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Afghan Cameleers of Australia

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Australia's Muslim Cameleers - Afghan Australian - The Ghans ~more than 2,000 Cameleers came to Australia and pioneered our great desert inland.

Book of reference: Australia's Muslim Cameleers: Pioneers of the Inland, 1860s-1930s (out of print) if you do not have the book you can search the online version

Site of reference: Cameleer Biography

  • This is a collaborative project, please feel free to expand* we hope this will, in time be a "Geni Special collection"

Please listen to these fantastic radio recordings for history and understanding.

From diverse cultures and ethnic groups, the cameleers found a common bond in their ‪Muslim‬ identity. Wherever they settled they built mosques, including the first mosque in Australia.

The main town of settlement was Marree South Australia. There is still Mosques standing in Marree South Australia , and also Ghan Town in Marree still has some original houses who's descendants are still occupy them.

"By Compass and Quran"

"Written and Directed by Kuranda Seyit, Produced and Edited by Fadle El-Harris, this masterful documentary explores the history of the outback Afghan cameleers. It features touching interviews with cameleer descendants and fascinating insights from expert historians. This well researched documentary shares the amazing 150 year history of the cameleers; from the heart-felt love story of young Aboriginal woman Lallie and cameleer Jack Akbar, through the harrowing years of segregation and discrimination of the ‘white Australia policy’, to their survival and ultimate legacy of sacrifice and service in the outback. These are the men who lived their lives by compass and Quran."

View the trailer HERE

Malte-Brun was the first person to suggest importing camels into Australia. See Australian feral camel (Malthe Conrad Bruun Wikipedia)

Some Names:

  • Jack Bijer arrived 1860 from Carachi
  • Sultan Mahomet
  • Noor Mahomet - Murdered by Thomas Knowles
  • Jack Akbar or Akbah married Aboriginal Lally, after legal court case won
  • Moosa Khan from Campbellpore lived in Broken hill early 1900'ds (maybe also Moaz)
  • Akbar Khan from Campbellpore
  • Shamrose Khan
  • Namah Khan
  • Khan Zader - Broken Hill
  • Peer Mahomet son of Gool Mahomet * (of personal interest) married Ruby Stuart
  • Fuzzulla
  • Bejah Dervish arrived 1890 Afghanastan
  • Feisal Din (Fazal Dean, Fazal Deen) b. Mehran in India
  • Gool Mahomet of Farina (Gul Muhammad, Gool Mahomed) son Salley Mahomet, born Coolgardi WA
  • Bahruddin Moodasser Birth date – 15 March 1868 Karachi Sind Pakistan Married – Clara Ellen Window 1917 – Leonora WA Died – 27 September 1953 at sea on SS Himalaya
  • George Shergool
  • Meer Mahomet Khan son of Gool Mahomet, wife Barbara Stuart daughter Thora
  • John Mahomet son of Gool Mahomet, wife Agness Stuart
    • Ancestry Tree A John Mahomet m Johanna Dillon 1852, seems early. He was born 1819 Afghanistan, Turkey, or India, and died 1864 in Kapunda, South Australia.
  • Muhamad Ali, brother Aziz Dean, died 1910 old Sir Samuel cemetery WA
  • Fakir Shah, daughter married Robert James Ward
  • Said Abdul Hassan
  • Sultan Raz father of Abdul Guffa son Raymond Sultan
  • Dost Muhammed Baluch
  • Said Mulladad
  • Sher Mahomet (Mohammed)
  • Abdul Ghias Kaus, Gosse was his “arrival” name). Originally from Kandahar, Afghanistan.
  • Abdul Wade, wife Dublin born Emily Azzadelle nee Murcutt.
  • Satour family line (originally called Sidhu).
  • Dost Mohammed was one of the Baluchi camaleers that arrived here in the 1880s

Royal Adelaide Hospital Admissions 1840-1904 Download PDF

Lname: Fname: DateAd: Age: Married: Religion: Residence: Occupation: Born: Resided: Vessel:


