Cook – An Australian Ghost Town – Photo Essay

By Jade Johnston

826 kilometers by rail to the closest town, and located on one of the longest stretches of rail in the world, Cook Australia is a ghost town. Built in 1917, the town was originally founded as a support town for the railway. When the railway was privatized, and the companies no longer required these services, Cook’s main industry was lost.

The town now supports a population of about 4 people, who comprise the one last family who has decided to stay in Cook. Even though these residents are hundreds of kilometers from any other community, they say they do not feel isolated. With television, telephone, and internet communications, the residents still manage to feel connected despite their remote location.


The only realistic way to visit Cook is via the Indian Pacific rail journey with Great Southern Rail. Cook is the main rest stop for passengers between Adelaide and Perth.

Wandering around what remains of the village of Cook is a photographers dream. Old painting peel off of buildings in the sun, relics from the past sit out in plain sight, and a clear example of how the population of Cook had to make due with their own ingenuity and creativity shines through in everything.

Rusted cars sit abandoned in Cook

The country club looks much older than it’s claimed founding in 2006

Activities available at the Cook Country Club

Old jail cells at Cook

This post was made possible by Great Southern Rail. Visit their website to find out about the great Australian rail journeys that they offer.

<—– Follow the rest of OurOyster’s Great Australian Overland Adventures!


  1. says

    Love ghost towns so I love this post. We had a chance to drive someone’s car across the Nullabor last year but it fell through. Maybe another time.

    You might be interested in a story we wrote about a ghost town in Pennsylvania ,USA that had to be abandoned due to an out-of-control underground coal mine fire. I link to it below in the CommentLuv.



  2. says

    Wow – this is so weird, 4 people?? I’m guessing it’s parents and 2 kids? Will the kids go to study or get married somewhere? I would love to know the reasons why they stayed and also the reasons why everybody else left, even though they were far from other cities they could just improve and make bigger their own..

    • says

      The kids are now grown and they seem to spend half of their time in the cities working, and then come back to Cook for the other half of the year… I guess they just love the isolated bush lifestyle

    • says

      I think the best way to visit it is on the Indian Pacific, because they stop for just the right amount of time so that you can wander around and have a look

  3. says

    I love your photos; thank you for sharing them on your blog! There’s a kind of haunted elegance in ghost towns–what once was, what never again will be. Having lived in a highly populated city for so long, it is hard for me to imagine living a town whose sole inhabitants were members of my own family. I’ve never visited a ghost town, but I’d love to give it a go–do you have any ghost towns to recommend in the United States? Thanks for your input!

    • says

      I havn’t travelled very much around the USA, so I dont know any good ghost towns to recommend, but I know some other commenters have posted some links to some of their own ghost town posts that you might want to check out


  1. […] We always think of ghost towns as exclusive to the US midwest! Cook – An Australian Ghost Town – Photo Essay […]

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