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History of the Pilbara Region

Episode: 6
Broadcast: 29 May 2016
Presenter: Trevor Cochrane

Trevor takes us north of Karratha to explore the history of the Pilbara region.

  • The historic town of Cossack is 34km from Karratha and a town once targeted to be our state capital.
  • The town is now a heritage museum of a time gone by and a ghost town that lives up to its name. It is on the edge of the Harding River, the stone buildings restored and serving as a reminder of our colonial past.
  • Walter Padbury, the first settler in the region, charted the harbour and named it Tien Tsin after the barque that had brought him to the area. In the early days it was also known as Port Walcott, North District and The Landing.
  • In 1871 the name was changed to Cossack in honour of the ship that carried the Western Australian Governor, Sir Frederick Weld, to the area.
  • The town site was officially declared in 1872 and by 1900 it was at its peak before its sudden demise as the pearling industry moved north to Broome and the gold rush waned.
  • Today it’s the centre for the Cossack Art Awards, a prestigious event gaining much attention for its world-class art over three weeks across July and August.
  • The graveyard is a place full of sad and poignant reminders of its past but if you want to have a spooky experience visit on the 18th of June when renowned Psychic Anthony Grzelka conducts the first Cossack Ghost tour.
  • Continue East for the historic town of Roebourne, only 30km from Karratha. Gazetted as a town in 1866 and named after our first surveyor general, Sir John Septimus Roe.
  • It was the first town settlement in WA’s North West and is still home to the Norwest Jockey Club, the oldest country race club in WA.
  • Only an hour or so from Karratha is Point Samson. A newish town created for its deep harbour, making it an ideal shipping port.
  • There are excellent accommodation options, beaches, fishing and snorkelling, a great tavern, bistro and the famous Ta Ta’s restaurant.

For more information on Karratha to plan your next trip visit the visitor centre website: