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Revealed: The never heard story of Indian cameleers in Australia!

Monga Khan - a collage Source: Crystal Jordan

Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan say that "the early Indian cameleers were the real pioneering Bushmen of Australian outback."

According to Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan, Monga Khan (not Mango Khan) was an Indian Hawker and not a Cameleer in Victoria.

Len and Crystal believe that the “myth being built by Peter Drew about Monga Khan is untrue and exploits him.”

“Monga Khan was never a Cameleer or an Afghan but a British Muslim Indian from the Punjab near Ambala, India and came to Australia 1895,” says Len.

Monga Khan lived in Melbourne, Victoria and was an Indian Hawker in and around Ballarat district. Monga was planning to go back to India in 1916 but fell seriously ill and died in 1930 of Cerebral Thrombosis in the Ararat Hospital, Victoria, at the age of 68.

Len says, “In Victoria Hawkers travelled on foot, used a pack horse or a wagon with two or 4 horses or more. A few Camels were used but only in the North West Corner of Victoria near the New South Wales Border.”

Crystal shares a very interesting story of the first Australian Muslim woman cameleer.

This woman married not one but two Indian Muslim cameleers (not at the same time of course!), went to Haj on pilgrimage, worked as a Governess to the children of King and Queen of Afghanistan, and also reported as a journalist for Australian newspapers from India.

To know more about the true story of Monga Khan, the life of cameleers in Australia, and the first women cameleer, Amit Sarwal talks to Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan of the Australian Indian Historical Society Inc.