Dervish Bejah

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Dervish Bejah (c.1862-1957), also known as Bejah Dervish, was an Australian camel driver who had a significant role in the exploration and development of inland Australia.

Life[edit]

Bejah was born in Baluchistan, then part of British India and since 1947 part of Pakistan. He served with British forces at Kandahar and Karachi under Lord Roberts where he attained the rank of sergeant. He moved to Australia in about 1890, arriving by sailing ship at the port of Fremantle.[1]

In 1896 Bejah was engaged by Lawrence Wells to manage the camels used for transport on the ill-fated Calvert Scientific Exploring Expedition to the Great Sandy Desert of north-central Western Australia. In 1902 he settled in Marree, South Australia, where he bought land and from where he operated his camel transport business. On 15 December 1909 he married Amelia Jane Shaw, a widow with whom he had a son, Abdul Jubbar (Jack). In 1930 he retired from camel driving to grow date palms. He was featured in the award-winning 1954 documentary film The Back of Beyond. On 6 May 1957 he died in the hospital at Port Augusta and was buried in the local cemetery.[1]

Bejah is commemorated by a plaque on the Jubilee 150 Walkway in Adelaide as someone who made a major contribution to the development of South Australia.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Hankel, Valmai A., 'Bejah, Dervish (1862–1957)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/bejah-dervish-5187/text8721, accessed 26 May 2012. This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 7, (MUP), 1979.