30a["Cossack Tramway", The Northern Times (Carnarvon, WA), Saturday 31 August 1912, page 4]



A fairly representative meeting of Roebourne residents was held in the Road Board Office on August 20 to protest against the contemplated action of the Government in taking up the tramline from Cossack to Roebourne. In the unavoidable absence of the chairman of the Road Board Mr. H. J. Watson, the chair was taken y Mr. A. Waugh.

The chairman called upon, Mr Vessey, one of the convenors of the meeting, to explain matters, and in doing so the speaker referred to the decision arrived at by the Minister for Public Works during his to the Nor'-West to take up the tramline from Cossack to Roebourne when the jetty reconstruction at Port Sampson was finished.

Mr Shaw stated tint if the line was removed as suggested by Mr Johnson, it would be a bad day for Reobourne, as residents would suffer very much thereby. He moved:--"That in the opinion of this meeting, taking into consideration the damage sustained by the Point Sampson jetty during the last hurricane season, and the possibility of similar damage being done in any subsequent hurricane season, the proposal to remove the Cossack-Roebourne tramway is ill-advised and if carried into effect will prove detrimental to the interests of the whole of the Roebourne Magisterial District."

Mr. Davies, in seconding, endorsed the remarks of the previous speaker, and explained that in the event of fire or storm destroying the jetty, Point Sampson could not be used as a landing place, and as goods would have to go to Cossack the additional cost of transit by teams would be great. No good purpose could be served if the line was taken up, but good may eventuate if it were allowed to remain. Five months ago the jetty was demolished, and as it was not yet reconstructed it was only reasonable to expect that valuable time would be wasted if no line was available to convey goods from the seaside to Roebourne. If the same blow occurred at the seaport as happened at Balla, the jetty would be completely demolished and the time lost and the money expended for reconstruction would be great. The attitude of the meeting was not antagonistic to the present Government, but was simply a protest. If none were raised the Minister would naturally think that his decision to take up the Cossack line was a good one and would meet with the wishes of the district, but if residents took the matter in hand and explained the inconvenience that would be caused by its removal he (the speaker) felt sure the Government would allow the line to remain in case of emergency.


[other speeches in support]

[motion carried]

30b["Mining & Pearling", The Northern Times (Carnarvon, WA), Saturday 15 March 1913, page 2]

Mining & Pearling




During a visit to Cossack a few days ago we found feeling very keen still over the taking up of the tramway line by the Government, though the cost of that move was heavier than the value of the rails recovered. The general opinion seemed to be that the Government's drastic action was due to a determination to settle the question of Cossack's future and to prevent a future Government from restoring the tramway to the township.


30c["The North-West", The West Australian, Tuesday 29 September 1914, page 3]




Speaking to one of our representatives yesterday, the Minister for Works (Mr. W. D. Johnson) said that so much criticism had been levelled against the Government at different times for its administration of the North-West, and for having sent him up there, with, it had been asserted, little or no direct results, that he had, in fairness to the Government and himself, prepared a resume of operations in that portion of the State during the past three years.



The jetty at this port has had to be overhauled and substantial repairs effected at a cost of 450. The tramway from the jetty to the town was found to be in a depreciated condition. The rails were for a very considerable length beyond further serviceable use, and considerable renewals have been necessary. Proposals for the relaying of this tramway date back some nine years, and, although recommendations have been made constantly by departmental officers, their representations have been turned down so often that the present Administration found the track, and also the rolling stock, in a deplorable condition; and instructions have had to be issued for the complete relaying of the track, which work is now in hand. Another matter which has received serious consideration at the hands of the Government is the construction of a new jetty, or the extension of the present jetty in order to enable coasting steamers to lie alongside. This is a subject concerning which representations have been made by the people for a number of years, but nothing definite was undertaken. During the present administration the matter has been closely gone into, with the result that approval is being issued for a comprehensive survey of the site examined by the engineer for the North-West, at Beaden Point, and, should investigations confirm the suitableness of the site, it is the intention of the Government to seek the early sanction of Parliament for the construction of the jetty. It is admitted by the Government that the Ashburton district has been neglected in the past with regard to shipping facilities for stock, and that its interests have been sacrificed. Extensive repairs have been effected to the police quarters, gaol, R.M.'s. office, R.M's. residence, and hospital, so that the whole of the buildings, which were generally in a very neglected state, have been brought up to a standard of efficiency. The expenditure was 300.

Roebourne, Port Samson, and Cossack.

The Parliamentary party which visited these centres in the early part of 1912 found that considerable damage had been done as the result of the Koombana blow. The jetty at Port Sampson was out of commission, and likewise the tramway connecting Sampson with Roebourne. It is believed that much of the damage to the jetty was the result of belated maintenance. In other words the maintenance had been allowed to get behind, with the result that the structure was not in a condition to stand the strain of the storm. The expenditure on repairs was 6,300. It was found, with regard to the tramway, that it had been accepted in the past as quite the normal condition of things, that heavy maintenance was to be expected after every heavy rain, and heavy expenditure had been met complacently from time to time. The remedy was discovered by the present Administration in the better location of some three miles of the line, which was laid down originally over marsh lands, and by deviating the line, necessitating an increased distance of only a few chains, it was possible to lift the track right above the influence of tides, and place it on good ground. This has been accomplished for an expenditure of about 2,000, which, it might be noted, was also the estimate for putting the original track in order after the blow referred to. It is claimed that the achievement must result in a very considerable reduction of maintenance. Not only that, but it will practically eliminate the long delays and dislocations of traffic which had been experienced in the past. The tramway from Cossack to the junction with the Sampson and Roebourne track was found in a very bad state of repair, and it was inevitable, in the interests of public safety, that the road should be either renewed or taken up. The latter course was decided on in view of the unwarranted expenditure in attempting to keep two ports open for Roebourne. It has been argued that Cossack should be kept open for the contingency of the Sampson jetty being thrown out of commission again by a blow, but in this regard it should be observed that a proposition is now afoot for the construction of a lighter jetty in Pope's Nose Creek, which will enable lighters to land their cargo, lightered from vessels lying out in the roads, should such a necessity arise at any time. The proposition is that the jetty should be connected up by rail to the Sampson-Roebourne line, and thus have rail-road connection with Roebourne established. Conveniences, long required, have been established at Point Sampson, in the provision of ladies' and general waiting rooms, lavatory accommodation, and such like. The buildings unused have been removed from Cossack at little cost. The public buildings have come in for a good deal of attention, many of them having been riddled with white ants. In this regard the police quarters, courthouse, hospital, school, goods shed, and clerk of court's residence have been brought into good and serviceable condition. The lighthouse on Jarman Island has been overhauled and painted, and the lighthouse quarters are now receiving attention.