In the North West of Western Australia some 35 kilometres south of Roebourne on the Harding River lies the once sheep station of Cooya Pooya.  The operation as a sheep station ceased in the late 1970's & was finally vacated in 1984, when development of the Harding Dam water catchment commenced which would eventually put most of the property under water.  Cooya Pooya Station, consisting of a single-storey stone and iron homestead, detached kitchen and shearer’s kitchen, has a cultural heritage that has associations with the development of the pastoral industry in the Pilbara district which dates back to the evolution of a pastoral settlement since 1882. 

 

    The place also has close associations with W. S. Hall, and the Lockyer and Stove families, early pastoralists in the Pilbara who were prominent in the development of the North-West pastoral industry. Thomas Lockyer, a Northam settler, and his four sons took up Table Hill Station (later Cooya Pooya) in 1882. The Lockyers ran sheep on the property, pasturing them on the tableland and Upper Fortesque areas of the extensive property during the wet season; they were driven back to the homestead run for shearing. The Lockyers also ran stud sheep, cattle and horses near the homestead. Thoroughbred horse breeding formed a moderate contribution to the property's income.

 

    It is assumed that the first stone homestead and the shearers’ kitchen, were constructed during the first years of the Lockyer's tenure, probably during 1883.

William Shakespeare Hall ran the blacksmith shop, which was located to the east of the existing dry stone building (the shearers' kitchen). Hall had arrived in the area in the early 1860s and had worked on several stations in the area prior to seeking employment at Table Hill.

Hall tended the Station's horses, as well as those of travellers passing through. 

    As the road to the hinterland passed through Table Hill, the homestead provided a regular stopping place for those travelling through the Pilbara. The road ran south of the shearing shed and across the flats to a causeway through Hick's Gap. Everyone who travelled inland passed through the Station until the 1950s, when the route was diverted through Pyramid Station.

    The place also has associations with the Aboriginal people who worked and lived on the property.  It also demonstrates design features responsive to the North-West climate, innovative concrete work and fine stone work, executed in local materials.  Other buildings nearby, including the meat house, poultry shed, stables, shearing shed and shearers' quarters, which are considered to have heritage significance and contribute to the understanding of the place. 

    In late 1994 and early 1995, restoration of the station homestead was mooted and several local groups and Government Departments became involved in the negotiation process. The Pilbara Development Commission agreed to provide financial support for the preparation of a Conservation and Management Plan. This did not eventuate. In August 1995, the Water Authority expressed concern about the future of tourist development in the water catchment area and 'decided to develop an alternative homestead at 'Old Woodbrook’.  That proposal did not come to fruition either.

    It was placed on the Western Australian Heritage Listings in 1998, but as of that date nothing has eventuated in the restoration of the station buildings & as far as I know it is still vacant to this present day with the dam water eventually flooding the whole area.

A great pity as it was an historical icon in the early days of settlement in the Pilbara.

 

    The original Afghan Camel Route where camel trains once supplied goods to the North West Pilbara, passed through this station on their way to Roebourne. Signs of the track can still be seen in the south east portion of the station at Hick's Gap towards Python Pool near Mount Herbert.

 

    I have visited Cooya Pooya twice. Once in 1985 before commencement of flooding the Harding River  & you could still use the original entrance road from Roebourne to gain access & again in 1987 when the Dam was in operation & water levels prevented using the original road.  This time access was via the Roebourne-Wittenoom Road, following a track at the south east part of the station, which led up to the the homestead.

 

 

Entrance Cooya Pooya

Homestead

Homestead

Homestead

Shearing Shed

Shearing Shed

Shearer's Quarters

Harding Dam (Background)

Old Spring Station Ruins Spring Creek

     

                Meat House &  Poultry Shed                     

     

Cookhouse