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Lustre: Pearling & Australia

Lustre: Pearling & Australia


Lustre: Pearling & Australia delved into the gritty human story of pearling, weaving together Aboriginal, Asian and European histories to reveal insights into one of Australia’s oldest industries.

This exhibition explored northern Australia’s unique pearling tradition, the evolution of pearls and pearlshell, and told stories of people who collected and harvested these Saltwater Country treasures. It was on show at the National Museum of Australia from 23 February to 22 July 2018.

  • Painted pearlshell
  • Detailed view of pearls
  • Painted pearlshell
  • Strickland Bay
  • Men aboard a pearling lugger
  • Pearls scattered over an oyster shell

Lustre was developed by the Western Australian Museum in partnership with Nyamba Buru Yawuru, Broome’s Yawuru Aboriginal corporation.

The exhibition was developed in close consultation with senior Yawuru, Karajarri, Bardi and Jawi, and Mayala elders from Saltwater Country, and is supported by and is supported by the Visions regional touring program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to cultural material for all Australians.