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How Camels Helped Build Our Nation

How Camels Helped Build Our Nation

Are Camels the Unlikely Heroes of Australian History?

Commonly thought of as pests, these majestic creatures rarely receive credit for their contribution to building and defending the nation of Australia.

This is a travesty that Camel advocates and Camel dairies around Australia are trying to remedy- as those who do the Farm Tour at Summer Land Camels can testify.

Summer Land Camels is the largest Camel Dairy in Australia and our visitors can ride camels, try our award-winning Camel Dairy products and take a behind-the-scene farm tour to learn about Camel farming, the history of Camels in Australia, the health benefits of Camel Milk and more.

Summer Land Camels Farm Tour Brisbane

Farm Tours at Summer Land Camels


The role of Camels in Australia is a little-known but fascinating part of our history.

Afghan Cameleers came to Australia along with thousands of Camels imported from India and Afghanistan from 1860 onwards. They were brought out to assist in exploration and to be used for transport and construction in the Outback.

 Bejah Dervish at Mullewa, WA, leaving for the Calvert Expedition, 1896. Image credit State Library of South Australia

Bejah Dervish at Mullewa, WA, leaving for the Calvert Expedition, 1896. Image credit State Library of South Australia


The Camels and their Cameleers undertook the work required to open up Australia and connect rural communities and cities. They were perfectly suited to our desert environment and could travel long distances carrying large loads with little food and water.

History of Camels in Australia

Photo credit - Museums Victoria

Camels also played a role in the defence of Australia and in the Middle East in World War I and II.

During WWI, Australian Troops serving in the Imperial Camel Corp (attached to the more famous Light Horse Brigade) played a pivotal role in the Battles of Beersheba and Magdhaba.

 Imperial Camel Corps

Imperial Camel Corps - Australian War Memorial


Camels also played an essential role in the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line, the greatest Australian engineering feat of the 19th century.  Completed in 1872, this opened up communication with the world.  Many decades later, the Overland Telegraph was the means by which the rest of Australia heard about the bombing on Darwin by the Japanese in 1942.

 History of Camels in Australia

Once motorized transport replaced the need for Camels, they were released into the wild.

As their population has grown, Camels are often maligned as pests and culled despite being a very valuable resource. Australia’s wild Camels have the best disease-free genetics in the world – their milk, meat and hide are highly sought after.

At Summer Land Camels, most of our Camels were feral animals and have been brought in from the Australian Outback. We believe that the development of a Camel Dairy industry is essential for creating a commercial pathway that can save the Wild Camels from being culled.

To learn more about Camels, Camel Milk and the health benefits, a visit to our farm is definitely in order and we challenge anyone who is sceptical to come and see for themselves.

We know that once you have a cuddle with one of our friendly camels and enjoy a Camelcino or our award-winning gelato, you’ll be a convert too.

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1 comment

  • Camels were used in the Burke and Wills Expedition. Thomas Elder imported camels for the wool industry. Camels were the main means of transport ti open the heart of Australia. Cameleers operated the transport industry for outback towns. Camels carried the sleepers for the railway which led to the demise of camels as the main means of transport. Camels played a vital role in the infrastructure and development of Australia

    Janeth Deen

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