Mohamed Gujar AIHS

Mohamed Gujar or Gujer arrived in Australia in 1891 and lived and worked in Warrnambool where he began his life in Australia as a hawker. He was also known as Khan Mahomed and Charles or Charlie Mohamed.  Mohamed Gujar, whose father was a soldier in the Indian Army, was the first Indian known to join a military unit in Australia when he joined the Warrnambool Battery of Garrison Artillery Corps in 1900 shortly before Australia Federated in 1901. This was during the time of the Boer War. Upon enlisting in the Artillery Corps he went to the Drill Hall and had a medical test, which was conducted by J. W. O”Brien, a local doctor. He passed the test and his papers were forwarded to Victoria Barracks, St Kilda road, Melbourne, for processing. The people in charge at the Barracks were hesitant to accept his enrolment as no Indian had enrolled in the Army in Victoria up to that time. To investigate Mahomed’s enrolment, an officer from the Victoria Barracks was dispatched to Warrnambool to interview him. The investigating officer formed the opinion that Mahomed’s loyalty was genuine, and his application was accepted. He had the distinction of being the only Indian, in the Victorian Army at that time. He was known as Gunner Mahomed.

To enable Mahomed to attend military parades while he was on his hawking rounds, he was given a railway pass, (Free Ticket) to travel from all stations between Colac and Warrnambool, to attend military parades in Warrnambool.   He was also given the standard Victoria Government Military Uniform. It was a blue uniform with gold and brass buttons, white helmet and a chin strap.   Mahomed joined this Militia Unit before the formation of the Australian Army.[1]

[1] Kenna Len, Are Indians An Ethnic Minority? Volume 4 Hawkers p. 103, 2013.

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