Up to a few years ago most people thought there were only a few Chinese and no Japanese buried in the old cemeteries of Darwin. Silent Pearls arose out of an examination of a few remaining Japanese headstones and investigation of the stories that lay behind them and covers the half century before war in the Pacific. It is thoroughly original research which contributes greatly to the knowledge of the early history of Darwin (Palmerston).
The book identifies the deaths of more than 100 Japanese in the Northern Territory between 1891 and 1941. It identifies every one of the 45 Japanese listed on the 31 remaining headstones; explains the cause and circumstances of all the deaths, and uses them as a scaffold on which to build the history of pearling in the Territory. In so doing it brings to light the massive contribution of more than a thousand Japanese to the early development of the Territory. Their industrious efforts contributing more than a million pounds (£) in pearl-shell exports alone.