As a refugee, the late Nicholas Paspaley Snr, crossed the world’s oceans from a tiny island in Greece to realise his destiny on the remote northern coast of Australia, where rich pearl beds teemed with life and hidden treasures.
In the 1930s, with the bold vision of a young entrepreneur, 19-year-old Nicholas bought his very first pearling lugger. At the time, Broome, Cossack and Darwin were the world’s most significant pearling ports. At its peak, the 80 Mile Beach and Broome area accounted for 75% of the world’s mother-of-pearl production, with over 400 vessels collecting up to 2,000 tonnes per annum.
In the 1950s, demand for mother-of-pearl shell dropped dramatically and the pearling industry was all but decimated. Navigating the perils of hardhat diving, frequent cyclones and other adversities, Paspaley embarked on a journey that would revolutionise pearling forever.