Ali Drummond has spent the majority of his life in the Torres Strait. In 1931, at the age of fourteen, Drummond became the provider for his family after his father and mother passed away. He learned pearling, from Japanese divers, after serving as a cook for a short time.
In 1940, Drummond left the pearling industry to work in construction, and later cut sugar cane. During World War Two, Drummond helped construct roads all over the Torres Strait for the army. He was also trained by the army in unarmed combat and how to use a rifle, in preparation for a possible Japanese invasion of Australia via the Torres Strait.
In 1947, Drummond resumed pearl diving. When he was thirty-five, he contracted typhoid fever, which in conjunction with the nitrogen that had built up in his blood from pearl diving meant he could not dive anymore. Drummond was still working in the pearling industry thirty years later when he had an accident on the wharves. A forklift carrying pearl shells nearly crushed him. This accident forced him to retire due to health complications.
In 1998, at the age of eighty, Drummond received the NAIDOC Sportsperson of the Year Award for his achievements in lawn bowls. Drummond's life story, Life B'long Ali Drummond: A Life in the Torres Strait (2007), was written by his granddaughter, Samantha Faulkner (q.v.).