Pearling luggers

Saving Torres strait pearls


Coming up


The historic Torres Strait Pearling Lugger ANTONIA A99 is being fully restored in Cairns to once again return to the waters of Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait.

    Follow our progress and get involved by contacting us today.

THE recognition expedition

The 1899 pearling disaster at Cape Melville saw the loss of 54 luggers, 4 schooners, 11 white crew and 300 "coloured" crew.  

    After 114 years we give the recognition to the "coloured" crew that have to this day been left nameless.

help needed


Please help if you can

Antonia is undergoing full restoration in Cairns.  We require all the help we can get from funds, materials, volunteer support and expertise.  If you would like to assist please get in touch.

Mike Smith,  Director

  • Only 18 luggers are believed to exist that worked the waters of the Torres Strait and Far North Queensland
  • 300 crew of many nationalities died in the 1899 pearling disaster at Cape Melville.
  • Pearl lugger Antonia A99 holds the record for pearl shell at 22 tonne.
  • Antonia's sister-ship Anniki A98 was in the movie Australia with Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.


Restoration of our pearl diver air pump begins.


Antonia is getting a new deck and cabins.

SEPT 17-19

Visiting Hopevale and Cooktown for the 1899 Pearling Disaster

right now

At the 2014 Winds of Zenadth Cultural Festival on TI!

Our new website will be launched next week!