The Paspaley Group is an Australian family-owned and run company with a heritage of over 80 years and three generations. Recognised as pioneers of the Australian South Sea pearling industry, today the company has a diverse portfolio ranging from pearling to retail, aviation to agriculture.

The Paspaley company was founded in 1935 with the collection of mother-of-pearl shells for the button trade.

In the years that followed, cultivation of Australian South Sea pearls became the company’s primary focus. Every great company can point to a source of inspiration that set it on course for success. For Paspaley that inspiration was the late Nicholas Paspaley, MBE (1913–1984).


Fleeing the Greek island of Castellorizo during World War I, the Paspaley family arrived in Australia in 1919 in search of a new life. They decided to try their chances at their ship's first port of call, Cossack on the Indian Ocean coast of Western Australia. In this remote part of the world, the Paspaleys were among a handful of Europeans living in the area with the traditional Aboriginal inhabitants and Asian pearl fishers.

The unspoiled oceans off the Australian coast were, and still are, home to the world's largest beds of the most prized of the world's pearl oysters – the giant Pinctada maxima. Traders and settlers soon developed a thriving industry diving for the mother-of-pearl shell.

As diving was one of the few viable industries in the area, it was natural that Nicholas Paspaley would learn this challenging trade. By 1932, at the age of 18, he was at the helm of his own pearling lugger, diving for shell that fulfilled most of the global demand for button making.

Today Paspaley has diversified into many other areas, to the extent that pearling accounts for less than forty per cent of the Group’s turnover, with aviation, retail, pastoral holdings and commercial properties accounting for the rest. Despite this diversification, pearling remains the prime focus and heart of Paspaley.

The Paspaley Group’s success is a result of decades of dedication, investment and innovation – and superior quality is the hallmark of Paspaley in every area of the business. Our reputation is built on an unwavering commitment to the pursuit of excellence, and this philosophy is reflected in every aspect of our operations.

Generations of Passion

The Board of Directors is comprised wholly of family members including the children and grandchildren of Nicholas Paspaley Sr, founder of Paspaley. The Executive Chairman, Nicholas Paspaley Jr has been largely responsible for pioneering and revolutionising the Australian South Sea pearl industry and enabling pearls of the quality we see today to be produced.

The Paspaley head office is in Darwin, with operations across Australia and internationally in Hong Kong and Japan. Paspaley Group currently employs over 1200 people, with over 600 in pearling alone.

Nicholas Paspaley, Executive Chairman of Paspaley Group of Companies
Nicholas Paspaley, Executive Chairman of Paspaley Group of Companies