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Cloncurry Afghan Cemetery

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Published September 30th 2019
The Afghan Cemetery in Cloncurry is located at section 6 of Cloncurry Cemetery on the northern side of town. You can enter the cemetery through Sir Hudson Fysh Drive, north of Alice Street. The graves, which date back from around late 1800 to the 1950s, tell us about early Afghan migrants and their cultural influence, especially around Cloncurry's areas.

Cloncurry is a quiet outback township located about 766 km west of Townsville. Cloncurry was Queensland's largest 'Ghan Town' in the late 1890s and early 1900s. Ghan Town was the Afghans camps that were established on the outskirts of railhead town (that now known as Cloncurry). It was estimated that there were more than 200 Afghan cameleers and 2000 camels providing transport in the Cloncurry District. The Afghans and their camels were brought to Australia to provide transport for explorers and settlers. Camels were very good to work around Australia, especially in places with arid inland, where conditions were too harsh for horses and bullocks.

The Afghan Cemetery Cloncurry is now the resting place for many Afghans, who lived and worked in Queensland as cameleers in those days. Although there are many graves, only the headstones of Cloncurry's Ghantown's mulla (priest) Syid Omar (he died on 14th July 1915) and Aboriginal woman, Nellie Edwards (1939) remain. Nellie Edwards may have been a cameleer's wife or a rare convert to Islam. Afghan graves are aligned north-south with the head in the north and the face of the interred turned towards Mecca, the Muslim holy city.

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Why? Learn about the Afghan cameleers around Cloncurry Queensland
When: Anytime
Where: Section 6 of Cloncurry Cemetery
Cost: Free
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