Gool Mohamed, born in what is now Afghanistan in 1874, came to Australia as a cameleer. Shortly after Federation he travelled to Turkey to fight for the Ottoman empire army, returning to work in the mines. But the war knocked mineral prices, pit work evaporated and he hawked ice-cream.

Mulla Abdulla was born near the Kyber Pass around 1855 and was the imam and halal butcher for the Broken Hill camel camp. Children threw stones at him. "Beyond complaining to police, he was never known to retaliate," The Sydney Morning Herald reported on January 4, 1915.

Days before the picnic train attack, Mulla Abdulla had been fined for killing sheep off licensed premises on the evidence of the council sanitary officer. Perhaps it was no accident one of their train victims was a sanitary department foreman, William Shaw.

After the attack, pandemonium broke out.

Authorities took the best part of an hour to get their act together. Police were mustered and armed, a small force from the local army base was alerted and local militia rushed the train.

"There was," the Barrier Miner reported, "a desperate determination to leave no work for the hangman, or torun the risk of the murderers of peaceful citizens being allowed to escape."

Author Patsy Adam-Smith described it less heroically in 1969, saying it was "as close a parallel to the Keystone Cops of silent comedy days as this country is ever likely to see". One of the police cars broke down and when constable Robert Mills, approached the pair not realising they were his quarry, he was shot in the groin and leg.

The fleeing cameleers had already killed another man on their way to the quartz outcrop. Enraged, locals descended on the area. Shootists surrounded the tor and poured hot fire on the pair. Mulla Abdulla fell but Gool Mahomed fought on, keeping several hundred men at bay. His attempt to surrender was ignored.

Just before 1pm police and military rushed the redoubt to find the old man dead and his younger accomplice alive but riddled with 16 bullets. He died on the way to hospital

What became known as "The Battle of Broken Hill" (thanks largely to a little-seen 1981 film of the same name) was over after three hours.

Six died and at least seven were wounded, including two children. The "Turks'" bodies were disposed off swiftly and secretly. Camel camp residents wanted nothing to do with their purification. They may have buried under an explosives store or in the jail murderer's plot.