One pearler emerged from the harsh early days of natural pearl diving to create a glittering future. As a refugee, the late Nicholas Paspaley MBE crossed the world’s oceans on a tramp steamer from a tiny island in Greece to reach his destiny on the remote northern coast of Australia, where rich pearl beds teemed with life and hidden treasures.
In the 1930’s Nicholas came of age on the graceful old wooden pearling luggers and a lifetime obsession with pearls took hold. With the counter-intuitive boldness of a visionary entrepreneur, Nicholas bought his first lugger at 19. He went on to create the foundations of a company that would revolutionise the pearling industry; navigating through the perils of hard hat diving, fearsome cyclones and surviving a decimated traditional pearling industry.
In the fabled early days of pearl diving, a single dream became not only a turning point in the life of Nicholas Paspaley, but the spiritual cornerstone of the company he went on to build. As a young man, when all of his ambition and livelihood was tied to an old pearl lugger, Nick had an electrifying dream.
In this dream, he finds the ultimate prize: a wondrously rare, perfectly round, lustrous natural pearl. Possessed by its astonishing beauty and rarity, the crew betrays and murders him for this treasured gem.
Following his sleepless night Nick opened the morning's catch of oysters to discover a chilling sight - the very pearl of his dream. Mindful of the prophesy of his dream, Nick feared being at sea with the pearl in his possession. He hid the exquisite gem in his glove and ordered the crew to set sail for home, several sailing days away.
Encountering rough seas and hampered by torrential rain and unseasonal gales, Nick was forced to change course and take shelter in the De Gray River. When the weather broke, the crew returned home to receive news that the pearling fleet had been struck by a catastrophic cyclone, devastating most of the fleet’s 450 luggers with the tragic loss of many lives.
Nick believed it was this dream that saved his life and the lives of his crew. The saga was a life changing event for Nick, and the pearl remained one of the greatest rewards of his long pearling career.