Cossack has a unique history. Officially established in 1872, it was the first port on the West Pilbara Coast. In 1866 a pearling industry was established in the town and at its peak, had 80 pearl luggers in operation. However, once the local area had been fished out, the pearlers moved further north to Broome. In 1887, a gold rush drew in thousands of fortune seekers to the Pilbara. The impressive growth of Cossack was spread over forty years, but its decline was more rapid. By 1900 the pearling fleet had all but gone, the gold rush had diminished and the port was no longer suitable as a harbour for the larger modern sailing vessels entering the region.
In 1904 a jetty was established at Point Samson and all shipping movements were relocated there. For a short while, Cossack was also home to a turtle soup factory and a leprosarium (leprosy treatment facility), however the municipality eventually dissolved in 1910 and the town was eventually abandoned by 1950 to be left in ruins.