Published: June 4th 2012May 20th 2012
Roebourne Gaol, a must see.
All three towns are within 30 odd Klms of each other and we stayed at Point Samson as our base to discover the area.
In 1856 Francis Gregory undertook the first European exploration of the Pilbara Region. It was a result of Gregory’s favourable reports of the area that settlement went ahead. In May 1863, Walter Padbury became the first settler landing at the mouth of the Harding River with his livestock near the present sight of Cossack. Cossack was first known as Tien Tsin, after the barque that carried Padbury and his party. It was also known as Port Walcott and North District before Governor Weld in HMS Cossack visited in Dec 1871 and the town’s name was finally chosen.
As the first port in the North West, Cossack played a vital role as the port for Roebourne and the surrounding areas. The existence of nearby pearling fields saw the development of a significant pearling industry with up to 80 luggers operating in the area. The Pilbara gold rush of the late 1880’s along with pearling brought real prosperity to the region. Cossack’s growth spanned 40 years, however, its
Roebourne Gaol, maybe I should have said , a must experience!
decline was far more rapid. The pearling industry moved to Broome and the gold rush had diminished around the turn of the century, and with ships only ever able to navigate Butcher’s Inlet with any certainty at high tide, the port was too small to accommodate larger shipping. The municipality of Cossack was dissolved in 1910, however people still lived here until after WWII. New Industries were introduced in efforts to revive the town but by the early 1950’s the town was abandoned. A number of imposing stone structures remain and well worth a visit as they have been well restored and maintained, including the Court House, Customs House & Bond Store, Galbraith’s Store and the Police Barracks and Lock Up.
Roebourne has many fine old stone buildings standing as a reminder of its past. On the Harding River, Roebourne is the oldest town in Nth West WA, established in 1866. A drive around gave us an insight into its earlier days. Most notably a visit we made to the Old Roebourne Gaol gave us an insight into the way the Indigenous people were treated at the hands of early Europeans – not good! A fascinating town that is
predominantly an Aboriginal Community with Mining camps alongside it, the Gaol was a must see.
Point Samson was an ideal base for us as it was situated on a magnificent Cove and protected beach. Named after Michael Samson who accompanied Walter Padbury in 1863, Point Samson was established as a deep water port after silting problems at Cossack. Point Samson had a very active history unloading general cargo for the then boom town of Wittenoom. Although small, Point Samson handled the third largest annual tonnage in WA. Point Samson today is very much part of the resources boom in WA, but presented to us very much as a seaside town offering beautiful beaches, fishing and great accommodation options from resort style to a brilliant caravan park, The Cove. Very peaceful and relaxing and a great base to explore all the local region sites and towns, you could also use it as a base to explore Karratha and Dampier from.
There are more photos below