Outback by Camelback

We rolled out our swags beneath the shade of a coolibah tree and watched and waited, ravenous, while the billy boiled. This was a truly Waltzing Matilda moment except for one seemingly un-Australian note—the chime of a camel bell and the sight of its wearer extending a long, furry neck to prune the top of an acacia bush not far from our bedrolls.

In fact, camels have been a part of Australian life since 1840—more than 50 years before Waltzing Matilda was even composed. Strings of the haughty beasts speeded up European exploration of the continent's interior, and...