59["Pearling Industry", The Western Mail (Perth, WA), Friday 08 September 1916, page 49]




Melbourne, Sept. 4.

The following are extracts from the report of the Royal Commission on Pearl Fishing which has been presented to the Governor-General:--



"Since presenting the progress report the opinion of your Commissioners has undergone a change of considerable importance, particularly in regard to the labour question. Having carefully weighed the evidence and having no reason to doubt the credibility of those who were examined on this point, and further having visited the principal centres of the pearl-shelling industry in Australia, and noted the conditions under which is conducted, your Commissioners have decided that diving for shell is not an occupation which our workers should be encouraged to undertake. It may be urged that Europeans have successfully undertaken the work of diving for shell, which is true of the past, but the European diver is non- existent at the moment, and boat owners who have dived in shallow or comparatively shallow water dive no longer, but employ the Asiatic, who cheerfully takes the risks and puts up with the consequences. Being of the opinion that it is not desirable, especially at the present juncture, to disturb existing conditions or to make any special effort to induce the Australian worker to engage in the pearl shelling industry, it is not recommended that financial assistance should be afforded by your Excellency's Government to in any way promote the industry either by the establishment of a school for diving, the cultivation of shell, or the artificial production of pearls. Your Commissioners, however, recommend that consideration should be given to the question of offering a reward for the invention of an improved diving dress or other mechanical contrivance for securing shell, which will at least minimise the danger to life which unfortunately attends the present day methods of diving.