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.
When we’re open
The Mosque Museum is open on a Friday from 11am to 1 pm.
It is also open by appointment with the Mosque Museum Coordinator for a visit at other times.
You can contact the Coordinator, Bobby Shamroze, in the following ways:
- Telephone 08 8088 3187
- Mobile 0400 184 260
- Email email@example.com
This is a gold coin donation only.
The Mosque Museum preserves the first mosque to be built in New South Wales and is the only outback mosque remaining in Australia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This wonderful series, three videos, developed with the support and funding of the Broken Hill City Council a year ago, is a superb introduction to the local history of the Outback cameleers, and the Mosque, now the Mosque Museum.
Part 1: The Cameleers – Australia’s Lost History
Part 2: the Conservation of the Broken Hill Mosque
Part 3: Bobby Shamroze: A Storied Life
Society member, former Secretary and Mosque Museum Assistant Gary Cook has been undertaking research on Australian Cameleers and the Mosque itself and has shared this with us.
Cook, Gary (2021) ‘Timeline of Australian Camels and Cameleers’ (revised 2022) (PDF).
In his research Gary has also found a delightful piece from the City Library Archives on how to guide visitors to the Mosque through its features and history. Written in 1973 by former historian and President of the Society, RHB Kearns.
Further information on the Mosque museum can be found at the Broken Hill City Council website under Outback Museums.