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Cook, South Australia facts for kids

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South Australia
A disused building in Cook
Population 4 (2009)
Established 1917
Postcode(s) 5710
Time zone ACST (UTC+9:30)
 • Summer (DST) ACDT (UTC+10:30)
LGA(s) Unincorporated area
State electorate(s) Giles
Federal Division(s) Grey

Cook is a railway station and crossing loop on the standard gauge Trans-Australian Railway from Port Augusta to Kalgoorlie, with no inhabited places around. It is 826 kilometres (513 mi) by rail from Port Augusta, and is connected to the Eyre Highway by an unsealed road about 100 kilometres (60 mi) long.


The former town was created in 1917 when the railway was built and is named after the sixth Prime Minister of Australia, Joseph Cook. The town depended on the Tea and Sugar Train for the delivery of supplies, and is on the longest stretch of straight railway in the world, at 478 kilometres (297 mi) which stretches from Ooldea to beyond Loongana. When the town was active, water was pumped from an underground Artesian aquifer but now, all water is carried in by train.


Today, it is said to have a resident population of four, and is essentially a ghost town. The town was effectively closed in 1997 when the railways were privatised and the new owners did not need a support town there, although the diesel refuelling facilities remain, and there is overnight accommodation for train drivers. 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. The bush hospital is closed, but the town maintains some medical supplies in the event of a train disaster. The hospital advertised itself at the station with the catch cry "If you're crook come to Cook". The shop is only opened while the Indian Pacific is in town. It has a few houses and fuel tanks for the locomotives. The crossing loop can cross trains up to 1,800 metres (5,900 ft) long. The former airstrip is known as a place to spot inland dotterel.

An interview with a resident revealed that they use both the Western Australian and South Australian time zones, for people from both states, so they do not have to adjust their watches. When the railway was sold, eight transportable houses were taken away and made into holiday houses on the coast.

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