is a girl-about-town and general, adventurous, know-it-all.
Published January 11th 2012
There are certain types of animals you expect to see while travelling throughout Central Victoria. Cows, sheep and horses, yes. But camels? Not so often. Then again, one of the best things about a weekend road trip, is that you'll often find all sorts of surprises along the way.
The long-legged beauty shown here was spotted at a farm, just off the McIvor Highway, in the Greater City of Bendigo, where the suburb of Junortoun begins.
It's a Dromedary Camel (the ones with dual humps are called 'Bactrians') which, without a real farming purpose, is likely to be being kept as a pet. The camel may have spent its life giving tourist rides or working at carnivals and has now been retired out to a farm. Although, if you know its real story, please let us know via the comment section below.
Camels were first imported into Australia in the mid-eighteen hundreds to assist in the pioneer and settlement crossings of the Australian desert. It is now estimated that there are over one-million feral camels in the country, particularly in the Western parts. Australia has the largest population of wild camels in the world.
Camels have soft, padded feet, which means in farming areas like Bendigo, they are not quite as environmentally destructive as their hard-hooved counterparts. Also, they can assist in agricultural management by eating away the thorny sorts of bushes and weeds that other animals can't. Camels can live to around 40 years of age. They moult during spring to reveal a new, sleeker pelt of hair beneath.
There is also a magical camel that lives in the town of Patchewollock in north-west Victoria. I saw him once when I visited. I don't know the whole story, but apparently the camel once cured a young local boy of all his freckles.