  • Mahomet Abdul 21/12/1900 38 y S Baptist CoclgardeWestern Australia Camel Driver India 3 y ?
  • Mohmmet Amine 26/06/1891 28 y S Moh? Hergott Camel driver India 6 m "Jamesvale?"
  • Mahomet Shah 17/09/1894 25 y M Mah? Port Augusta Camel Driver Calcutta 2 y
  • Sango Said 23/04/1903 45 M Mimpeover Camel Driver India


  • Alroo John 02/06/1865 57 S catholic Adelaide Fruit hawker Madras, East India 15y "Caledonian"
  • Bond Frederick 03/10/1888 30 S Baptist Kent Town Hawker India 1y 6m "Land of the Isles"
  • Bond Frederick 29/10/1888 30 S Baptist Kent Town Hawker India 1y 6m "Ranelagh"
  • Doman John 12/04/1864 40 S Mohammedan Adelaide Hawker Calcutta, East India 11y "Bucephalus" DIED 20/05/1864
  • Dowd Shah 08/09/1893 18 S Mohammedan Knox St Hawker India 3y DIED 12/09/1893
  • Singh Bishin 24/02/1903 Hawker India 5 y
  • Singh Bishin 24/02/1903 Hawker India 5 y 9
  • Singh Harry 16/01/1902 52 M Hindu Gawler Hawker India 8 y
  • Singh Herman 08/02/1904 25 Anywhere Hawker India 6 y
  • Singh Mok 18/03/1895 30 S Hindu Hindley St Hawker India 4 y
  • Singh Narang 03/11/1903 42 M Hindu Hindley St Hawker India 4 y
  • Singh Paul 28/11/1899 Adelaide Hawker India DIED 29/11/1899
  • Singh Sander 06/06/1898 30 M Hindley St Hawker Sikh 2+ 1/2 y P+O
  • Kanayr 05/04/1903 Waymouth Street Hawker India
  • Mahomet John 22/09/1882 50 y M Mah? Rosina St Hawker Calcutta 20 y Ship? DIED 23/10/1882
  • Mayor John 01/02/1865 40 y M P? Adelaide Hawker Bengal-East India 10 y "Norna" DIED 24/4/1865
  • Too Ned 04/11/1902 26 S Methodist Waymouth St Hawker India


In the Battle of Broken Hill

  • Walshama Assou, a Punjab from Peshawar, when one of the police was shot in the battle of Broken Hill, carried water to him. This he did at no little risk to himself, for he was at times a target for the Turks.
  • Khan Bahader, a camel owner and driver, contributed largely to the defeat of the Turks in the battle in Broken Hill by allowing his house near the Cable Hotel, to be used for shooting from the windows.
  • Pir Muhammad (Peer Muhammad) from Pehawar, d. 1940, Pt Augusta, S.A. Fought for the British during the Boer war. After applying to re enter Australia and being denied, returned anyway in 1911 and married Ruby Rita Stuart, daughter of an Englishman and an Aboriginal woman.
  • Faiz Mahomet often staked miners by providing rations, shared the proceeds from any gold found, and saved the lives of many suffering from thirst and starvation. He was prominent in civic affairs and both European and Afghan communities respected him. He even assisted the chief inspector of stock by reporting on camels with lung complaints. Despite his civic usefulness his 1896 request for naturalization was refused. see his biography here
  • Mahomet Allum (1858?-1964), camel-driver, herbalist and philanthropist, was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan. When he was to return to Afghanistan a petition was signed by 10,000 people in Adelaide for him to stay. See his amazing story here
  • Dervish Bejah (1862?-1957), camel driver, was born in Baluchistan, India (now Pakistan), son of Dervish Bejah. He served in the Indian Army at Kandahar and Karachi under Lord Roberts and eventually attained the rank of sergeant. Bejah arrived by sailing-ship at Fremantle, Western Australia, about 1890. In 1896 Lawrence Wells, of the South Australian Survey Department, was appointed to lead the Calvert Scientific Exploring Expedition through the central deserts of Western Australia from Mullewa to Derby. The expedition ended in June. Bejah was later given a reception at Government House, Adelaide, and was presented with the expedition's compass, inscribed for him. [ See his amazing story here -


