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The statue of a pearl diver in a turn-of-the-century diving suit, one of the classic images of Broome. In the early 1900's, by far most of the divers were Japanese, but the federal government in Melbourne was desperate to enforce its “White Australia” policy, and considered the reliance on Japanese labour by white merchants in Broome to be an embarrassment. And so, 12 white British Navy divers were recruited from Britain to try their hand at diving and pearl harvesting and prove that white divers could be as good if not better than the Japanese. Within a year, 4 of the divers had died from paralysis or the bends, and the remainder were so woefully inefficient that they quietly crept out of town. Pearl diving remained a brutally harsh occupation in which only the Japanese were willing to accept the risks and losses.: by flyted, Views[886]
The statue of a pearl diver in a turn-of-the-century diving suit, one of the classic images of Broome. In the early 1900's, by far most of the divers were Japanese, but the federal government in Melbourne was desperate to enforce its “White Australia” policy, and considered the reliance on Japanese labour by white merchants in Broome to be an embarrassment. And so, 12 white British Navy divers were recruited from Britain to try their hand at diving and pearl harvesting and prove that white divers could be as good if not better than the Japanese. Within a year, 4 of the divers had died from paralysis or the bends, and the remainder were so woefully inefficient that they quietly crept out of town. Pearl diving remained a brutally harsh occupation in which only the Japanese were willing to accept the risks and losses.

by flyted | Views [886]

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