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Camels to feature in festival parade

Camels to feature in festival parade If there is anywhere you’re going to see camels in Sydney, its right in the heart of Lakemba at the City of Canterbury Bankstown’s Haldon Street Festival. No  

​If there is anywhere you’re going to see camels in Sydney, its right in the heart of Lakemba at the City of Canterbury Bankstown’s Haldon Street Festival.

Leading this year’s annual Haldon Street parade, on Saturday 28 October, will be three majestic camels bedazzled in traditional Middle Eastern dress.

And while festival-goers are sure to feel like they’ve been transported to an Arabian bazaar, the camels themselves actually hail from Oakfield Ranch in Port Stephens, where they live with their owners, the Sansom family.

Emily Parrot, who has worked at the family business for over 20 years, said she loved having camels as pets, growing up.

“My Dad, Rodney [Sansom], has always loved animals, so when the opportunity came up to buy 20 camels, he said why not?” Mrs Parrot said.

Fast forward 20 years and Mrs Parrot said the family business had grown into a farm.

“We have about 50 camels, horses, cattle, deer, sheep, alpacas, llamas, you name an animal, we probably have it,” she said.

“We find people tend to love the camels the most because they’re quirky and different.

“I guess it’s not every day you see a camel in Australia, which is odd because we have the largest population of wild camels in the world.”

When the camels aren’t appearing at festivals or fetes, or hired out for rides, Mrs Parrot said they compete in camel races.

“There’s nothing quite like it. It’s just like horse racing but they pull a lot more faces,” she said.

“They’re also quite cheeky. They’re always poking their heads in windows or cars, and stealing your lunch when you’re not looking.”

Administrator, Richard Colley, said the whole idea of having camels at this year’s festival was to replicate the streets of an authentic Middle Eastern market.

“We want to mimic the diversity of our community in a fun and exciting way, and what better way to do that than to have the camels leading the parade, representing our Middle Eastern community?” He said.

“The parade is always a highlight of the festival, with dozens of community, school, and cultural groups taking part.”

The Haldon Street Festival will be held on Saturday 28 October from 10am-4pm. For more information, go to

 30/11/2017 3:31 PM