A photographic exhibition called ‘Boundless Plains: The Australian Muslim Connection’ is open for public viewing at Mabohai Shopping Complex until tomorrow.

Through a series of captivating photographs, the exhibition takes viewers on a journey through time stretching back to the early 1700s when Muslim fishermen from Makassar in Indonesia made annual visits to Australia.

Visitors will be able to see various photographs providing a glimpse the Islamic history and heritage in Australia such as the Afghan and Pakistani Cameleers and the first mosque in Australia.

We managed to have a quick chat with Sherene Hasan, the Director of Education and Community Engagement of the Islamic Museum of Australia on the development of Islam in Australia.

Sherene explained that fishermen from Makassar came to trade with the aboriginals of Australia, which can be seen at the exhibition from the photographs of rock arts showing the Makassar boats that came to Australia.

“European explorers were not able to explore much of Australia due to the fact that most of the land is a desert, so they brought Muslim camel drivers, who were mainly Afghan and Pakistani to come to Australia. These cameleers contributed a lot to Australia by building the first mosque in the country,” said Sherene.

The picture of the first mosque that goes by the name Marree Mosque can be seen in the exhibition along with photos that showcase the story of Muslim heritage in Australia.

The Islamic Museum of Australia also offers a virtual reality experience called ‘Mecca to Marree” that takes viewers from various landmarks in Mecca to the first mosque of Australia in Marree built in 1861.

Sherene said that the hands on technology that is offered by using virtual reality is a hit with school students who visit the museum.

“The technology allows them to go on a journey to Mecca in the past, and it continues to Jerusalem, Morocco, University of Al Quaraouyine – the first university in the world that is founded by Fatimah al-Fihri, and finally to the first mosque in Australia, Marree Mosque.”

Other than the exhibition, the committee from Islamic Museum of Australia will go to five schools around Brunei to conduct a talk on the Islamic history of Australia. The students will also be able to test the virtual reality experience during the event, that will hopefully help the students learn more about Islamic heritage in Australia.