Mahomet Allum


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Why had I not heard of this man until recently? Known as a herbalist and healer, some called him a charlatan and the medical establishment despised him, yet he was loved enough by his clients and the public generally, that when he announced he was returning to Afghanistan in 1953, a petition gathered 19,000 (no that's not a typo) signatures begging him to return as soon as possible. Born in Kandahar, in his youth he travelled through Asia selling Arab horses and camels to the British army. He first came to Australia in 1899 as a camel driver, working everywhere from Kalgoorlie to Broome, Townsville to Bourke. He also worked as a draper and a miner (to learn about miners' ailments) and distributed his herbal medicines to those in need as he travelled around. Once he established his business in Sturt Street ,he became a well-known figure and saw hundreds of patients a day on a donations-only basis, and donated most of his income to the needy. He was known as '…a generous philanthropist, devout Muslim and stylish dresser.' He was referred to as 'Humanity's benefactor', 'Wonder Man' and Adelaide's 'Uncrowned King'. In his 80s he married Jean, a 19-year-old patient, with whom he had a daughter. Mahomet Allum died in 1964 at 106, or possibly 108. His funeral procession from the Adelaide Mosque stretched for over 1.6 km. He left nearly all his estate to charities that cared for children and bought fourteen plots at Centennial Park for other Muslims who couldn't afford a proper burial.

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