The Pearl-shell Diver
Allen & Unwin, 2016
Primary, Secondary, Upper Primary
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English, Kalaw Lagaw Ya / Kala Lagaw Ya language (Y1) (Qld TSI SC54-07)
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- Australian Government policy
- Pearling industry
- Torres Strait Islands (Qld TSI SC54, SC55-05)
This novel for primary to junior secondary readers is based on real events, including the destruction of a pearling fleet in Bathurst Bay by Cyclone Mahina in 1899. As the novel opens, Sario is living with his family on a remote Torres Strait island. The year is 1898 and the pearl-shell trade is at its height. When his father is coerced to join a white trader on his pearling lugger, 13-year-old Sario must go to work as a swimming diver to support the family. He can earn more as a pump diver but the competition is fierce, especially with indentured Japanese divers. With the constant danger of shark attack and the storm of the century approaching, can Sario provide for his family and realise his dream?
At the end of the book there are historical notes, a timeline of Torres Strait and a Mabuaig language glossary. In 2016 this book won the Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year award.
- Allen & Unwin Teaching Resource for ‘The Pearl-shell Diver’ https://www.allenandunwin.com/browse/book/Kay-Crabbe-Pearl-shell-Diver:-A-Story-of-adventure-from-the-Torres-Strait-9781760290474/
- State Library of Western Australia: WA Migration Stories: Pearl Divers https://slwa.wa.gov.au/exhibitions/s/migration/page/pearl_divers
- History of Pearling in Australia by Dan and Wendy McLay https://pearlluggercruises.com.au/history-of-pearling-in-australia.php