Muslim Cameleers on ABC tonight

Submitted: Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 12:41
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Might be an interesting watch tonight at 6:30pm.

The history of the Muslim Cameleers who helped open up Australia from the 1860’s through to the introduction of the motor car.

These men bought their culture and religion and many settled here going on to marry and have families. Despite the racism they often encountered they stayed, choosing to living in remote areas and continuing their unique contribution to navigating Australia’s interior. Each year descendants celebrate their legacy at a picnic race meeting where the Camel Cup echoes the mastery these Australian pioneers maintained over their much loved animals.

Link: http://www.abc.net.au/compass/


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Reply By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 12:57

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 12:57
What they carried was incredible. Even reports of pianos to out back stations.
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Reply By: Sigmund - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 14:15

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 14:15
Thanks for the heads-up.

I think it was Mary Durack who said that camel trains were better than bullock teams not cos of the camels but cos of the teetotal drivers!
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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:02

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:02
Gday,

Maybe its just me but I've always referred to them as Afghan Cameleers not Muslim Cameleers...........I thought they were recognisable by their middle eastern appearance and skills with camels and desert survival, not their religion?
Might have to rename that train the Musso or something. LOL

Cheers
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:08

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:08
Same here Hairy that's what I've always referred to them as.

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Follow Up By: MactrolPod - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:03

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:03
A book I saw,

AUSTRALIA'S MUSLIM CAMELEERS: PIONEERS OF THE INLAND 1860s-1930s

Not Afghan as you suggest, the doco might be based on this
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Follow Up By: Member - Michael P (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:26

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:26
As Compass is a religion based program maybe the producers are focusing on the religion more than nationality.
Regards Mike.
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Follow Up By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 18:29

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 18:29
I think you are right. As I understand it, most weren't Afghans but came from many parts of the Middle east across to India. Australians have a way of just lumping groups together under a label. Probably their religion was the one unifying thing about them at a time when Muslims were uncommon in this country.
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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:27

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:27
Possibly....I've got a lot of mates who are descendants of the people we are discussing, and the ones I know prefer to be called Aboriginal/Afghan......... Ill chuck in the Muslim bit in next time were chatting and see what they reckon. LOL
Jokes aside.......a lot of their heritage is Muslim , but they call them selves Aboriginal Afghan , not Muslim. That's just the ones I know .....not the entire mob or those years ago.
Just seems like a cheap grab at publicity or something to me....buggered if I know....LOL
Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:43

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:43
Thanks for the heads up Equinox. It is an important and often neglected part of our history.

cheers.
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Reply By: TomH - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:54

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 16:54
It would be far more polite to refer to their race or country rather than their religion.

How do we know if they were ALL Muslims
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Reply By: Idler Chris - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:33

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:33
Thanks for that Alan. I have been driving today from home (Melb) to Sandigo in the Riverina and it so happens that the book AUSTRALIA'S MUSLIM CAMELEERS: PIONEERS OF THE INLAND 1860s-1930s is sitting right beside me. I am about a quarter the way through. Will watch this tonight it should be very interesting.
What other people think of me is none of my business.
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Reply By: Rick (S.A.) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:51

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:51
Alan,
I am led to believe that a well known & respected president of an august historical society may be interviewed....................;-)
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Follow Up By: equinox - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:56

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 17:56
That's awesome Rick - now I will be sure not to miss it :-))))

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Reply By: Australian Landscape Jewellery - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 19:33

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 19:33
Just finished watching. That was a superb documentary. Many thanks for the headsup.
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Reply By: Member - Andrew & Jen - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 19:34

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 19:34
Thanks equinox
Have just finished watching it - very interesting and moving documentary.
Nothing has changed really - same fear of difference and prejudice, followed by discrimination -
Cheers
Andrew
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Reply By: Member - Marc Luther B (WA) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 19:57

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 19:57
Hi Equinox
If you ever come this way again, I will show you a few tracks and old camel cart parts and pieces that are laying not from from here.
Regards
Marc
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Reply By: Member - P and JM - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:02

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:02
Hi All,

I missed it because I forgot, and just caught the last end of it and seen faces of a few Afghan descendants that I know from Marree. S..t !
I can't seem to find the full story on the compass program, so did anybody tape it, as I will buy a copy on a DVD if you have.

Cheers P&J
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:10

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:10
P&J,

If you have a half decent internet connection and a TV or device that can access ABC's iView, you can watch it at your leisure for about 2 weeks until they take it off iView.

