Australia’s first mosque was built in 1861 in an outback town called Marree which, at the time, was nicknamed “Little Asia.” During the late 19th century, Muslims from Afghanistan and Pakistan migrated to Australia to make money from their camels and were known as “cameleers.” Camels were in great demand as the animals were more efficient than horses, and helped construct Australia’s Overland Telegraph Line and inland railways.
As Vice News reports, “As for the mosques, the first two have since been lost to the desert, but a third stands today in the center of town, a replica of one of the originals. Not that the mosque has gone unused. About two years ago, two Muslim clerics rolled into to town…. and for the first time in a generation, Islamic prayer could be heard in Marree.”