The Women of Pearling

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The 3 metre bronze cast sculpture of a female diver coming out of the water, pearl shell in hand, commemorates the women who have contributed to Broome's pearling history for over a century.
The sculpture of an Indigenous woman coming out of the water with a pearl shell also seeks to acknowledge those who were exploited as divers along the coastline south of Broome during the 'blackbirding' phase. "Blackbirding” was  the forcible kidnapping of Aboriginal women to pearl luggers, where they dived for pearl shells in deep water, often without breathing apparatus. Unsurprisingly, many of the women drowned.
It was funded by Shire of Broome and Kimberley Development Commission through Royalties for Region.

The attribution plaque reads 
"And precious the tear as that rain from the sky, Which turns into pearls as it fall in the sea "
Thomas Moor
On the foreshore of Roebuck Bay we honour the contribution of women to the pearling industry. Their love, commitment, endeavour, strength and vision helped make Broome the pearling capital of the world. 
The location of this memorial is chosen because it is here that the wives, children, families and friends of lugger crew anxiously watched for the return of the luggers on the spring tide or watched as they sailed out to sea on the neap tide in search of the 'oyster gems of the moon'
Here the luggers would be laid up on the foreshore, where Asian indentured workers camps were set up and families and friends visited. This was a favourite spot for children to play all day long."

Artists: Joan Walsh-Smith & Charles Smith
Located on the Conti foreshore on Hamersley Street.

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