Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Camels of Broome

There is just something special at Cable Beach when the camels arrive to take people on a ride along the beach at sunset.  The ride goes for half an hour and more women seem to do it than men. 

Camels of course are not native to Australia but suited to out back Australia.

*The very first camel to ever set foot on the red Australian soil arrived in 1840 and came from the Canary Islands. (This was a somewhat unlucky camel, as it accidentally caused its owners death and was subsequently shot...) But this first camel was soon followed by others. 24 more camels arrived in Australia in 1860 to be part of the Bourke and Wills expedition. And in the next fifty years an estimated 10,000 to 12,000 camels made their way to Australia!

The camels came to Australia mostly from India and Palestine, and nearly all of them were dromedaries (the one humped variety Camelus dromedarius). Apparently there were only about 20 two humped camels (bactrian camels of the species Camelus bactrianus) imported during that time.
On top of that Australians also started breeding their own camels.

The first of several Australian camel studs was established in 1866 in South Australia, and the studs went on to operate for fifty more years. (Interestingly the working camels bred in Australia turned out to be of much higher quality than the imported camels...) It was the camels, and the camel drivers or cameleers, that opened up the Australian Outback.
The camel drivers came mostly from Afghanistan, but also from Pakistan and the Turkish Empire.
*Taken from Outback Travel Secrets..




33 comments:

  1. Sorry for my ignorance, I really thought you went for a vacation somewhere in the middle east or Northern Africa. Amazing to find them in Australia down under.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's ok...
      The camels have been here a long time.

      Delete
  2. Margaret: Well done on the documentary.
    Thus we have here in Australian the train from Adelaide to Darwin named to acknowledge
    the Afghan handlers of the early exploration of this vast desert wilderness - "The Ghan".
    Surprisingly there are more now "feral" camels in Australian than in the entire peninsula of
    Saudi Arabia. So we can now export camel meat to that area according when dead to the hamal laws of slaughter. How this is achieved from aerial culling remains one of the mysteries we will never know.
    Still exports are money for Australia.
    Funny that women take more rides than men. Maybe men have more sensitive noses and don't like being spit at - ha ha! ( Oh I am naughty???)
    But for the camel owners on the beach at Broome, who cares - camel rides are money in the pockets
    of the enterprising entrepreneurs and bloody good luck to them.
    The photo of the two camels on the beach is just so "cute". I wonder what the two camels are really thinking?????? " Good God, more bloody riders to impress with courtesy or should we both fart" !!!!
    Cheers
    Colin
    PS: Perfect day here without a Hemmingway or Steinbeck in sight.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes we do export camel meat, I read that somewhere.
      Be interesting to know what they are thinking, I have some strange expressions of photos on their faces.

      A great day without Hemmingway and Steinbeck...from other countries I believe.

      Delete
    2. So I am unwanted here, is that the reference to Hemingway and Steinbeck? No problem.

      Delete
  3. They do make an exotic sight and good for taking pictures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They do look pretty with their different colours.
      Well many beaches in and around Broome, the camels make a nice change.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. They look nice...they all look good sitting in a straight line.

      Delete
  5. Margaret I have seen camels personally in Turkey. They are fantastic animals. Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing. Your country is fantastic and so varied

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Gosia.
      Lot of the country is similar due to it being a large desert, but even that varies too.

      Delete
  6. Did you ride one yourself Margaret? They are perfectly named 'ships of the dessert'. Seeing them reminded me of when I was in the Sahara Dessert.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No I didn't Rosemary, I thought about it. If I had been keen enough I would have..
      Great name for them...

      Delete
  7. Hi Margaret, despite being West Australian I have yet to visit Broome. I did however ride a camel to dinner along the Todd River bed in Alice Springs many moons ago!! I hope you are enjoying your holiday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Wendy..
      Must have been fun. So many River and Creeks without water.
      Yes, thanks we are having a great time...at 80 mile beach heading south soon.

      Delete
  8. I was aware of camels in N WA but seeing them is still a bit strange. Quite elegant creatures, very at home on Broome's sandy beaches. A match made in heaven I'd say!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they would be at home in Broome..there are camels in our deserts, also in other areas.

      Delete
  9. I remember reading a book a long time ago called "Tracks" written by a young woman who crossed the desert in Australia with camels and being amazed that Australia had wild camels. I do think you should have taken a ride!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh well I could have ridden on the camel, but not my cup of tea:). They smell too much for me..
      That sounds an interesting book. Will look it up and see if I can get it..

      Delete
  10. I've had one ride when I was young on a camel and it was more than enough to last a lifetime - not the most comfortable mode of transport ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well at least you have had a ride. But then it's my own fault I haven't. Thinking about it, I'm glad I didn't.

      Delete
  11. Lovely photos, and an awesome setting for a camel ride.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. The camels look good returning from their walk as the sun is setting. Too many vehicles on the beach to get that shot..

      Delete
  12. Yeah we think of Australia we do not think of camels but I knew that there are camels in this great country

    ReplyDelete
  13. Interesting animals aren't they? And of course the "home-grown" variety was better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They take their time when walking. Always good to have our own..

      Delete
  14. Oh someday M I am truly coming to see a real camel and you my dear friend.Your photos are incredible thank you for taking us all along. xo Hug B

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The camels of Broome are the only ones we have seen. There are thousands of wild ones...Hugs M xoxox

      Delete