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Published June 13th 2012
The Adelaide City Mosque, sometimes called the Afghan Mosque after its founding members lies in a quiet part of the South West corner of the city.
This striking building was constructed in 1888, and was the first mosque in any Australian capital city. It has four towering minarets which were added in 1903, and was built at a cost of 150 pounds by local cameleers with some help from Islamic sponsors in Melbourne according to a newspaper report at the time. The cameleers first arrived in Australia in the 1860's to provide transport in the desert regions of Central Australia.
An article in the The Mail newspaper in April 1930 headlined "Mohammedan Mosque Brings the East to the West" says in part:
The war made a great difference to the Adelaide mosque, for at that time public feeling ran so high against foreigners that the building was closed for some years. When it was reopened the worshippers had drifted their various ways, until there were but four left. These still remain true to their faith, abiding in the mosque and worshipping at the times set down by their faith.
Nearly all of these are old men, greybeards, whose tired old eyes have looked long on life. And the day cannot be far off when they will be gathered to that Mecca they so devoutly seek, and another quaint building will be left alone with its ghosts, its memories, and tbe sighing breezes that float through the deserted courtyard like murmured prayers of other days.
Despite those dire predictions the Adelaide mosque has survived and thrived, and young people again pass through its doors.
The old greybeards are long dead, and buried in the West Terrace Cemetery. But don't forget the stories of those hard working early Islamic immigrants, worshipping here in this exotic place far from their original homes