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Background Story & Research

I loved explorer stories when I was in primary school. I liked exploring on our property in Central Queensland too when I was young. 

I also like camels. In the UAE camels lived next door and often poked their heads over the fence. I did research at the Kapunda Camel Farm years ago. Now there is a camel farm at Tarlee.

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Members of the 1875 expedition

Mr Ernest Giles, Leader

Mr William Tietkens, Officer, Second in command

Jess Young, Officer

Alec Ross, son of explorer John Ross

Peter Nicholls, Cook

Saleh Mahomed, Camel Driver

Tommy Oldham

(Taj Saleh)


All of these people were on the expedition except Taj who is a fictitious character. He tells his own story but also tells the story of the expedition as well. I gleaned what the characters may have been like from the journals of Ernest Giles: Australia Twice Traversed and also from papers the other men wrote for Geographical Societies or newspapers.


Click to view a photograph of the members of the expedition housed in the SA State library

A Story for Tommy Oldham

Tommy Oldham didn't tell any stories around the campfire for he wasn't initiated into his people's culture. Tommy was a Wirangu boy. Here is a link to a Wirangu story from near Ceduna on the west coast of South Australia as told by M. Miller and W.J. Miller.

It is called We Came from the Land and teaches how areas around the Flinders Ranges were created.

Also on this site is information about Indigenous beliefs, Dreaming and the individual, Dreaming and the land, and other Dreaming stories.

             Click the button and scroll down to find the story We came from the Land.

History to Fiction

This paper discusses: the research behind Taj and the Great Camel Trek, turning history into fiction, the writing process, and activities to use with the book in the classroom. A short role play for the character Taj is included. 

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