Click here to see video of the Cameleers’ plans for 2019
“We treat every Cameleers deployment as we have been trained. Prepare for the mission, plan the mission, execute the plan. It works, and it works on our wounded, injured and ill ex-servicemen and women. They signed up to serve the Commonwealth and deploying with the Cameleers gives them the chance to once again make a worthwhile and valued contribution.”
Founder of the Cameleers, George Koulakis 23 years in the military.
The Cameleers was formed in 2014 when a group of retired ADF veterans – all of them broken and ill – cast about for a pursuit that would renew their sense of purpose and self-worth.
They decided to research Australia’s great explorers – Robert O’Hara Burke and William John Wills – and to mount an expedition that would follow in the footsteps of their ill-fated attempt to open a trail through the centre of our continent.
In keeping with their military training, they documented the journey (view the eight-part Youtube series by searching for “Burke and Wills Adventure”).
Based on the 1860 Burke and Wills expedition, the Cameleers put together an 18-day motorbike adventure in which they crossed the continent from south to north.
Even while the adventure was still playing out they decided there were more adventures ahead of them, and a future for the group, adopting the motto: “Recovery through discovery”.
In 2015 the Cameleers successfully lobbied the Queensland Government to provide support for a Cameleer-led expedition to find and retrieve the box of navigational equipment buried by Burke and Wills in the Queensland desert on April 3, 1861.
This historical event is known in the Burke and Wills journals as “Plant Camp”.
Now a declared secret location due to the value of the buried artefacts the Cameleers were required to provide archaeologists, surveyors, medical support and logistics, as well as permissions from land and title owners.
By mid 2016 the hard work paid off, and, with the Australian Army agreeing to provide ground-penetrating radar and 60 troops, one of Australia’s largest archeological ventures was born.
The Cameleers were central to bringing all the parties together, particularly the traditional owners of the Channel Country, the Mithaka people.
Unfortunately record rain in September 2016 put paid to that expedition and the Cameleers have had to put the Plant Camp expedition on hold as other opportunities with even more potential to draw on the training and work ethic of its retired military personnel membership.
The Cameleers have been supported with an Operation Compass grant to help them buy equipment and fund expeditions and this recent development will lead to even greater activity and opportunity.
In 2019, the Cameleers will more than likely be lending a hand at various farming properties from Greenvale in North Queensland to Montrose outside Melbourne.
They will probably be excavating at least one building in a township on the southernmost coastline of Australia buried by shifting sand-dunes and abandoned more than 20 years ago.
They will be supporting traditional owners as they conduct cultural surveys of their land, and most of all, they will be contributing individual effort, skill and expertise to their country which is the core reason for the Cameleers’ existence.
Join us. We deploy at least four times each year to help others and to help ourselves.
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