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Summer Land Camels

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by Susan J Bowes (subscribe)
Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published August 9th 2018
The Most Amazing Benefits of Camel Milk
The camel is an important part of Australia's history. They were used in Australia for the First World War, carrying soldiers and supplies long distances. They were also an inaugural part of building Australia's telegraphic lines and Central Australian railway lines. A camel caravan can consist of 120 camels each with the capacity of carrying 600kg.

I first became aware of Summer Land Camels while visiting Market Organics, in Rocklea, for a cheese tasting event. After talking to the demonstrator, I knew a visit to the farm was definitely on the cards. Summerland Camels is only 45 minutes from Brisbane, just outside the small town of Harrisville, off the Cunningham Highway. There is plenty of off-street parking on the farm.

Animals & Wildlife, Health & Beauty, Harrisville, Scenic Rim, Unusual Things to Do, Near Brisbane, Shopping, Day Escapes, Tours
Camels at Summer Land Camels, Harrisville (Author's Photo)

Sixteen years ago, good friends and now business partners, Jeff Flood and Paul Martin, made the decision to farm camel milk. At that time, no one was milking camels and there were no camel dairies. However, Summer Land is now the third largest dairy in the world. Jeff has a background in Biochemistry, Physiology diagnostics with a particular expertise in the innate immune system, gut and organ health, Nuclear Medicine, Physiotherapy and Masters' Degree in Sports Science and Paul's background is Agricultural Science at Gatton, with 27-years' experience in owning and managing cattle and grain and is an innovator with early implementation of regenerative grazing techniques. Together, they make a formidable team in research, farming, business and diversity that Summer Land Camels offers.

Jeff's interest in the use of camel milk came when presented with four complicated cases with overlapping immune disorders. Through research, he found that camel milk has aided in the care of disorders and ailments such as Autism, Asperses, Crohn's Disease, Eczema, Asthma, Allergies, Dairy Intolerance, Brain Disorders, Depression, Sleep Disorders, IBS, Diabetics and Skin Acne. It is believed that the bacteria in camel's milk is a "good" bacteria and therefore is one of the main factors in the realigning and repairing the gut and immune system.

Animals & Wildlife, Health & Beauty, Harrisville, Scenic Rim, Unusual Things to Do, Near Brisbane, Shopping, Day Escapes, Tours
Camel Dairy at Summer Land Camels, Harrisville (Author's Photo)

Many farmers believe camels are a pest and have had them shot, so today you will find only approximately 350,000 camels left in Australia - although Australia has also the largest feral camel population in the world. Camels provide a $3.2B service each year to the cattle and sheep industry. During the winter the grass liquidises or turns brown and the cattle and sheep lose weight. If you put camels in the same paddock, the bacteria and fungi from the camel's belly transfers to the cattle and sheep through the water troughs and when the cattle and sheep eat the bio-mass, they get fat.

With large flat feet, they are excellent in the snow as their two front toes grab the ice as they run. They have big callouses on their chests, knees and elbows, which provide padding when sitting down. Behind the callouses is a big layer of fat, which insulates the body heat from the cold. Their strong bodies can push down any fence, so the camel is not a pet for the backyard unless you have strong fences and a few acres.

Animals & Wildlife, Health & Beauty, Harrisville, Scenic Rim, Unusual Things to Do, Near Brisbane, Shopping, Day Escapes, Tours
Beautiful Animals - Mother & Calf (Author's Photo)

Management at Summer Land Camels made the decision that if they were to kill the animals for meat and other products, then they wanted to use all the camel to produce full cycle sustainable living. Grinding up the blood and bones into a paste and then putting through a dehydrating phase of less than 40 Deg C, the product can be used as a dog treat and in the aid of curing of mange, hot spots.

While visiting the farm, you have the opportunity of going for a camel ride or taking one of the tours offered. The homestead is set on a hill and while enjoying lunch or morning tea you can relax back and enjoy the view of the mountains across the Scenic Rim.

Animals & Wildlife, Health & Beauty, Harrisville, Scenic Rim, Unusual Things to Do, Near Brisbane, Shopping, Day Escapes, Tours
Enjoy Morning Tea or Lunch at The Cafe (Author's Photo)

Tours offered are

"Camel Farm Tour" (approx. 60 minutes) will cost $22.00 per person. A Cameleers guide will give you a behind the scenes tour of their daily operation, cheese, gelato and skincare production facilities. If you are fortunate to have Jeff be your guide, you will receive a walking encyclopedia of amazing knowledge.

"Deluxe Camel Farm Tour" (approx. 70 minutes) will cost $90.00 per person. You can join the Cameleers for a hands-on experience and learn how the astounding products are created.

Animals & Wildlife, Health & Beauty, Harrisville, Scenic Rim, Unusual Things to Do, Near Brisbane, Shopping, Day Escapes, Tours
Camel Skincare Range (Author's Photo)

"Become a Scientist" - Duration is approximately 50 minutes where you can work alongside the camel milk production team analysing, tasting, touching and smelling the products before they are released to the market. This tour will cost $190 per person.

For a two-dollar coin, you can purchase a bag of grass to feed the camels. The camels can be persistent and strong if they want the food and as my friend and I found out, they were very determined to take the feed and the bag out of our hands. One greedy cow kept pushing the others out of the way, so she could get more.

Animals & Wildlife, Health & Beauty, Harrisville, Scenic Rim, Unusual Things to Do, Near Brisbane, Shopping, Day Escapes, Tours
Feeding Hungry Cow's at Summer Land Camels, Harrisville (Author's Photo)

The Summer Land Farm procures its herd from the feral population of Australia. Because these animals are from the wild, Jeff & Paul's use of non-intrusive, low stress and horse whispering techniques enables them to train a wild Dromedary camel into a domesticated farm animal in 6 to 8 weeks. A Camelus Dromedarius or Dromedary camel is a camel with one hump. All camels need to be trained to stay within the fence boundary as they can easily work out how to unwrap a chain from the gate or even kick a wire fence down with their feet.

If you are interested in eating different types of meat, Summer Land Camels stock a wide range of camel products. The meat is stringier than beef cattle, however, as Jeff says, once you taste one of their steaks, you will never go back to beef. Other products for sale are pasteurised milk, cheese, gelato, a fantastic skin product range and hand-made soap. The farm is currently working on the production of yoghurt.

The entire day was much more than I expected and something I am still talking about to others. I am definitely sold on the camel!
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Why? Learn About The Benefits of Camel Milk
When: Monday-Friday & Sundays, Saturdays closed
Phone: 07 5467 1701
Where: 8 Charles Chauvel Road, Harrisville Qld
Cost: Free Entry, Rides & Tours Extra
Your Comment
Interesting article.
by Irenke Forsyth (score: 3|2162) 730 days ago
Fascinating. I can feel a little trip coming up. Did you ride a camel Susan?
by May Cross (score: 3|6962) 730 days ago
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