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."