Australia's Muslim Cameleers
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The idea of camels

Faced with the extent and aridity of the Australian inland, South Australia’s Governor Gawler proposed the introduction of camels as early as 1839. His was not the first suggestion, and further schemes were proposed during the next 20 years. All assumed that if cameleers were needed, they would be brought from the Middle East.

The 1846 Horrocks Expedition which explored west of Lake Torrens in South Australia, was the first Australian exploring expedition to use a camel. The camel, christened ‘Harry’, was a survivor from a group imported from the Canary Islands in 1840. During the expedition it nudged John Horrocks as he prepared to shoot a bird. The gun fatally wounded the explorer. Despite this tragedy, the expedition established the value of camels for exploration.

By 1858, after the explorer Benjamin Herschel Babbage found himself stranded near Lake Torrents with his horses, due to a drought, prominent citizens began calling for the introduction of camels.

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