The Kailis family's long and distinguished maritime history can be traced back to Castellorizo, an island off the coast of Greece, where Captain Michael Kailis was a merchant seaman. Many years later, Capital Michael's Grandson, Michael George Kailis travelled across the globe to Australia where he continued this maritime family tradition.
The young Michael started out from humble beginnings, working as a lobster fisherman at Ledge Point. With the proceeds from the sale of his wife's car, Michael eventually set up a lobster processing operation at Dongara, Western Australia, giving birth to the MG Kailis Group.
As the Dongara enterprise strengthened and grew, other opportunities in the seafood industry became apparent to the entrepreneurial Michael. His next ventures began in 1963 when he started prawn trawling in the Exmouth Gulf and pioneered the settlement that exists today at Learmonth. It wasn't long before a quarter of a million pounds of prawns were being processed at the Kailis factory per calendar year.
But Michael wasn't satisfied. In 1965 he had the idea of farming tuna using purse seine nets. While this vision wouldn't come to fruition until many years later, it was about this time that Michael began ship building in Fremantle. During the same period, the export trading side of the business flourished with markets becoming well established in Japan, the USA, China and Europe.
In 1975 the MG Kailis Group entered the pearling industry through its subsidiary, Broome Pearls Pty Ltd. In little over a decade the company had grown to become a major player in the pearling industry and grew to be the world's second largest producer of cultured Australian South Sea Pearls. Michael and his wife, Dr Patricia Kailis, are considered pioneers in the modernisation of pearl farming. In fact, Patricia - a medical doctor - was chiefly responsible for evolving methods to keep oyster shells disease-free, setting standards for the rest of the industry and keeping MG Kailis at the forefront of pearl production. The company is internationally recognised for its investment into research and development.
Although MG Kailis is no longer directly involved in pearl farming, the character and spirit of the MG Kailis Group's Pearling division has been foundational to the Jewellery division's desire to produce the modern and timeless jewellery designs. Today the Kailis brand is recognised internationally for our refined quality and contemporary settings of Australian South Sea pearl jewellery.
The long-held tuna farming dream was finally realised in 1997 when the MG Kailis Southern Bluefin Tuna Farm began operating in Port Lincoln, Queensland. Japan is the major market for southern bluefin, with the majority of the product being sold at auction for sashimi.
The Port Lincoln operation was divested in November 2005 as part of a restructuring plan for the Group. Likewise, after a long and successful relationship with fishers, contractors and suppliers, MG Kailis also discontinued its involvement in the WA live lobster processing industry in October 2005 to pursue other interests and investments.
Sadly, Michael passed away in 1999. Today, however, the MG Kailis Group remains one of Australia's leading marine corporations. The Group's Seafood division continues to provide international markets with the highest quality produce. The company has diversified into a variety of related operations, and their substantial investments have led to the economic and social development of a number of coastal towns in Western Australia, Australia's largest state.
The Company remains proudly family owned, and the Kailis family name is synonymous with integrity and experience in the seafood, marine and jewellery industries.