Feature Film /
Based on the book by John Bailey, in 1912 Broome was as much Asian as Australian, filled with the smell of unfamiliar spices and a babel of competing languages. The town thrived on the hugely profitable and extremely dangerous pearl shell industry. Asian labour was cheap to hire, and easy to replace. It was a frontier town where racial tensions simmered uneasily between whites, Asians and Aborigines.
An extraordinary, compellingly written story that captures the brutalities, absurdities and raw excitement of frontier life in equal measure.
– The Age
Bailey enthralls us … A blend of Steinbeck, Hemingway and Maugham. With a dash of Hansard … A fascinating and important book.
– The Australian
John Bailey possesses that special talent that makes a true story read like a rollicking tale of fiction, and his book, The White Divers of Broome, has quite rightly been compared to Simon Winchester’s The Surgeon of Crowthorne. It’s a riveting read that evokes an exotic and dangerous frontier Australia.
– West Australian
Bailey has constructed a stirring narrative … he invests the past with new life … to animate early Broome and its seaways, with all their colour, eccentricity and brutality. He demonstrates anew how little we still know of a history which many misconstrue as bland, safe and comfortable. We are well served by books of this caliber which struggle to tell it like it was, not the way we might like it to have been.
– Courier Mail
A dark, complex story, powerfully vivid, thanks to Bailey’s narrative flair.
– Sydney Morning Herald
Produced by: Nick Batzias, Virginia Whitwell
Status: In Development