Saturday, April 02, 2011

And now for something completely different.

Something that's intrigued me for a long time has to do with racing camels here in the UAE.

Very big, camels.

Big, clumsy and weighing over half a tonne.

So why were the jockeys very small young boys, replaced when it was acknowledged that was an unacceptable practice by even smaller robot jockeys?

Photo life.com

This makes much more sense to me, as we do it in Australia, where we have huge herds of wild camels by the way, with a proper grown-up human jockey:

Photo Greg White

It's a rhetorical question, I'm sure there's no logical answer.


BTW, the pic is from Australia's richest camel race with A$30,000 in prize money (Dh110,000), held every July way, way, way out in the bush in far western Queensland. It's about 2,000 kilometres from the state capital Brisbane.

Just a bit of background, that gives an idea of the vastness and sparse population we enjoy in Oz. Boulia Shire covers a land area of 61,176sq kilometres and has a total Shire population of just 600 people. That's four times larger than Greater London, which has eight million people.


The town of Boulia has a population of 300 people and the other town in the Shire, Urandangie, has a population of 35.

So there's a lot of empty space.

It fills up a bit for the camel races, when about 2,000 people turn up.

And of course, it's empty apart from the 250,000 sheep and 75,000-plus cattle that are usually around the shire. The wool clip is approximately one million kilograms weight. Yep, a million kilograms.

They say the largest employer in Boulia is the Shire Council, the main role of which is the maintenance of the roads within the Shire.

I'd say there's not a lot else to look after really.



And on that camelian note I'm disappearing for a while. We're off to the UK in the morning for three weeks.  Not sure whether I'll be posting much for the duration.




Boulia Shire Council has a website - a very good one actually - that you might be interested to look at to get a glimpse of a very different lifestyle. It's here.   Info on the camel races is under 'Events'.

3 comments:

theguff said...

Oz sounds absolutely awesome, but i'm kinda unnerved by the hold of mother nature.

I've heard some crazy things about the wildlife you guys have: poisonous spiders that run at you, trying to bite you, crazy platypuses and all sorts.

That calendar picture is rad though.

Mealone said...

Australia also exports camels to Dubai that (I understand) are used in breeding Dubai's racing camels.
Maybe Australia should do the same with their Jockeys!

kd said...

Believe it's the same reason they used tiny little boys in the first place—their very light weight. Bet the robots don't shriek in fright to spur them on though.