In the 19th and early 20th century Broken Hill was home to a community of Afghans. Afghans worked as camel drivers in parts of outback Australia, and they made a significant contribution to economic growth when transport options were limited. The camel drivers formed the first sizeable Muslim communities in Australia, and in Broken Hill they left their mark in the form of the first mosque in New South Wales (1891), however it was not the first mosque in Australia #.
Broken Hill's Afghan Mosque is located in Williams Street and is recognised as Australia's first mosque #. It was built in 1891 by a small group of Muslim camel drivers from Afghanistan and India on the site of a former camel camp. It appears that the site was used for worship from 1887. Importation of camels had commenced in 1840 and the first Afghan camel driver, Dost Mahomet, accompanied Burke and Wills in 1860. The Broken Hill Mosque has historical significance as the first mosque built in New South Wales and the only surviving mosque built by cameleers in Australia #, however this statement also appears to be not entirely correct.
There were two Afghan camps in Broken Hill, west and north of the town, and each had their own mosque. It is the main north camp mosque which survives today as the Broken Hill Mosque (above right).
Tours of the Mosque can be taken between 2 pm and 4 pm on Sundays when the Caretaker is in attendance, or by arrangement at other times. Gold coin fee.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
# The first mosque built in Australia was built in 1861 at Marree, South Australia, and a replica constructed in 2003 now stands
at the site of the original mosque.
# The Great Mosque of Adelaide was built in 1888-89 by the descendants of the Afghan cameleers. The Adelaide Mosque is the oldest surviving mosque in Australia, and the first to be built in an Australian city. The minarets were added to the building in 1903.
Hadji Mullah worked with camel teams carrying materials and supplies for the Overland Telegraph Line, completed in 1872. This suggests that he was one of the first of the cameleers to arrive in South Australia from 1865. Retiring to Adelaide, Hadji Mullah wanted a place where cameleers and traders could practice their Islamic faith. Abdul Wade from the Quetta district of Afghanistan became the trustee and builder of the mosque. He was a merchant and cameleer in the area of Bourke in outback New South Wales.
Falling into disrepair, the Adelaide Mosque was restored during the 1950s and is still in use for worship, almost 130 years from its first construction.
Sources: Broken Hill Heritage City
A bronze statue of a World War I Australian soldier in battle-worn uniform, about to throw a Mills bomb, is the centre piece of the monument and is referred to as 'The Bomber', by artist Charles Web Gilbert.
It stands on a cairn of rough cut Harcourt granite and this rests on a platform of three surrounding steps. There are four bronze tablets with the names of 365 fallen from the district.
The memorial is at the corner of Argent street and Sulphide street.