Pearling is when oysters are grown in a controlled environment for harvesting mother of pearl, pearls and a variety of other yields. The centre of the industry in Australia is located at Broome, Western Australia, but there are also farms established in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Broome is a favoured spot for backpackers looking for work in the pearling industry. Not only is it is a prominent tourist drawcard it also has beautiful weather predominantly around the harvest time – 30 degrees Celsius in the daytime and 18 degrees Celsius at night. This is also where you find some of the finest example pearls anywhere.
At this time there are not many pearl culture leases operating in Queensland (15 or less).
Northern Territory operations are situated on the Coburg Peninsula near Darwin. There are also operations in Darwin itself and Bynoe Harbour.
You can find casual work at just about any time of year but the time of highest employment is from April/May through to September/October when most places greatly increase their number of staff, a large percentage being backpackers.
The number one pearl cultivator in Western Australia is Paspaley Pearls.
You can usually find work easily as there is constant turnover of workers. When you arrive at these destinations find companies in the local listings and lodge your CV.