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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:13

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 20:13
Thanks equinox. I just watched it - a great program.

Cheers

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Reply By: Member - graeme W (WA) - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:13

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:13
Hi Alan.
Thanks for the heads up. Only read your post as the program was starting. Often the ABC doesnt list whats on their programs like compass, four corners, australian story etc.

Cheers Graeme.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:53

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:53
Thanks Alan,

Missed a few minutes, so will give iView a re-run shortly.

Good to see comments from descendants, as well as the old footage.

Bob

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Can't remember most of it.

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Reply By: Ron N - Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:55

Sunday, Apr 12, 2015 at 21:55
I was under the impression that the largest number of "Afghan" cameleers in Australia came from the province of Balochistan? - and accordingly, were actually Pakistanis, not Afghans.
The vast majority of them appear to have been law-abiding individuals (as well as being tough buggers) - unlike the ruthless, lawless, terrorist breeds who seem to have increased in numbers in that region, and further North, in recent decades.

I'll put in a minor claim to some kind of fame here - my Dad was amongst the last of the camel team owners!
He owned several camels and used them to pull his percussion boring plant and dray around the Murchison and even as far South as Kalannie, between 1934 and 1937.
In addition, the dray he owned was one of the original drays used by Charles Canning to put in the CSR!

In Dad's photo collection is a photo of a 32-camel-team-drawn waggon, loaded with 15 tons of wool bales, being dragged through the dry bed of the Gascoyne River. The teamsters appear to be Europeans, not "Afghans", due to their style of clothing.

That wool-hauling camel team would have also been amongst the last of their kind (the photo was taken in 1929) - as a later to be well-known bloke, by the name of Charles Kingsford Smith - had put nearly all the wool-hauling camel teams in the Murchison, out of business by that time, with his trucking business known as the Gascoyne Trading Co!

Cheers, Ron.
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Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 06:52

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 06:52
Great programme, missed it last night, but just watched it on ABC iView By Compass & Quran

If you miss it there, it will rpobably pop up on the Compass website shortly too.

We are going to the Marree Camel Cup 2015 on the way to BV in early July, it's on Sat 4th and should be a great 3/4 day before we head up to Mung to camp that night.
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Follow Up By: dean ( SA ) - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 12:38

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 12:38
We did exactly that 5 years ago and it was fun.
Would have been nice to have a couple but with a 200km drive ahead of us, no way so we made up for it in Mungerannie.
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Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 12:41

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 12:41
Yeah should be a great break on the way, something totally different to the normal run up to BV.
Going to stay Farina Fri night, but it will be popular / pretty busy there I imagine.
Did you happen to stay Farina, and if so was it a bit packed ?
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Follow Up By: dean ( SA ) - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 19:45

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 19:45
Sorry can't help with Farina as we stayed in the Flinders and came up in the morning.
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Reply By: Member - John G - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 10:50

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 10:50
G'day Equinox

From Stevens, C. The Mosques and Ghantowns. A History of Afghan Camel Drivers in Australia. Oxford University Press. 1989.

"On close examination of records, the earlier 'Afghans' proved to have been indeed that: Afghans and not Indians. Most of them were tribesmen from the eastern provinces, or from Kabul or Kandahar, or Karachi - Afghanistan's port . . . They were not Indians, as is recent theory, though some were in fact Baluch. Baluchistan was a province of Afghanistan until the Durand Line cut it into two sections, one of which is now in present-day Pakistan. The Baluchis themselves are Afghans, one of the numerous tribal groups of Afghanistan. I hope this book will elucidate the mystery of these men, and settle the controversy of their origins."

The funny side: I only have this book because we were dog-sitting at a friend's place in Cairns, and they gave me the book to read. I left it on a table while we went out, and the dog (a Golden Retriever) chewed the bloody book. It's still readable , but I replaced it via eBay for our friends. $60.00!!

Sir, the dog ate my homework.

Cheers
John
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 12:10

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 12:10
Good info John, thanks for posting that up. I never knew the Baluchi (Balochi) were actually considered to be Afghan, and I didn't know the province was part of Afghanistan, before it was partitioned.
There's a wide difference between the various tribal groups in those regions - some are good people, many are just outright scumbags.

Cheers, Ron
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Reply By: get outmore - Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 16:07

Monday, Apr 13, 2015 at 16:07
could it be some of the borders from back then have changed --- or even have been very vague in areas?
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