  • Tommy Dodd (c.1890-1975), stockman and cameleer, son of an Afghan/European father and a Pitjantjatjara woman. Dodd's familiarity with Aboriginal life prepared him for his role as guide, informant and interpreter for government officials, patrol officers and researchers. In 1963 and 1966 he acted as a translator for the ethnologist Norman Tindale when he recorded Pitjantjatjara ceremonies. Dodd accompanied officers on their patrols to protect Aborigines in the area of the Woomera Rocket Range; for this work he was awarded the British Empire Medal in 1970. Biography


The Battle of Broken Hill

Murdered in what could be Australias' first terrorist attack on January 1st 1915:

  • Alma Priscilla Cowie aged 17, Freiberg Hotel, Railway Town.
  • William John Shaw aged 46, foreman, Sanitary Department, was killed on the train and his daughter Lucy Shaw was injured.
  • Alfred Elton Millard aged 31, Cobalt street, Railway Town was killed taking shelter in his hut.
  • James Craig aged 69, labourer, who occupied a house behind the Cable Hotel, resisted his daughter's warning about chopping wood during a gun battle and was hit by a stray bullet and killed.


  • Mary Kavanagh, aged 23, tailoress, Cummins street, shot through the base of the skull, condition serious.
  • George F. Stokes, boy about 14 or 15, corner of Cummins and Garnet streets, shot in shoulder and chest; condition serious.
  • Thomas Campbell, aged 70, tinsmith. Rocky Hill, Allendale West, Broken Hill, shot in side; condition not serious at present.
  • Lucy Shaw, aged 15, Wolfram-street, bullet in elbow; injury opened and bullet extracted; returned home.
  • Alma Crocker, aged 31, care of Mrs. Bray, Beryl-lane, shot in jaw. (This victim only arrived from Petersburg, S.A., yesterday morning on a holiday.)
  • Rose Crabb, aged 30, Marks-street, Waterworks Hill, shot through the shoulder, bone splintered; returned home.
  • Constable Mills, shot in the groin and thigh, suffering a good deal of pain. Condition not critical.

"The railway guard on the train was "Tiger" Dick (Eric Edward) Nyholm, soon to be a father of six children, including the late Prof Sir Ronald Nyholm, also of Broken Hill. Nyholm was a renowned marksman and proved instrumental in protecting the train's passengers from further injury."

After this there was no further violence recorded against the Broken Hill Muslim community. Instead, the attack was seen as the result of seditious activities of ‘Enemy Aliens’ and the German community in the area became the focus of mob violence. Believing the Germans had agitated the assailants to attack the train, the local German Club was burnt to ground with the angry mob cutting the hoses of the firemen who came to fight the flames. Once again the police had to break up the mob.

  • Outback Jehad
  • Battle of Broken Hill WikiPedia

  • Goulah Mahomet hung in Fremantle for the murder of Tagh Mahomet as he was praying in the Coolgardie Mosque. Goulah Mahomet claimed to have been threatened by Tagh, and applied for a stay of execution but it was denied.

AN AFGHAN SHOT - NEGRO SENTENCED TO DEATH Sydney. October 11. An American negro, Louis Williams, was placed on trial at Tamworth to-day on a charge of having murdered Mullah Mahomed, an Afghan, at Terrie-Lichie, in June last. According to the evidence the parties were camped on a creek, and the accused visited the Afghan's camp and complained about some matches the Afghan had sold him. The accused hit the Afghan, and Mullah took up a piece of wood and threw it at him. The accused afterwards said, "I will go and fetch a gun." He returned with a gun, and, standing behind a tree, fired at Mullah, who fell, and died three days afterwards, in the Moree Hospital. The jury found Williams guilty, and he was sentenced to death.

commuted to penal servitude for life