The Pearl-Shellers Of Torres Strait

Regina Ganter
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The Pearl-Shellers Of Torres Strait

Subjects

Anthropology

Published

31 October 1990

ISBN

9780522845471

Subjects

Anthropology

Imprint

Melbourne University Press

The Pearl-Shellers Of Torres Strait

Regina Ganter
In an ethnically stratified work force, Japanese, South Sea Islander, Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal divers brought up from the sea floor the shell that produced mother-of-pearl, and sometimes pearls. Many men died at this dangerous work.

This was an industry that could have given the indigenous peoples of Torres Strait an occupation that preserved their identity and independence. Yet in spite of a co-operative lugger scheme that operated fairly successfully in the early twentieth century, a real independence was not achieved. And a resource that could have been conserved by small-scale indigenous harvesting was depleted time and again by the colonial practices of resource-raiding and mass extraction.

Regina Ganter charts the progress of pearl-shelling from its heyday through its several crises resulting from overfishing to its present cautious management. The book is greatly enhanced by the oral testimony of divers and boat-owners.
In an ethnically stratified work force, Japanese, South Sea Islander, Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal divers brought up from the sea floor the shell that produced mother-of-pearl, and sometimes pearls. Many men died at this dangerous work.

This was an industry that could have given the indigenous peoples of Torres Strait an occupation that preserved their identity and independence. Yet in spite of a co-operative lugger scheme that operated fairly successfully in the early twentieth century, a real independence was not achieved. And a resource that could have been conserved by small-scale indigenous harvesting was depleted time and again by the colonial practices of resource-raiding and mass extraction.

Regina Ganter charts the progress of pearl-shelling from its heyday through its several crises resulting from overfishing to its present cautious management. The book is greatly enhanced by the oral testimony of divers and boat-owners.

About the author

Dr Regina Ganter has done extensive fieldwork as a consultant for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. A lecturer at Griffith University, she presently holds a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Australian National University to explore the dynamics of interaction between Asians, Aborigines and Europeans at the Australian frontier.

About Regina Ganter

Paperback
Added to basketCheckout →
Ships in 4–10 business days
Other formats available