Living in Broome, you get a sense of the history and the people who shaped this unique Australian town throughout the 20th century.
Names like Kennedy, Male and McDaniel can be found on old buildings, ovals and street signs.
Now you can meet the people, see what they look like and hear some of their stories.
4 Corners came to Broome in 1962.
The days of a bustling and wealthy pearling port, exporting pearl shell around the world were gone.
The development and popularisation of plastic had left Broome and the pearling industry in decline.
But there was more than just talk about the technology that allowed the culturing of gem pearls.
Arthur Streeter (Sam) Male was the son of Arthur Male who was one of two brothers who first brought the Male name to Broome in the late 19th Century.
Since that time, generations of Males have run the family business and represented the region in government.
Sam started Australia’s first cultured pearl farm at Kuri Bay with Japanese and American business partners in 1956.
Previously, the pearling industry was predominantly about harvesting pearl shell for use in many applications that would later be taken over by plastic.
Occasionally, a pearl shell would produce a natural pearl in response to an irritant or infection.
These gems were a rare and highly valuable bonus in the pearl shell industry.
But in the late 19th century, English marine biologist, William Saville-Kent, developed the technique of culturing pearls while working as the Commissioner of Fisheries for Western Australia.
A Japanese biologist and a Japanese carpenter learnt the secret of culturing pearls from Saville-Kent while working in Australia.
Upon returning home, the Japanese patented the technique which was used to develop the world’s first cultured pearl industry.
By 1935, 350 Japanese pearl farms were producing 10 million cultured pearls annually.
But the Japanese pearl oyster could never produce the famed south sea pearls of the giant Pinctada maxima pearl oyster found in Kimberley waters.
In 1962, the Australian cultured pearl industry was in its infancy, and despite the Australian origins of the pearl culturing technique, there was a lot of mystique around the Japanese stranglehold on the profession.
In this archival footage, 4 Corners reporter, Michael Charlton, captures something of a little recorded part of Broome’s history.
It was a pause between the rapid growth of the town as a pearl shell hub, and the evolution of a cultured pearl industry.
It was also a time when many of Broome’s better known residents were still alive.
Phyllis McDaniel was the widow of pearling master Daniel McDaniels. They moved to Broome in the early 1900s and went on to own a large fleet of luggers.
Daniel died in 1955 at the age of 77, Phyllis lived on until 1979.
Their son, Terence McDaniel, who is interviewed in this report, was accidentally killed just three years later in 1965 when his revolver accidentally discharged.
Herbert (Bert) Kennedy owned a fleet of luggers which were destroyed or sent to Fremantle during the Second World War.
After the war he concentrated on building up his store which became one of the biggest in Broome.
He died in Broome in 1977 at the age of 94.
The store building and the Kennedy family home still stand, and some of Bert’s children and grandchildren still live in Broome.