Broken Hill, Australia (1915 Terrorist Attack)

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On the Australian television special, "Australia and Islam: a collision course?," broadcast on April 2, 2007 as part of ABC-TV's "Difference of opinion" series,[1] it was claimed that there had never been a Muslim terrorist attack in Australia. However, like the United States and the Barbary Wars, Islamic violence against Australians has a longer history than most are aware.

Broken Hill is an isolated mining city in the far west of outback New South Wales. The world's largest mining company, BHP Billiton, has roots in the town. Broken Hill has been called The Silver City, the Oasis of the West, and the Capital of the Outback.[2]

On the 1st of January 1915, two Muslim civilians (former camel-drivers from modern-day Pakistan, Badsha Mahommed Gool, an ice-cream vendor, and Mullah Abdullah, a local imam and halal butcher) opened fire on a civilian picnic train at Broken Hill, killing four people (including a teenaged girl) and wounding seven more. The train held men, women and children.[3]

At that time, World War I was underway. Australia, as part of the British Empire, was at war with the Turkish Ottoman Empire, who had allied themselves with the Germans (it was in fact the Ottoman Empire's genocide against Armenian Christians that were to later inspire the Jewish Holocaust by Nazis).[4]

Although the killers in Broken Hill were not Turkish, their actions were a protest against Australia fighting their Muslim brothers in Turkey and notes left by the attackers read "You kill our brothers we kill yours"[3] and "I must kill you and give my life for my faith, Allāhu Akbar."[5]

As the attack was on defenseless civilians, it can only be described as an act of terrorism, not an act of war. Thus, this is the first documented case of Muslim terrorism on Australian soil.

See Also

  • Terrorism - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Terrorism
  • Australia (persecution) - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Australia (persecution)

External Links


  1. Cuming, Ian; Hines, Michael; McMullen, Jeff; Peters, David; Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia and Islam a collision course?, 2007, 
  2. Broken Hill, New South Wales - Wikipedia, accessed February 26, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 R. H. B. Kearns, "Broken Hill 1915-1939," The Broken Hill Historical Society, Australia, 1990, ISBN 0959949569
  4. Mark Tran - The spectre that haunts Turkey - The Guardian, October 11, 2007
  5. Stevens, Christine. Tin Mosques and Ghantowns; A History of Afghan Cameldrivers in Australia. Oxford University Press. Melbourne 1989, p. 163 ISBN 0-19-554976-7