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Nicholas Paspaley Jnr
, 2018

by Andrew Bonneau

oil on canvas (frame: 77.5 cm x 88.0 cm, support: 66.0 cm x 76.5 cm)

Nicholas Paspaley Jnr AC (b. 1948) is chair of the Paspaley Group of Companies, with interests in pearling, aviation, retail, pastoral holdings and commercial properties in Australia and internationally. Paspaley’s family fled the Greek island of Castellorizo during the First World War, settling on the West Australian coast. His father Nicholas began work in the Port Hedland and Broome pearling industry at the age of 14, and had purchased his own pearl lugger by the age of 21. Nicholas Jnr worked and learned alongside his father from a young age. Following studies in economics at Sydney University, he joined the family pearling business, taking the helm of a traditional pearling lugger at the age of 21. In due course, he modernised traditional pearling methods initiated by his father and his father’s Japanese business partners. In particular, he is credited with developing new and sustainable farming methods that revolutionised the global pearl culture industry, and for establishing Paspaley Pearling Company as the producer of the world’s finest pearls. He has been instrumental in the international promotion of Australian natural quality south sea pearls, and is a member of the board of CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation. Today, his son James Paspaley is CEO of Paspaley Pearling Company, which comprises twenty pearl farms dotted along the coastline of North-Western Australia, and accounts for the majority of Australia’s annual pearl production. Pearling now comprises but a fraction of the family’s diverse concerns, but pearls remain at the ‘heart’ of their business. Nicholas Paspaley Jnr was made a Companion of the Order of Australia for his services to Australia’s export industry in 1999.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Commissioned with funds provided by Ross Adler AC 2018
Accession number: 2018.60.1