Posts Tagged With: Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

Essence of Ardi festival, Lombadina

Coinciding with our visit to the Dampier Peninsula was the inaugural Essence of Ardi festival. We moved up to the resort at Kooljaman in Cape Leveque to be close enough to attend. Local musicians, artists and dancers, some from all over the country, were scheduled for 5 hours of celebration.

Cygnet Bay pearl farm were present selling delicious pearl oyster sushi, our friends from Goombaragin had a stall promoting not only their accommodation options but also demonstrating how to make clapping sticks. Amanda had a go but found that it wasn’t as easy as it looks, especially with a blunt hatchet. There were community stalls, some for alcohol and drug abuse, others with more positive stories highlighting how communities are getting better representation with social and corporate matters. One of the favourites with the kids was the Bardi Jawi Rangers stall that had videos of their involvement with catching and tagging dugongs in the Middle East. They gave the kids Ranger patches and were very keen to talk about their work with the local environment, and posters on their display highlighted some ambitious but important objectives over the next few years. Displays of local artwork were particularly eye-catching, especially a nautilus made from mother of pearl and ebony. Another local man displayed his ability in spear making, turning the shafts in the fire, and catering to two types, a fishing spear and a crocodile repellent / dugong hunting variety. A few food stalls were busy selling everything from bread loaves, cooked at the local bakery, to chilli mud crab, frozen ice blocks and lolly bags! Local celebrity, Stephen “Baamba” Albert acted as master of ceremonies, reeling off jokes and stories between acts. He played a part in the 2009 movie Bran Nue Dae. A local dance group kicked the entertainment off, the small group of schoolgirls performing a number of combined traditional and contemporary dances. Then the local bands were introduced, representing young and older generations. Albert Wiggins, who grew up at One Arm Point sang about his father and growing up in the area, and as with most of the acts had political songs for, or about, the prime minister, clearly showing their discontent with the way they have been treated. The Bardi Traditional Dance Troup came on later with three men tapping boomerangs and chanting songs (no didgeridoos in this region – just clapping sticks and boomerangs for music) as the dancers with painted bodies performed. Each dance to the uninitiated seemed similar in terms of steps, but the dancers held different patterned shields, obviously symbolic for each song. The last dance involved a hilarious character dancing at thrice the speed scaring children who had strayed onto the dance floor. The last act was Kerrianne Cox, from nearby Beagle Bay, a passionate and talented indigenous singer who worked hard on the youngsters in the crowd instilling pride in their heritage. As an inaugural event it seemed to be a great success, and the number attending would have pleased the organisers. Fifty Toes loved it and gave it full marks!

Categories: 4WD, Adventure, australia, Australian Outback, Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Journey Narrative, Photography, Photos, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm

Very close to the northern tip of the Dampier peninsula are two interesting places to visit. The first is the Trochus hatchery, at Long Arm point, where the Trochus shells are bred. Unfortunately for us the hatchery was closed but Jack, from Goombaragin Eco resort, who works there gave us an insight to the place, and if we get to return we’ll definitely check it out.


The Trochus shell is a conical shell that has many uses, from ornamental (when polished) to make-up and even providing the metallic allure in certain paints. The hatchery also has a number of fish tanks where you can see barramundi, monkey fish (jawfish) and archer fish.

We headed back down the coast a few kilometres to Cygnet Bay to the oldest cultured pearl farm in Australia. It commenced in the mid 1940’s and remains one of only three Australian pearl farms still in operation, thanks to their continued passion, research and development in the industry. Their showpiece is the largest cultured pearl in the world with a diameter of 22.24mm for which they have refused a couple of offers in the millions.

Before our tour we took in the views over the bay from the lookout (still no crocodiles spotted), then the kids jumped in the pool for a quick dip to cool down.

The tour included an overview of the industry from origins to the modern day, a video from old footage in the 50’s, an overview of the operations and pearl lifecycle, then included opening a pearl oyster, extracting it, getting it assessed for quality and priced. Finding out about shape quality, lustre and skin feel was fascinating and our pearl turned out to be valued at $600. Hannah couldn’t be persuaded to swallow it discretely! A very interesting and educational afternoon indeed.

Categories: Big Lap, Discover Australia, Explore Australia, Travel, Travel Adventure, West Australia | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

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