Interesting places: Cossack

Cossack is a small town in the northwest of Western Australia at the mouth of the Harding River. It was founded in 1863 as a major shipping port for the northwest. Originally named Tien Tsin by Walter Padbury, it was renamed Cossack after Governor Weld visited in 1871 on the ship HMS Cossack.

The area developed a pearling industry, using aboriginal divers. It was also vital for the pastoral industry, allowing thousands of sheep to be brought to the Pilbara by coastal shipping. In the 1880s gold finds in the Pilbara saw hundreds of prospectors arrive at the port.

Cossack court house, 1969By the turn of the century, the port was deemed too small and shipping turned to Port Samson, leaving Cossack virtually a ghost town. Nine buildings and the cemetery have been listed by the National Trust for protection.

<– Cossack court house, 1969

The State Library of WA catalogue has several photographs of the remaining stone buildings in the catalogue.  Further information is available in the ephemera collection and in the booklet “A History of Cossack”. The screenplay of the film The winds that blew at Cossackcan be viewed in the State Library of WA.

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