Broome Maker Stories: Bill Reed

Allure South Sea Pearls

Bill Reed’s dream for the future seems very simple. “I think I want do more fishing. Broome has some of the best fishing in the world and it’s the reason a lot of people come here. I’d like to write more as well.” This is more than idle opinion; Bill is a marine biologist with over 50 years’ experience and he knows a thing or two about ocean life. He’s also just published his autobiography, The Long Road to Broome, and is keen for his next literary project.

But his real specialty is pearls, and he still works as a consultant to pearl farmers. “I’m very lucky to have that sort of work at my age,” he laughs. Bill’s main focus is his business, Allure South Sea Pearls, and he oversees the company’s jewellery manufacturing and retail activities.

“There’s so much to love about what I do. I usually come to work seven days per week, but not until after 10am and always before midday, as I like to say good morning to the personnel, rather that have them wish me good afternoon. I’m fortunate to have the job of choosing the pearls we use in our jewellery, and it brings me into contact with a lot of interesting people.”

bill read broome pearls

Bill answers without hesitation when asked about his favourite part of the job. “I have a fantastic business partner, Lindsay Youd, and a wonderful group of personnel. It’s my great privilege to be able to provide a living for them.” The fascination with Broome’s famous natural treasures is all part of the job. “Staff training is definitely one of my favourite things to do. Everyone is so eager to learn about pearls and pearl jewellery. It’s a genuine pleasure to give people the knowledge and the skills to work in this field.

And what sort of town does Bill see in the future? “I think we could do some real work with how we promote Broome. The opportunities are here; we just need to get the word out there. There’s so much that’s untapped here, new things waiting to start up with the right backing. The cattle industry is growing and that’s really exciting – I’d love to see other industries take off like that. We’ve got so many fantastic entertainers – story tellers, singers, writers – especially in the local indigenous community. People have seen what comes out of Broome with artists like Jimmy Chi.”

As we speak, Bill is sitting in his old home near the port, surrounded by birdsong.

“It’s a beautiful day in a beautiful place,” he remarks. “Broome will always have that; it’s why the tourism industry is so good. It’s a really beautiful place, and we’re very lucky to live here.”