Towns in Australia

Exploring Australia, town by town

Cook SA


Postcode: 5710

Cook is a railway station and crossing loop on the standard gauge Trans-Australian Railway from Adelaide to Perth, with no inhabited places around. It has a few houses, and fuel tanks for the locomotives. The crossing loop can cross trains up to 1800m long.

The town was created in 1917 when the railway was built. It is named after former Prime Minister Joseph Cook. It was effectively closed in 1997 when the railways were privatised and the new owners didn’t need a support town there, although the diesel refueling facilities remain, and there is overnight accommodation for train drivers. The shop and bush hospital are closed. Cook is the only scheduled stop on the Nullarbor Plain for the Indian Pacific passenger train across Australia and has little other than curiosity value for the passengers. Today, it is said to have a resident population of four, and is essentially a ghost town.

When the town was active, water was pumped from an underground Artesian aquifer but now, all water is carried in by train. Attempts have been made to introduce trees and other vegetation, but these have not been successful.

Cook is on the longest stretch of straight railway in the world, at 479 km.