Abandoned Australian town (population: 2) goes on the market

Laura Hampson
·2 min read
Cossack (pictured) is wedged between Harding River and the Australian coast (LJ Hooker)
Cossack (pictured) is wedged between Harding River and the Australian coast (LJ Hooker)

On a remote stretch of land in Western Australia (WA), the town of Cossack has been lying deserted for the better part of 70 years.

In the north west corner of WA, it sits on the banks of the Harding River and beautiful beaches are just a short walk away.

Now, the WA government, in conjunction with real estate agent, LJ Hooker, are taking on Registrations of Interest (ROI), inviting private sector parties to propose ideas for how to revamp the derelict township.

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On the market for the first time, Cossack is home to 12 heritage-listed buildings and nearby Jarman Island is included in the listing.

The ROI’s the government is looking for include low-impact tourism development, to help draw social and economic benefits to the area - such as high-quality eco-tourism accommodation, camping or cafes.

It will also entertain supporting the regeneration of a heritage asset which will also ensure the long-term conservation of the site.

The town is home to 12 heritage-listed buildings (LJ Hooker)
The town is home to 12 heritage-listed buildings (LJ Hooker)

LJ Hooker’s Vincent Siciliano told The Real Estate Conversation: “Cossack was a pivotal part of WA’s pearling industry, with a history dating back to the 19th century,” said Mr Siciliano.

“Overtime, nearby townships including Port Samson and the employment hub of Karratha assumed the local population base.

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“But Cossack sits in an amazing pocket of the Pilbara. The townsite is bordered by the azure water of the Harding River. This campaign presents a developer or entity with a rare chance to deliver a vision and ongoing commitment for a low-impact activation of a piece of WA’s history.”

Cossack was a large base for the pearling industry, with over 57 pearling vessels employing more than 1,000 people there in 1895.

Cossack was a large base for the pearling industry in the 19th century (LJ Hooker)
Cossack was a large base for the pearling industry in the 19th century (LJ Hooker)

However, residents began to move to larger towns and Cossack was abandoned 70 years ago, only the town’s caretaker Rhys Osterlund lives there with his partner Shannon Ervin, who runs the cafe.

The WA government and LJ Hooker will be accepting ROI’s until November 20, and if successful, the town will likely sell for an undisclosed amount.

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