The mosque is very important in the Muslim community. It’s a holy place where Muslims pray in congregation, learn to read the Quran, attend the Islamic talk and participate in the social welfare. The mosque basically plays a huge role as the center of the community and has a special place in the heart of Muslims.
The same goes to one of the earliest mosques in Australia. Can you guess where? Believe it or not, the first mosque that was built in Australia is said to be at Marree. Have you actually heard of Marree? It is a very small town located in the North part of Southern Australia. Although it is known to be one of the most attractive outback towns in Australia, the population is really small.
Image from: Rita’s Outback Guide
Why is this mosque so special anyway? Marree Mosque is unique because unlike any mosques in Australia, it has a very simple yet intriguing design. Apart from that, the mosque was built by camel breeders from Afghanistan, led by a man named Abdul Kadir. He was the owner of the camel breeding and carrying business.
Image from: MVSLIM
Prior to the establishment of the town in 1883, Marree, was actually called as Hergott Springs until 1916. A camp was built there to accommodate the workers on the Overland Telegraph Line in the 1870s. Upon the reach of Ghan Railway in 1884, the settlement developed rapidly making up the population number up to 600. The railway workers mainly contribute the numbers.
Image from:Rita’s Outback Guide
Through the railways, the train from stations to settlements further transported cattle and camels to the northern part of Australia. It is during that time that the cameleers from Afghan came. A large group of cameleers from Afghan believed to originate from British India, settled in their town called “the Ghantown”, making them among the pioneers who developed the inland.
When they came there, the Afghan Muslim community built three mosques. One interesting fact about these historical mosques is that they were built by camel breeders, which was one of the main occupations at that time. Out of the three mosques, only one remains until today. The two other were left forsaken and got lost to the nature of the desert. The third mosque is said to be a replica of the first one that was built.
Image from: Beautiful mosque
Yes, Marree is a small town, which used to accommodate 600 people. But after the relocation of the Ghan line 200 km to the west in 1980, the population dropped significantly to approximately 100. Although the town pretty much looks empty, the mosque is not left unused. It was mentioned by the local pub owner, that there was a time when two Muslim clerics came and visited the mosque. They wanted to witness themselves, the point of entry of Islam in Australia. During their visit, the Marree town once again heard the familiar and harmonious call that was not heard for a long time, the Adhan.
Originally published by: MVSLIM