The history of the camel in Australia dates back to last century when they were imported into the country for use in the semi-desert of the outback.
The history of the camel in Australia dates back to last century when they were imported into the country for use in the semi-desert of the outback. At the end of the nineteenth century they were bred commercially at Mount Serle in South Australia's Finders Ranges.
SYNOPSIS: Rex Ellis realised the potential of the animals and is using them to take tourists on outback safaris. Appropriately, he chose Mount Serle as the starting point for Australia's first camel trek. A party of five tourists, for of them women, each paid about 500 Australian dollars (GBP 340 sterling) for a 240 kilometre (144 mile) safari to lake Eyre.
After a final check Rex Ellis leads his party off. Eight camels were used on the trip .. four to carry the riders and the others to carry the necessary supplies. The camels were to follow the bed of the dried-up From Greek all the way to Lake Eyre. It was a demanding, but scenic route.
The camels were trained for this task by professional horse breaker, Barry Elliot. He'd had no experience with the animals before, but in three months he'd successfully trained the team.
The safari wasn't meant to be easy. It was strictly outback living. There were no tents, and everyone slept under the stars. Cooking was done by campfire. But newsmen covering this first camel safari travelled more comfortably in a four-wheel-drive vehicle and a van.
Campsites were chosen carefully each night, usually near a waterhole and where there was good feed for the camels. Once unloaded, the camels were hobbled and turned loose for the night. Bells were tied around their necks so they could be located the next morning.
After several days in the saddle, the travellers were feeling a little stiff. The going was sometimes very slow and after six days the safari had fallen well behind schedule. The trek finished with the tourists being taken the final distance to Lake Eyre by car.