Welcome to the City of Karratha

Wayiba! Nyindaguru milbanha warrbangu nhurdu Ngarliam ngurra.

Translation: Hello and welcome to everyone who has come from far away to Ngarluma Country.

The Pilbara region is home to some of the world’s most ancient natural landscapes, dating back two billion years and stretching over 400,000 square kilometres. From the calm cobalt waters of the Dampier Archipelago to the rugged, russet ranges of the Karijini National Park the Pilbara is stunning and spectacular, a sight to be seen.

And yet the Pilbara is also known as the engine room of Australia and is home to some of the country’s biggest resource operations including natural gas, iron ore and salt.

The City of Karratha, is located in the Pilbara Coast region, and encompasses the towns of Karratha, Dampier, Roebourne, Wickham, Cossack and Point Samson.

Here you can swim, fish, sail, hike, camp and explore. Karratha is the perfect place to base yourself when visiting the City of Karratha.

Cultural Heritage

We acknowledge in this publication the traditional owners of this land the Ngarluma and Yindjibarndi people. We pay respect to Elders past and present and to emerging community leaders. We extend respect to all Aboriginal people living in the City of Karratha.

Our Pioneering Past

British explorer William Dampier first sailed into the Dampier Archipelago aboard his ship the HMS Roebuck in 1699. His mission was to explore the coast of ‘New Holland’. Dampier and his crew spent months detailing Australian flora and fauna, charting coastlines and recording trade winds and currents from Dirk Hartog Island in the South to Roebuck Bay in the North.

Almost two centuries later in 1866 the township of Roebourne was first established and named after John Septimus Roe, Western Australia’s First Surveyor General. Roebourne quickly grew to be the administrative capital of the North West.

Cossack was the first port in the North West; it was officially declared a town in 1872. Thousands of fortune-seekers called Cossack home during the Pilbara gold rush. Cossack was also once home to a booming pearling industry. Once the local pearling grounds were fished out, the pearlers moved further north along the coast to Broome.

In 1904 a jetty was established at Point Samson and all shipping movements were relocated there. Sadly Cossack had lost her position as the most important port in the Northwest. The municipality of Cossack was dissolved in 1910 however people continued to live in the town until after World War II. The town was eventually abandoned by 1950.

Jarman Island marks the entry to Cossack and the wharves at Point Samson, and in 1867 the Jarman Island Lighthouse arrived on a ship from England. A work crew from Roebourne Gaol built the lighthouse and a Lighthouse Keeper was employed to ensure the four wick kerosene lamp was lit every night. In 1917 it was automated, burning a guiding light for shipping right up until 1985 when it was finally decommissioned. Thanks to the Federal and State Governments and the City of Karratha the lighthouse has now been fully restored to preserve this fascinating piece of our local maritime history.