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Lustre: Pearling & Australia

Lustre: Pearling & Australia


23 February – 22 July 2018 | First Australians Focus Gallery | Free

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

Discover the intriguing stories behind northern Australia’s unique pearling tradition. Learn how pearls and pearlshell evolve, and hear the stories of the people who have collected and harvested these Saltwater Country treasures.

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

Audio tour

Take the Lustre audio tour to hear first-hand accounts from more than 25 people involved with pearling over many years. Use our free wi-fi to download our free app, The Loop, or hire a device at the Information Desk.

Android available on Google Play Available on the App Store


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.