Gold was first found in Nullagine in the year 1883 by Nathaniel William Cooke who crossed the river in 1882 while searching for land to graze his sheep. After the gold was found by Cooke and his son, Lewin, the town became the principal alluvial gold centre in the north of WA. Later, diamonds where discovered in Nullagine for the first time in Australia, really putting Nullagine on the map for gems and precious metals. Agate, amethyst, chalcedony, tiger eye, opal and jasper are all found within the area.
Nullagine was officially gazetted by the state government in 1899 and by 1914, the town was home to over 3000 people, 3 hotels, gold stamping batteries and multiple stores. Today, it is home to a small population of between 25-30 people as well as the local Irrungadji community.