Stories of the Cameleers

Student activities

Task no. 1

Who were the cameleers?

The cameleers were collectively known as 'Afghan' cameleers. While some were originally from Afghanistan, others came from countries such as Baluchistan, Kashmir, Sind, Rajastan, Egypt, Persia, Turkey and Punjab, so spoke a variety of languages. Their common bond was their Islamic religion and the fact that they were almost exclusively young or middle-aged men.

Almost all of the cameleers who came to Australia during this period faced enormous hardship. While their skills were needed and mostly appreciated, they were largely shunned by the European communities. Indeed, racism and anger towards them was rife.

Go to the Australian Dictionary of Biography and choose the story of ONE of the following Cameleers:

  • Mullah Abdullah
  • Mahomet Allum
  • Dervish Bejah
  • Faiz Mahomet
  • Abdul Wade

In your own words tell the story of ONE Cameleer. You should include:

  • when, how and why he came to Australia
  • important events in his life
  • his contribution to Australian society

Use the sources about and images and written sources from your own research to present the story as a Powerpoint or Prezi.