The Pearlers

Australian Workers Film Guide


This is an interesting short documentary about pearlers working in remote waters off the coast of Broome in Western Australia. The pearler boats are manned by  Aborigines, Malays, and Chinese men, with the occasional European. Primitive and dangerous work, the film shows the diver being suited up and entering the water. Spending most of the day in the suits, the divers send shells to the surface, where they are prised open in search of pearls. The narrator explains that there are few actual pearls left in Australian waters and the pearlers are fishing for shells, which are exported and used in a range of products. When pearls are found, the owners of the boats ensure that they are safely brought to shore in tamper proof boxes.

Special Notes/Achievements

An Australian National Film Board Production for the Department of Information.

Author: J Bird, 2023

Duration: 10 mins 31 secs

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Film Sound Recordist: Alan Anderson, Don Kennedy,

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