Archaeology of the pearl shelling industry in Torres Strait

McPhee, Ewen (2004) Archaeology of the pearl shelling industry in Torres Strait. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum, Cultural Heritage Series, 3 (1). pp. 363-377.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


In 1869, European traders discovered commercially viable quantities of pearl shell on Warrior Reef, central Torres Strait. This marked the beginning of a period of population increase within Torres Strait along with a sustained European colonial presence. This paper outlines an initial archaeological investigation into the early pear shelling industry of Torres Strait. It examines the historical and archaeological evidence associated with the shore-based pearl shelling stations of Wai Weer Islands and Good's Island. Features such as boat slipways, groynes, house sites, work sheds, gravesites and signal stations provide evidence for the nature and operation of this aspect of the industry. The introduction and adaptation of European watercraft such as mother ships, luggers, apparatus boats and swimming boats, to service and maintain the pearl shelling industry is documented and evidence is presented for their role in the movement of people and pearl shell throughout Torres Strait.

Item ID: 29134
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-4788
Keywords: pearl shell; pearl shelling stations; luggers; maritime archaeology; Torres Strait
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2013 00:24
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2199 Other History and Archaeology > 219999 History and Archaeology not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9503 Heritage > 950303 Conserving Collections and Movable Cultural Heritage @ 50%
Downloads: Total: 2
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page