Centenarian John ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson has had an astonishing life as a cameleer, farmer and WWII soldier. He even spent time with RM Williams himself.

Story Martin Auldist  Photo Andrew Harper

John ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson’s final trip as a cameleer was in 2018, when he made a 10-day trip into the western Simpson Desert. It brought the curtain down on an incredible 30-year association with camels and cameleering. “I had to retire from cameleering, because I could no longer walk as fast as the camels,” Wilko says. That’s understandable when you realise that Wilko was 97 at the time, and celebrated his 100th birthday this year. 

“Wilko is the last of his generation,” says Andrew Harper. “His life story is hugely interesting. I doubt there would be many like him left.” 

This story excerpt is from Issue #137

Outback Magazine: June/July 2021