Mosque Museum

Mosque Museum for page
Broken Hill’s Mosque Museum

Broken Hill’s Mosque Museum is a rare and very valued, heritage-listed site, and offers you an experience you shouldn’t miss.

Where we are

The Mosque Museum is at the corner of Williams and Buck Street, Broken Hill.

Where we are Mosque

When we’re open

The Mosque Museum is open Sundays from 2 pm to 4 pm, or by appointment with the Mosque Coordinator. You can contact the Coordinator, Bobby Shamroze, to make an appointment via:

  • Telephone                               08 8088 3187
  • Mobile                                     0400 184 260
  • Email                                       shamroze1@bigpond.com

Entry fee

This is a gold coin donation only.

Mosque history

The Mosque Museum preserves the first mosque to be built in New South Wales and is the only outback mosque remaining in Australia.

Very early North Camel Camp

An early photo of the mosque and camel camp. Photo 90_1_4512 from Outback Archives, Broken Hill City Library

The mosque was built in 1891, on a site known locally as the North Camel Camp, where Afghan and Indian camel drivers unloaded their camel teams. The site had been used for worship since 1887 by the early Afghan cameleers who were responsible for introducing Islamic beliefs and practices into New South Wales.

In the early days of Broken Hill, the term ‘Afghan’ was used to refer to people from what is now northern India and Pakistan, as well as Afghanistan. Broken Hill’s Afghan community also contributed money towards building a stone mosque in Adelaide. The Broken Hill and Adelaide mosques are the oldest surviving in Australia.

The critical role of the early Afghan community in the history of the Australian outback is partly preserved in the Mosque Museum. Afghan cameleers transported essential goods and materials throughout the interior of Australia and into Broken Hill. Camel teams carried heavy loads on wagons across the hot dry landscape until the 1920s when they were replaced by motor transport.

Mosque in the 1960s

The building itself is a simple wood and iron structure. It was abandoned and fell into disrepair after the death of the last mullah (religious leader).

It was then restored by the Broken Hill Historical Society and re-dedicated in 1968 as a place of worship as well as opening as a museum.

The Society continues to maintain the site, which contains a collection of artefacts related to the camel transport era and their owner’s religion.

Wooden trees used on camels

Parts of wooden framework (‘trees’) used on camels to support their load

The concrete channel near the entrance door was used for wudu (washing ritual) by the faithful before entering the mosque, as footwear must not be worn by anyone entering the mosque.

The mosque has two rooms, an ante-room and the prayer room. In the prayer room the mullah conducted the service as he stood in the alcove facing towards Mecca, with his back to the congregation. Each Muslim performed salat (ritual prayers) on prayer mats and recited passages from the Koran.

Bobby on Camel

Bobby Shamroze riding a camel during Broken Hill’s centenary year, 1983. Bobby’s son Randell is riding another camel in the background.

Some descendants of the early Afghan families are still living in Broken Hill. One is the current Coordinator of the Mosque Museum, Bobby Shamroze, who offers the experience of taking you on a personal tour of the mosque.

Bobby’s own history is closely associated with the cameleers. Bobby’s father was Shamroze Khan and his grandfather was Fazulla Ziadulla. Both were camel drivers in the Broken Hill area and Ziadulla was the last practising mullah of the mosque.

Bobby’s personal history combined with the range of artefacts and the Prayer Room give great insight into a really significant area of early outback life.

Further information

A good place to start for more detailed information about the Mosque Museum can be found at the Broken Hill City Council site, under Outback Museums.