A relic from the 19th century cameleer era, the Broken Hill house of prayer is over 140 years old.
Story Joanne Karcz Photos Otis Filley
One of the 2 oldest surviving mosques in Australia stands on the northern outskirts of Broken Hill in far western NSW. The small, rust-red, corrugated iron building, surrounded by stumpy palm trees, is all that’s left of the camel camp that stood there in the 1880s.
Ammin Nullah Shamroze, known as Bobby, is the caretaker. As one of the direct descendants of the Broken Hill cameleers, he will happily drop everything to open up the mosque for visitors, armed with a yellow plastic folder of old family photographs.
The Broken Hill mosque was a place where cameleers rested, caught up with fellow countrymen, restocked and prayed before setting off with their camel trains to deliver essential supplies to faraway stations. They arrived in Australia by boat from “all over India, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan,” Bobby says.
This story excerpt is from Issue #151
Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2023