The school house is in the abandoned town of Cossack in Western Australia. The town became the main port servicing the north-west region and the start of the pearling industry in the late 1800s.
The old school house at Cossack was constructed in 1896. It seems odd that the school was built after the pearling industry moved, however, the original school was first constructed in 1883. Made of timber and iron, it was destroyed in a cyclone in 1894.
The new building is small, made of stone walls which offer great insulation from the heat. It also proved to be far more resilient to the harsh and severe weather in the 120 years plus since it was rebuild.
Conditions for the students were not any easier on them as it was for the buildings. A student died from tetanus after treading on a nail in the playground. The school closed periodically requiring the students to travel to Roebourne on a horse-drawn tram. It didn’t remain open for long, closing in 1900.
A plaque is outside the school, a part on the Emma Withnell Heritage Trail . It mentions of the school and the horse-drawn tram to Roebourne and of the original school being destroyed by a willy-willy.
You can enter the Cossack School House which is furnished barely. There are some school desks inside to give a school feel to the interior of the building.
To get there:
From the northern end of Roebourne along North West Coastal Hwy (Cleaverville Rd), turn into Point Samson-Roebourne Rd at the brown sign for Cossack. Follow Point Samson-Roebourne Rd for 8.2km and turn right into Cossack Rd at the brown sign. Follow Cossack Rd for 5.2km to reach the Cossack Historic Town.