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the australian camel April 2, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — panthergirl @ 12:08 am
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When you think of Australia you probably don't think of camels. But we've got millions of the buggers. And I read in the paper today that they've taught themselves to turn on taps. There's a shire in the Northern Territory that want a grant to build boundaries around 14 communities because thirsty camels are turning on the taps.

The first camels came here in 1840. The first main group came in 1860 for the Bourke and Wills expedition. And if you know your history you'll know that was a bloody disaster. The expedition, not the camels.

So they were mainly used by explorers and as pack animals during construction of telegraph lines and dams and things and to take supplies to remote communities. Transport wool, that sort of thing.

We didn't keep importing them though, we bred our own. Tough ones, because the centre of Australia is a tough place. But then of course trucks and cars came along so most of the camels were just released. And now there are hundreds of thousands of them out there. Some say millions.

There are camel farms around. You can buy camel meat, camel oil, camel wool. I haven't tried any of them myself.

And its funny I was reading about them this morning because last night I found Papa's slides of the Kimberleys and there were some of camel trains.




Now I'm not sure if they're travelling with this man and his wife, but they were in the same box and it's a cool photo so I'll post it as well. All I can tell you is that he was a shearer here in the Kimberleys and this was how he travelled around.


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16 Responses to “the australian camel”

  1. fantastic info and photos!

  2. cat Says:

    Thanks, yes I love that last one.

  3. Emjay Says:

    I had camel steak as part of a mixed grill in Alice Springs. It was better than the crocodile!!

  4. cat Says:

    ha – mixed grill territory style. The only thing I've tried like that was years ago (before I gave up meat) and that was kangaroo. Kanga bangers. Awful things. Not much like Mums kangaroo tail stew at all. That wasn't much different to oxtail that I can remember. The worst thing were those wild ducks papa used to shoot that always had bits of pellet in them.

  5. LeendaDLL Says:

    I hadn't a clue about camels in AU!!SoCal's Catalina Island ("26 miles across the sea" – but the BeachBoys lied, it's actually 22) has bison (a midwest state animal). The were imported in the 20s for movie shoots and just left there. After inbreeding started causing health problems, the Island did some kind of partnering with the state of… South Dakota.. to some bison in/out every year to keep the herd diverse. Here's an article.

  6. cat Says:

    Another thing for you to do when you come here – go on a camel safari.
    That was nice – that they took them back. I thought I was going to go and read that they'd shot them. Thats what we'd do here, get some guys in helicopters with guns and cull them!

  7. I had no idea! hahah! Turning on taps? Hahah! That just tickles me. I can picture it!

  8. Red Pen Says:

    I would truly never have thought of camels in Australia. Enlightening!

  9. cat Says:

    see, you really do learn something new every day

  10. Aubrey Says:

    They do that to the deer population. Once, when Boyfriend and I were taking the Catalina Express over to the island, we saw a group of men with what could only be described as rifle boxes. I wanted to punch each one in the kidneys as they walked by, but Boyfriend was having none of it.

  11. LeendaDLL Says:

    Boyfriend is a party pooper!

  12. cat Says:

    Awful. They did it here to to the wild horses – that run in the Kimberleys as well, a couple of years ago. Army snipers shot about a thousand brumbies. There was a big uproar about it.

  13. paikea Says:

    no, i have not heard about camels in Australia – you learn something every day – makes perfect sense, though – camels would be well suited to a large part of Oz

  14. cat Says:

    Mind you I've never seen one. They're just sort of out there in the middle of nowhere. Breeding. And turning on taps.

  15. Hehehehehe!!!! That made me giggle out loud!

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