The Australian High Commission in collaboration with the Melbourne-based Islamic Museum of Australia will be unearthing Australia’s rich Islamic history through a photographic exhibition set to open Monday.
The free exhibition, entitled “Boundless Plains: The Australian Muslim Connection” will open on January 28 and run until February 3 at the Mabohai Shopping Complex.
With more than 600,000 Muslims calling Australia home, Muslim Australians make up an important part of the country’s diverse social fabric — from politicians and sporting starts to media personalities, the high commission said in a statement.
The exhibition will tell stories of how Islam first came to the coastal shores of Australia, stretching back to the early 1700s when Muslim fishermen from Makasar, Indonesia made annual visits to the country.
Their visits were recorded through rock-art that are still visible until today, and the most prominent aspects to their visits were to the northern shores of Australia where the fishermen traded and interacted with the country’s indigenous population.
Even now, Islamic references can be found used in ceremonies of some Indigenous communities.
The Muslim connection did not end there — from 1870, five decades of South Asian cameleers landing at ports around Australia helped connect remote communities as they explored Australia’s arid and desolate outback.
With 20,000 camels, it was these 4,000 cameleers who built Australia’s first mosque in 1861 in the small town of Marree, South Australia.
From Malay pearl divers to Albanian farmers and Turkish migrants after World War II, successive waves of migration from Muslim countries has ensured that the Islamic faith continued to flourish in Australia.