The Afghan Cameleers of the outback postal numismatic cover features a pictorial envelope with an image of Afghan handlers and their camels in the postage paid area and a coin from the Royal Australian Mint. The envelope is postmarked - First day of issue | 5 May 2020 | Marree SA 5733
PNC Issue: 2020 Issue 06, limited to 6,500
- Issue date: 2020
- Mint: Royal Australian Mint
- Metal: CuNi
- Denomination: 50c
- Weight: 15.55g
- Diameter: 31.51mm
- Finish: Uncirculated
- Designer: L Ashe
From the mid-19th to the early 20th century, thousands of Muslim immigrants from Afghanistan, India and modern-day Pakistan were brought to Australia to tend the camel trains that helped open up the country’s vast arid interior. On 9 June 1860, 24 camels and three cameleers arrived at Port Melbourne to join the pioneering Burke and Wills expedition. By 1901 there were an estimated 2,000 to 4,000 cameleers, generally known as “Afghans”, in the county. The camel trains accompanied exploratory expeditions and were vital in almost every major inland development project. They hauled poles, wire and boulders for the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line and carried sleepers and supplies to the men building the desert railways. The first mosque in Australia was built in Marree, South Australia, probably in the 1860s, and Australia’s oldest permanent mosque, in Adelaide, was established in the 1880s by the Afghan cameleer community. Today, the many descendants of the original Afghan cameleers take great pride in their resourceful pioneering forebears.
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