Outback MagazineOutback Magazine


Camel carnival
A new growth industry finds its legs

Story: Suzy Young
Photos: James McEwan

ImageDespite their tendency to spit on people for no apparent reason and to suddenly stop dead in the middle of a race, then wander off exploring the nearby bush, feral camels of the Australian outback are enjoying new-found stardom as prized racing animals.

In fact, organisers of the Boulia Desert Sands 2000 Camel Races, in far west Queensland, are touting camels as a new growth industry in Australia.

Boulia has just held its second annual racing carnival and those who attended pronounced it a howling success.

With prizes of more than $20,000, the event attracted camel enthusiasts, locals and travellers with a sense of adventure to this tiny town near the edge of the Simpson Desert for three days of racing, including sprints of 300-400 metres and a major race of 2000 metres.

This would be a sprint in the Middle East, where camel racing and betting is a multi-million dollar industry and a distance race can be as long as 10 kilometres.

But until Australians take the sport more seriously the main attraction of the races probably will continue to be the non-stop party that rages in Boulia for the duration of the carnival. Story end

Full story issue 1, October-November, 1998

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