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Commemorating the Camel Corps

5/08/2016
Artwork commemorating the Camel Corps
​Artwork by Year 10 students
On Monday morning, the school commemorated the 100th Anniversaries of the Battles of Fromelles, Pozieres and Romani in July and August 1916 during which the service and sacrifice of some of the soldiers from the district was remembered and honoured with a minute’s silence by the students, staff, parents and members of the community who attended.
Naomi Simpson of the school’s History project outlined some details of the significance of the Imperial Camel Corps to the district while Shannon Gomez spoke about the wonderful mural celebrating this corps.
Naomi explained that the Camel Corps was formed in December 1916, however, early in 1916, in January, some of the men who had served in Gallipoli joined the four camel companies that later formed the basis of the Imperial Camel Corps. In March 1916, camel patrols campaigned in the Libyan Desert against the Senussi Tribesmen attacking western Egypt. They also campaigned against the threat of Turkish attack in the Sinai Desert which threatened the safety of the Suez Canal, undertaking long range patrols across the desert. A number of men from the Clifton District served in the Camel Corps during its operation in the Libyan Desert and the Sinai Desert. Their enemy was not only their human foe on land and in the air but the brutal heat of the desert and the long distances without water and food.
Shannon highlighted some of the key elements and the symbolism in this painting:
  • The camels are not with pack saddles indicating they are resting after their long patrols and engagements.
  • The skin tones are monochromatic greys to symbolize the atrocities of war.
  • The uniform is green to represent Australia.
  • The camels are intentionally painted in bright vibrant colours to give significance to mateship and comradery; this idea of mateship is further exaggerated by the soldier’s hand which rests in the camel’s mouth showing trust.
  • The foreground is scattered with various different tones and colours as a reminder of the chaos of each venture they embarked on.
  • The background is tranquil green representative of the oasis where camels and soldiers watered and rested together.
The Year 10 Visual Art class was excited to be a part of such a significant symbolic work, one that commemorates the Middle East Campaign and recognizes the work of the camel corps.
Art Teacher, Mr Layton, is extremely proud of his students and the way they worked together as a team to create this masterpiece.