Exhibition on Australia’s rich Islamic history to be held next week

THE Australian High Commission is partnering with the Islamic Museum of Australia, based in Melbourne, to showcase a photographic exhibition that unearths Australia’s rich Islamic history, according to a press release.

The free exhibition titled ‘Boundless Plains: The Australian Muslim Connection’ will be open to the public from January 28 to February 3 at the Mabohai Shopping Complex.

Through a series of captivating photographs, the exhibition takes viewers on a journey through time stretching back to the early 1700s when Muslim fishermen from Makassar in Indonesia made annual visits to Australia.

Using the monsoonal winds, the fishermen sailed to Australia’s northern shores and traded and interacted with Australia’s indigenous population. Their visits were recorded through rock-art still visible today, and, even now, Islamic references are used at the ceremonies of some Indigenous communities.

Australia’s Muslim connection continued with 20,000 camels and up to 4,000 cameleers from South Asia landing at ports around Australia between 1870 and 1920. Long before the advent of modern roads and motor vehicles, it was Muslim cameleers who were key to exploring Australia’s arid and desolate outback and connecting remote communities.

It was these cameleers who built Australia’s first mosque in the small town of Marree in South Australia in 1861.

From Malay pearl divers, to Albanian farmers, and Turkish migrants after World War II, successive waves of migration from Muslim countries have meant that the Islamic faith has continued to flourish in Australia.

Today, more than 600,000 Muslims call Australia home and Islam is one of the country’s fastest growing religions. From politicians, to sporting stars and media personalities – Muslim Australians are an important part of Australia’s diverse social fabric.

Silhouettes of the great ‘Ships of the Desert’. Muslim cameleers helped explore outback Australia and connect remote communities. – AUSTRALIAN HIGH COMMISSION