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Reproduced courtesy of Estate of Denis George

Collection of 38 documents relating to the migration of Denis George

Date: 1930s - 2001
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from the George Family and Adrian Jackson
Object Copyright: © Estate of Denis George
Classification:Ephemera
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS1260

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    Description
    This series of 38 documents relate to pearl maker Denis George and his migration to Australia in 1948. This series consists of 5 international vaccination and 2 employment certificates; 1 photograph album; 1 employment application form; 1 student, 1 library and 1 set of club membership cards; 1 list of contacts; 1 handwritten summary of Denis George's 1948 travels; 1 Statutory Declaration; 6 employer letters of reference; 2 receipts; 3 sets of black and white photographs of Denis and Yuri (his wife) George; 1 application to migrate to Australia; 1 report; and 10 letters relating to Denis George's naturalistion and arrival in Australia.
    HistoryDenis George (1917-2001), a post-World War II Greek Migrant, was a self-taught pearl maker who found his own way to culture pearls and spent decades from the 1950s to the 1980s experimenting and trying to improve his products. His ambition was to culture a unique Australian pearl. He produced pearls mainly from 'Pinctada maxima' (gold lip pearl) and 'P. Margaritifera' (black lip pearl). He was a maverick in the Australian and Papua New Guinean pearl industry because he refused to collaborate with Japanese pearling companies who dominated pearl culture by keeping their technique secret and forming joint ventures with nationals.

    Denis George was never commercially successful but his achievements were remarkable. Not only did he develop his own way to seed pearl oysters, but he also pioneered the culture of pearls from 'Pteria penguin', a bivalve known as Butterfly Shell which was not then a recognised pearl shell. He was recognised in Japan for his pearling achievements, but was not well known in Australia.

    His efforts extended beyond his own individual interests, in lifelong attempts to establish locally owned and run pearl culture industries in Australia and Indo-Pacific countries. He also strove for recognition of the naturalist William Saville-Kent as the true originator, around 1890, of the cultured pearl technique which the Japanese later claimed as their own and developed as an industry.
    Additional Titles

    Collection title: Denis George Collection

    Web title: Collection of 38 documents relating to the migration of Denis George

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