Aboriginal Shipbuilding Oral History - Doug D’Antoine, Derby

Collection Highlights | Updated 9 years ago

A large group of people next to the boat they built
Laurel and Doug D’Antoine with the Museum’s lugger Ancel being restored by Aboriginal youth in 1993; and Doug D’Antoine with a l
Image copyright of WA Museum

Doug D’Antoine was born at Cape Levique or at Morgan, Hunter’s Creek, in May 1922. He spoke the native language Bardi before his family went to Broome when he was about 7 years old, and attended school until he was fourteen. His grandfather, Adrian Julius D’Antoine, was originally from the Seychelles but his father and mother were born at Cape Levique.

The pearling industry attracted a population from diverse areas of the world. There were Malays, Koepangers, Chinese, people from Manila, and the West Indies. At the industry’s peak there had been some 500 boats operating out of Broome.

D’Antoine’s uncles, Robin and Jack Hunter, worked in Streeters and Male’s shipyard in Broome where Doug D’Antione spent a lot of time watching and learning from them and the Japanese shipbuilders. Eventually D’Antoine went to work for his uncles, and became the foreman of the shipyard when the pearling lugger Ancel was built in 1953. Ancel is now in the Museum’s watercraft collection.

Maritime history oral histories Indian Ocean Gallery