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What do camels and the Queensland Parliament have in common?

It’s a fascinating connection. Nearly 150 years ago, the Queensland Parliamentary librarian, Denis O’Donovan, who served from 1874 to 1902, was a passionate Egypt enthusiast. This led to Queensland Parliament housing a large collection of books on Egypt, with O’Donovan himself making multiple visits to Egypt.

Parliamentarians on Camels in Egypt

Today, Queensland Parliament is proudly supporting local supplier, Summer Land Camels, who provide hand wash and moisturisers for visitors at Strangers’ Restaurant.

The Queensland Camel Milk Revolution

Summer Land Camels, located in Harrisville Queensland is an extraordinary oasis for camels in Australia. Not just a sanctuary for these fascinating desert creatures, but also the site of the third largest camel dairy in the world

Thirty years ago, the idea of camel farming was very different. Paul Martin, a former beef farmer, was struggling to keep his cattle alive as drought wreaked havoc on his land. Faced with the harsh realities of farming in Australia’s unpredictable climate, Paul sought an unconventional solution to sustain his livestock, co-grazing with camels.

Camels possess a unique gut enzyme ‘cellobiase’ that enables them to digest and breakdown tough, dry, drought-stricken vegetation. This unique digestive capacity enables camels to thrive on lower quality grasses and shrubs. The ability to break down lower quality grasses can be transferred to cattle through share water sources, resulting in enhanced resilience in cattle.

Paul successfully implemented this strategy to safeguard his livestock. As a result, he was not only able to maintain his cattle throughout the drought but also saw noticeable improvements in their health.

In 2015, Summer Land Camels embarked on its journey into camel dairy production. The dairy started modestly with only two suction stations. Fast forward to 2023, and the farm has flourished; now boasting ten stations and a year-round operation involving 55 female camels. In a country with just eight camel dairies, Summer Land has not only emerged as a market leader representing 95% of camel milk production but has also brought this relatively new product to the market.

Owner of Summer Land Camels, Paul Martin pictured with two camels.

Why Camel Milk?

Interestingly, camel milk is the closest resemblance to human breast milk, making its composition well-suited to human dietary needs. This unique resemblance opens the door to a range of dietary benefits.

Camel milk is a game-changer for those who struggle with dairy allergies. Unlike cow’s milk, camel milk does not contain the same proteins, such as beta-lactoglobulin, that often trigger allergic reactions. This makes it a good choice for individuals with lactose intolerance, cow’s milk allergies, or other dairy sensitivities.

Camel milk, while low in fat, is a nutritional powerhouse. It’s a natural source of vitamins B and C, vital for overall health maintenance. The milk is also rich in iron, crucial for preventing anemia and supporting healthy blood function. Additionally, camel milk contains essential fatty acids 3, 6, and 9, contributing to cardiovascular health and overall well-being. Moreover, camel milk is a secret treasure trove of immune-boosting properties, packed with disease-fighting immune proteins that are both anti-inflammatory and anti-viral. These proteins not only support the immune system but also promote gut health, vital for nutrient absorption and overall well-being.

The University of Queensland, in collaboration with Summer Land Camels, has delved into the science behind these remarkable benefits. Through the research and analysis of Masters students, they are uncovering the secrets of camel milk and its potential to revolutionise our understanding of nutrition and well-being.

Tour guide holding tray of camel milk and snacks for tasting.

Summer Land Camels Artisan Skincare Range

Cleopatra, renowned for her beauty, understood the remarkable benefits of bathing in camel milk to enhance her skin’s radiance. This historical account is what ignited Paul’s idea of creating a meticulously designed skincare range from the camel milk.

The range is expertly crafted to rejuvenate and support the skin’s microbiome. At its core lies the nutrient-rich camel milk, known for its healing qualities. What sets camel milk apart is its distinctive composition, allowing it to penetrate the skin’s deeper layers. Its antimicrobial and hypoallergenic properties make it suitable for all skin types, including for sensitive skin and those with allergies. Notably, it’s an ideal choice for individuals dealing with skin sensitivities such as eczema, psoriasis, or dermatitis.

Additionally, camel milk contains lactic acid, a gentle exfoliant that eliminates dead skin cells, unveiling a complexion that is both brighter and smoother. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial attributes, camel milk contributes to promoting healthier skin that that not only looks radiant but also maintains a youthful and vibrant appearance.

Summer Land’s Artisan Skincare Range is available nationally at many pharmacies and health food stores and available online. The comprehensive range encompasses hand cream, body cream, body wash, cleansing bars, shampoos, conditioners, and skin creams.

Camel Milk Body Wash skincare pictured on the shelf

Spend the day with camels

Embark on an unforgettable adventure with a visit to Summer Land Camels, where you’ll not be introduced to these magnificent creatures but also immersed in a world of local charm and unique farm experiences.

Your journey will begin with a warm welcome from the lovely staff at the farm. During the guided tour, you’ll meet ‘Remy,’ their favourite camel, who will undoubtedly steal your heart. As you explore the farm, you’ll discover the intriguing history of how camels found their way to Australia and why they aren’t classified as traditional livestock. You’ll even have the chance to visit the maternity ward and meet mummy and baby camels. A tour of the dairy reveals the process behind the creamy goodness of camel milk, and you’ll have the delightful opportunity to savour it for yourself. After the tour, the adventure continues with camel rides, feeding sessions, and the chance to enjoy gelato made from camel milk, a true local delicacy.

Summer Land Camels not only offers these unique and heart-warming experiences but also features a homestead café and gift shop, ensuring you can take home a piece of Queensland’s finest treasures and flavours.

What do Camels have to do with Queensland Parliament?

At Queensland Parliament, we take immense pride in our commitment to supporting the local community. We believe in the beauty and quality of products crafted right here in Queensland, and we are delighted to collaborate with local manufacturers who share our passion for excellence.

When you visit us in Strangers’ Restaurant at Parliament House, you will not only experience exceptional dining but also the luxurious touch of Summer Land’s high-quality body cream and hand soap in our facilities. This partnership is our way of showcasing the best that our region has to offer, while also contributing to the growth of our vibrant local economy. We believe that by coming together, we can create an experience that is both extraordinary and uniquely Queensland.

Products stocked at Queensland Parliament