Muslim Journeys

Bejah Dervish
Bejah Dervish, who was honoured for his role in the 1896 Calvert expedition, in Marree, South Australia, c. 1947 (NAA: M914, SOUTH AUSTRALIA 3510)

By Hanifa Deen

From the Afghan camel drivers who helped open the continent's vast interior, to the Turkish families who answered a call for willing workers in the 1970s, Muslims have contributed much to Australian life. They journeyed to an unfamiliar land, bravely seeking opportunities in a culture inclined to view them with suspicion. Some, like the herbalist Mahomet Allum, found achievement and acclaim. Others, like the pearl diver Samsudin bin Katib, became embroiled in controversy. Many more simply made a home, building lives and communities. Their surprising stories of adventure and adversity can be explored through the rich collections of the National Archives.

Copyright National Archives of Australia 2017