Camel teams became a common sight, when up to 70 camels with 4
Afghans could be seen travelling the desert outback. Camels were
used in the construction of the Overland Telegraph Line, carried
pipe sections for the Goldfields Water Supply, the supply of goods
to inland towns, mining camps, sheep and cattle stations and
Aboriginal Communities. They were used to haul wool, as well as in
the construction of dams and plough work on farms, although they
were mainly used in the arid parts of Australia.
With the introduction of motorised transport in the 1920's, the
days of working camels were numbered. Camels were released into
the wild, and quickly established themselves in an environment that
suited them to the ground. Visitors today can often seen camels roaming
throughout Central Australia in numbers that are said to exceed 500,000. Such is
the number that they are often culled.
As well as a mode of transport and beast of burden, camels have been used for
milk and meat. It was in 1988 at the Wamboden Abattoir in Alice Springs that
camels were slaughtered for human consumption. This has since ceased, although
an abattoir at Peterborough in South Australia now processes camels for the
domestic and export consumption3.
Camel wool (down) is used in many countries with camels, being spun
into yarn for knitting.