

cossack sign
Cossack town began life in 1863 as a pearling port and was abandoned in the 1950’s and went to ruin. In 1977 it was classified by National Trust and in the 1970’s-80’s resoration work began some of it funded with mining money.

cossack time line sign

cossack camp settlers beach
Settlers beach Cossack. We were parked here with only 3 others, so we didn’t have to fight over a place on the beach! There were lots of sea birds here eating off the big sand flats at low tide.

cossack camp panorama at high tide

cossack camp panorama at low tide
This is the same beach at low tide. Not great for fishing or swimming but great for walking and yes, shell collecting.

jarman island light house

jarman island walk
We thought it might be nice to walk to Jarman Island at low tide and check out the ruins. It was a swim across the channel but the water ended up being a bit brown coming out of the channel and you couldn’t see what was in there. There are a few sharks to watch out for around here so  chance it.
cossack beach bubbles
The rapidly  incoming tide makes the sand bubble in places sounding very strange and making a foam that is pushed along on the tide.
cossack court house museum
The old court house that is now the museum


cossack bond store
The bond store which is now a cafe which we stopped at for a nice lunch
galbraith store building
Another old store building with an interesting roof line.
cossack jail
No old town is complete without a jail.
water tower art
The watertower lookout complete with tank art. Most common recreational activity in these parts-fishing!
cossack historic rown from the lookout
View of old Cossack from the water tower
old cossack photos
This is what Cossack looked like in it’s hey day with pearling luggers sitting on the sand banks where there are now mangroves.
school house at cossack
Old school house with Sturt’s desert pea
desert peas with pea pods
Desert pea flowers and pods
cossack finches and dome
Birds having a drink and a bath in the drain
the old school
The old school house
cossack grave
We visited the old cemetary both the settlers and the asian. It seems we were even more racist back then and we couldn’t all be buried in the same area! We saw nobody over 50 buried. They were all children and mostly young (under 40) people. A sign of the hard times and lack of immunisation and basic health care and good food. Also dangerous industry.
asian grave
There were also plenty of pearling deaths in this dangerous industry
cossack pearling sign
As in Broome, Aboriginal divers were often kidnapped from inland and brought to the coast as free labour on the pearl luggers. Woman were the best divers, sometimes free diving down to 60 feet in the days before hardhat diving came in.
cossack turtle
Myrtle the turtle. There used to be a turtle soup factory near here back in the bad old days!
turtle soup sign
I can’t even believe people ate turtle soup! It doesn’t sound good even if you didn’t love turtles. The big turtles they caught are the breeders too. It’s a wonder there are any left. Today Aboriginal people supposedly only hunt the smaller ones.

turtle soup sign 2


golf on settlers beach
Ninas’s family tradition of hitting golf balls onto the nearby rocks and watching them ricochet off all over the place. The only people not fishing on this beach! Steve and I had a go but we really needed some practice! These people had been doing this “sport” for a generation!








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