Professional persons

Marcus Williams, our camel man and owner/operator, has worked with camels for almost 40 years and caught most of our herd in the Simpson Desert as wild camels. 

Want to learn more? Listen to Marcus’ life story  in a radio interviews by Joy Taylor of 8CCC from 2013.

Part 1 https://8ccc.com.au/news/camels-teachers-and-pearls-part-1/

Part 2: https://8ccc.com.au/news/camels-teachers-and-pearls-marcus-williams-story-part-2/

The late Abdull Latif Casley (Caz) who taught Marcus to be a cameleer. Learn about Caz’ journey with camels in the Centre and as the first camel tour operator in Broome.

Cultural authorities

Eric Sultan, Amelia Turner and Dennis Orr are the local cultural authorities we regularly consult in relation to, respectively, Afghan cameleer heritage, Arrernte living culture and language, and Arrernte camel husbandry.

  • Eric Sultan is a descendant of one of the early cameleers. His grandfather, Sultan Mohammed, arrived in Australia from Kandahar, Afghanistan in the late 1800s and worked on transporting goods all across the continent; from South Australia across to Western Australia, and north into the Northern Territory and Queensland. Eric Sultan received the Charles See Kee NT multicultural award in 2006 for promoting the Islamic faith and raising awareness of the multicultural heritage of central Australia. Mr Sultan, with Marcus Williams at his side, led a re-enactment of the camel mail run from Oodnadatta to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station.
    In 2013 Eric Sultan played a significant role in the production of the documentary video Afghan Cameleer Australia.
  • Amelia Kngwarreye Turner is a traditional owner of specific areas of Mparntwe Alice Springs, and particularly for the White Gums area in which Pyndan Camel Tracks business is located and where our camel tours go. Amelia and her family have led art and culture workshops at Pyndan Camel Tracks, and often come out to visit. Amelia’s mother MK Turner, OAM, is the author of Iwenhe Tyerrtye: What it means to be an Aboriginal Person. (IAD Press 2010). An incredibly generous woman, MK passed away in July 2023.. Amelia Turner is a founder of Akeyulerre, the Arrernte Healing Place. Pyndan Camel Tracks has consulted Akeyulerre, and also consulted Amelia individually, and about appropriate ways to describe Arrernte culture and heritage.
  • Dennis Orr is an Arrernte man whose family are traditional custodians for the Rainbow Valley and Walkabout Bore area south of Alice Springs. Dennis and Marcus have had a long professional  association and friendship. Dennis and his family have captured wild camels from the Simpson Desert and sold them on to Marcus who has trained them for camel tours (example: Cookie). Dennis is always happy to help Pyndan Camel Tracks with advice and practical support. In return, we have cared for several of Dennis’ camels (most recently, Starlight).

Reference books 

  • Brooks, David 1991: The Arrernte Landscape of Alice Springs
  • Turner, MK 2010: Iwenhe Tyerrtye: What it means to be an Aboriginal Person. Alice Springs, IAD Press.
  • Lea, Tess 2020. Wild Policy: Indigeneity and the Unruly Logic of Intervention. Standford University Press. 
  • Wells, Linda 2011: Still a Town Like Alice. Alice Springs Town Council
  • King, Peter and O’Neill, Garry 2000. Wildlife Identikit: Common animals of Central & Arid Australia. NT Parks and Wildlife
  • Gambold, Nick and Metters, Deborah 2003. Reptiles and Frogs of Alice Springs. Land for Wildlife. 
  • Urban, Anne, Wildflowers and Plants of Central Australia. Portside Editions. 
  • Latz, Peter 1995: Bushfires and Bushtucker. IAD Press 
  • Kohler-Rollefson Ilse, Mundy Paul and Mathias Evelyn 2000, A Field Manual of Camel Diseases, Practical Action Publishing. 
  • Jones, Philip Jones and Kenny, Anna, 2010: Australia’s Muslim Cameleers: Pioneers of the Inland, 1860s- 1930s. Adelaide, Wakefield Press. 
  • Cigler, Michael 1986: The Afghans in Australia. Melbourne, AE press
  • Stevens, Christine 2002: The Mosques and Ghantowns: a history of Afghan Camel Drivers in Australia. Alice Springs, Paul Fitzsimons.
  • McKnight, Tom 1969: The Camel in Australia, Melbourne University Press.
  • Barker, HM 1964: Camels and the Outback. Melbourne, Pitman

Online resources

Scholarly oral history

First Nations

Indigenous ecological knowledge 

Natural Environment



The Simpson Desert http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simpson_Desert

Pyndan Camel Tracks