Newborn camel named after descendant of Afghan cameleer and the owners are thrilled with the choice

Silverton Outback Camels’ newest calf has been named Nullah in honour of the Afghan cameleers who delivered food, mail and supplies across Australia from the late 1800s.

To celebrate their first baby camel, Broken Hill newspaper the Barrier Truth put out a call for the community to name him.

Of all the names that went into the hat, the owners felt “lucky” the Afghan name Nullah was drawn.

“It was a perfect name, we love it, it has a lot of meaning,” Silverton Outback Camels owner Petah Devine said.

“It’s just easy, Silverton and Broken Hill are renowned for having camels out here, and there’s such a big history of it. So, to have a local family come up with a name is just perfect,” she said.

“We had a few Donald Humps; thankfully they weren’t chosen.”

The origin of Nullah
The baby camel was named after 82-year-old Ammin Nullah Shamroze, who is known around Broken Hill by his English name “Bobby”.

Mr Shamroze is a direct descendant of an Afghan cameleer, and he is the caretaker of the old mosque in Broken Hill.

Bobby was pleased to discover it was his wife Janet Shamroze who suggested his name.

“I was delighted really, it’s good they named a camel after the Afghans … And she wanted to name the camel after me,” Mr Shamroze said.

Ammin Nullah himself is supposedly named after king Amanullah Khan, a former ruler of Afghanistan from 1919 to 1929, who helped lead the country to full independence from British influence.

Mr Shamroze said the cameleers had been here a long time and were part of building Australia together.

Further recognition of Afghan Cameleers
For over 50 years — between the 1860s and 1930s — the cameleers were involved in transporting goods and materials across the country.

“It’s got to be recognised for all the good work they’ve done to open up this country around here and all over the place … Camels travelled for miles and miles,” he said.

Mr Shamroze’s father was a camel dealer but was also known to do a “bit of everything”.

“He was a camel guy, he’d done a bit of driving, and walking [too],” he said.

The Broken Hill Afghan Mosque is believed to be one of the oldest surviving mosques in Australia, built in 1887 by the cameleers, and was part of introducing Islamic beliefs to the region.

Mr Shamroze said there should be more recognition of the Afghan cameleers in Broken Hill.

“There’s still a little bit more that can be done, like the upkeep of the mosque,” he said.

But he also is calling for a monument at the mosque or the Broken Hill entrance to demonstrate the history of the cameleers.

“They can make him even stand here in the yard, a camel with an old Afghan hanging onto him,” he said.

Mr Shamroze thought the design would be beyond him, but he would be happy to see it happen.

“Wouldn’t be so hard to do with someone with a bit of brains, I wouldn’t be able to do it, but there’s architects that’d be able to do it.”

A tourism drawcard
Ms Devine said it was camel birthing season during September and October, with two other camels due any day.

She said the baby camel had been a “big draw card” for tourists and was a rare treat.

“It was pretty good viewing for some of our tourists that were riding a camel and saw the baby being born on the day,” Ms Devine said.

“It worked out perfect for us during the school holidays.”

For her part, Ms Shamroze was keen to meet her husband’s namesake with her family.

“Well, I hope he’s as nice a camel as a person my husband is,” she said.