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Camels left in Royal Park.
When the Victorian Exploring Expedition departed Melbourne they left six camels behind in Royal Park; two females and their calves, one young bull and Landell's pet camel.

The camels stayed in Royal Park under the supervision of Mr Smith and park ranger, Joseph Scott. Four sepoys remained at Royal Park as well and they cared for the animals until they sailed for Kolkata on the 15 September 1860.

In early August 1861 two of the camels were shipped to Adelaide for use on the South Australian Burke Relief Expedition under John McKinlay. leaving four camels at Royal Park. These four camels were transferred to the custody of the Botanical and Zoological Department and the Acclimatization Society of Victoria.

When Howitt and the Victorian Exploring Party departed Menindee for Cooper Creek in January 1862, they left five camels behind. These were taken to Melbourne by H M Sampson, giving a total of nine camels in Royal Park.

Camels moved to the Wimmera.
The nine camels suffered from the damp conditions during the Melbourne winter and developed scab. They also churned up the ground in Royal Park and on 8 July 1862, Charles Wilson, member of the Royal Society of Victoria and also the Acclimatization Society of Victoria offered to place the camels at his property, Longerenong in the Wimmera. Charles and his two brothers, John and Samuel owned Longerenong, which was 226,000 acres (91,500 hectares) and Samuel built the homestead in 1862. The Acclimatisation Society proposed the move to the drier conditions of western Victoria and the Exploration Committee approved the move.

On 11 September 1862 the nine camels were moved from Royal Park to Longerenong and the move was reported in the Argus.

On 30 September 1862 Charles Wilson offered to take the other camels that were currently with Howitt at Cooper Creek. The Exploration Committee instructed Howitt to take the camels to Samuel Wilson's paddock at the Wimmera and on 4 October the Exploration Committee wrote to Samuel informing him of the camels impending arrival. Samuel wrote back on the 17 October agreeing to take the camels and informing the Exploration Committee that the camels already there were doing well. The Exploration Committee replied on the 30 October thanking him for his cooperation.

Howitt arrived in South Australia with eight camels at the end of 1862. At either Kapunda or Clare, Howitt sent the camels on to Longerenong in the charge of Alexander Aitken. Aitken crossed the Murray at Wellington on 22 December 1862 and reached Border Town on 2 January 1863. He arrived in the Wimmera on the 10 January 1863 and handed the camels over to Mr Wilson in Stawell. Aitken reported to the Secretary of the Exploration Committee by telegram from Stawell on the 15 January 1863. He also noted that Samla had lost condition during the trip.

On 10 February 1863 Samuel Wilson reported that one of the expedition's camels had drowned. It had arrived in poor condition and nearly blind. The camel was referred to as an Egyptian camels, so was presumably one of Coppin's six beasts purchased in Aden rather than Landells' Lahore animals. It was most likely the beast called Coppin which left Royal Park with Burke, stayed in Menindee with Beckler, went to Bulloo with Wright and then went on both expeditions to Cooper Creek with Howitt before walking from Adelaide to the Wimmera.

Esau Khan requested wheat to supplement the camels diet but was refused. By 28 April 1863 Wilson reported the camels were doing well. On 7 May 1863 Wilson was asked to provide details of the sex of the camels and he reported there were sixteen beasts at Longerenong.

A foal was born on 18 August 1863 and another on 15 September. Belooch requested a pay rise, but was declined and he left on 15 September 1863.

The camels continued to breed at Longerenong and by the end of 1863 there have been six foals born. On 19 January 1864 Esau Khan left Longerenong and Mr Barnes took charge of the camels. Another foal was born on 22 March 1864.

Drought set in during 1864 and continued through 1865. Wilson was forced to kill 20,000 lambs in order to save the ewes and he needed to move the camels off the property. In December 1864 four pairs of camels went to Mr Panton's Pastoral Company at Menindee and three pairs were sent to the South Australian Government. (At some stage, the camels were offered for sale to the South Australian government, who initially showed interest, but then decided not to take the camels. The camels were offered for auction, but somebody in the north of the colony bought them for £50 each.)

A camel was brought to the Wimmera from Deniliquin, but the man who brought the camel down refused to sell the camel to the Victorian government and instead sold the camel to a local farmer for £15.

The younger, healthier animals (eight beasts?) were retained for use on Duncan McIntyre's 'Leichhardt Search Expedition' that was being planned by Ferdinand von Mueller. On 19 January 1865 one of the mature female camels died, leaving seven camels at Longerenong.

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© 2020, Dave Phoenix