Bruce Wiggan continues the tradition
Better than striking gold, Dean Brown and his son Lyndon had learned the magic, cracked the code of you like on how to successfully culture pearls and become the first non-Japanese people to do so. The year is 1960 and the first trial harvest of cultured pearls is in – Cygnet Bay Pearls has chartered […]
The advent of plastics sees the end of the demand for mother-of-pearl for buttons. The 1922 Pearling Act is repealed and cultured pearling is legalised. If there was a moment that marked the end of mother-of-pearl fishing as an industry, this was it.
Cultured Pearling Made Illegal. Captain Gregory attempted to culture pearls to the south of Broome, only to be shut down by the pearling masters. His attempts triggered the 1922 Pearling Act, which prohibited anyone in Western Australia from producing cultured pearls, in order to protect the lucrative motherof-pearl industry. Thus the Japanese continued to dominate […]
Life as a pearlshell diver, or even aboard a lugger, was a gamble. In 1887 and 1935 cyclones wiped out much of the lugger fleet, killing 140 men on both occasions. Drowning, diver paralysis (the bends), beriberi, tropical infections, heat stroke, malnutrition and other hazards were constant threats and regularly took lives.
Power and Influence. Because of the power and influence of the mother-of-pearl industry, Broome was the only town in the country exempt from the White Australia policy, to allow for the employment of the predominantly Asian crew that manned the luggers, hence Broome’s Chinatown.