A ghost town in Australia could get a fresh breath of life as the state government looks to turn it into a new eco-tourism destination. The abandoned town of Cossack, about 1480km north of Perth in Western Australia, was once the center of the colony’s pearling industry and was established as the first port in the northwestern part of the country. But just a few decades later, a new, larger port had been constructed in a nearby hamlet and the pearling industry had moved east to Broome, so by the 1950s, the town’s population had decamped elsewhere.

A collection of historic 19th-century bluestone buildings – some of the oldest in the state – remain on-site, including the Social History Museum in the town’s old courthouse that celebrates the town’s more lively days. A 5km-long heritage walking trail strolls past many of the sites of interest. But if plans move forward, Cossack could be transformed into a new environmentally-minded destination for tourists.

"Favorable consideration will be given to proposals that entertain low-impact tourism development and ancillary uses such as high-quality eco-tourism accommodation, low-cost camping, cafes or galleries," the government’s call for ideas reads.

Travelers already have a budget, backpacker accommodation option in Cossack’s old police barracks, but the town’s redevelopment could provide even more choices. The government’s registration of interest document suggests that the new development could entail ‘low cost camping including tents, caravans and cabins’ as well as ‘high-quality eco-tourist accommodation such as deluxe camping or glamping with eco-tent and cabin style facilities’.  Registrations of interest must be submitted by November 20.

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