Sheiks, Fakes & Cameleers: Launch and Panel Conversation

Thu Apr 18 2024 at 06:30 pm to 08:30 pm UTC+08:00

State Library of Western Australia | Perth

State Library of Western Australia (SLWA)
Publisher/HostState Library of Western Australia (SLWA)
Sheiks, Fakes & Cameleers: Launch and Panel Conversation
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Unlock the forgotten history of cameleers in WA. Join us for the exhibition launch and panel conversation.
About this Event

150 years ago, camels and the men who cared for them were a familiar sight along the tracks connecting Australia's outback to its settler colonies along the coast. Their varied work involved haulage of mine and telegraph equipment, supporting expeditions and the building of infrastructure. Often referred to as 'the Afghan Cameleers', this incredibly diverse community, their stories and nationalities have at times been simplified into 'fake' stereotypes.

To coincide with the 120th anniversary of the first plans to build the Perth Mosque – a project the camel men spearheaded - the State Library of Western Australia will hold a panel conversation and exhibition reflecting on the often misunderstood history of the so-called camel men.

Hear from researchers, historians and the families of these entrepreneurs to learn what life was like for these innovative entrepreneurs and to reflect on the significant cultural and economic legacy they have created in Western Australia.


<h4>Panel Bios:</h4>

Hanifa Deen is an award -winning author and social commentator who writes narrative non-fiction. As an Australian of Pakistani-Muslim heritage, Ms Deen has held senior positions in government, navigating Australian multi-cultural policy and practice. Her grandfathers on both sides, arrived in Australia in the wake of the cameleers as small businessmen with big ideas, determined to make a name for themselves in a new land.

Professor Samina Yasmeen AM is an author and academic best known for her work on political and strategic developments in South Asia and the role of Islam in World Politics. She is Director of the Centre for Muslim States & Societies at the University of Western Australia and currently researching the life and times of Mohammed Bux, one of the original founders of the Perth Mosque.

Marleigh Zada is a proud Barkindji and Afghan woman. An Associate Lecturer at Curtin University’s Centre for Aboriginal Studies with a background in Anthropology, Sociology and Cultural Education, Marleigh developed a keen interest for researching the history of this continent now known as ‘Australia’, and how the emergence of the colonies and their laws impacted the lives and identities of her family, which can still be seen today.

Saad Khalid is a journalist and filmmaker who has travelled widely to document the stories of the Cameleers and their descendants. According to him, the story of the cameleers and their input into society is a ‘forgotten chapter’ of Australian history.

Tarun Preet Singh has extensively researched the stories of Punjabi Sikhs who came to Australia from the 1800s onwards in the wake of the camel trade. Working as farm labourers, hawkers, camel handlers, traders, and even wrestlers (!) the Australian Sikh history of Western Australia continues to be very much part of the multi-layered diaspora which call this part of Australia home.


<h4>Images:</h4>

· Camel team leaving Marble Bar for Nullagine, 1911 (013659PD)

· "Afghan procession, opening celebrations for the Coolgardie Railway Station, 1896"(090469PD)

· Studio portrait of Salaam Kaker, ca. 1914 (150980PD)

· "Asians and Afghans in Eucla with camels, 1900" (024594PD)

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Event Venue & Nearby Stays

State Library of Western Australia, 25 Francis Street, Perth, Australia

Tickets

AUD 0.00

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