First Shinju Matsuri Pearl Queen Crown
The highlight of Broome’s annual Shinju Matsuri Festival was the crowning of the Pearl Queen at the ball. Made by jeweller Robert Boyd, this delicate silver crown features eleven sets of Japanese cultured pearls, set against a blue velvet headband. The first queen, in 1970, was Dianne Fong and this crown was worn by the winning Pearl Queens until the mid-1990s. In this small town with a big history in pearling, the festival of the pearl coincided with the annual Japanese Obon festival of lanterns and the Chinese Hung-ting, festival of the dead. It was a significant community event with a float parade featuring Sammy the Dragon and community floats, art awards, Japanese dancing, sporting competitions and pet parades. An annual lugger race brought the community together, and festivities continued after the races at the divers’ quarters on the foreshore for the crews, friends and families. The Museum has an extensive collection of Shinji memorabilia.