I've been asked several times why I named our place Abdallah House. The simple answer is that the house is located on Abdallah Road, and I wanted a name for the house. But there is a bit more to it...
We are located in Seymour, in rural Victoria (Australia). Since settlement the town has a predominately Anglo past, and the name 'Abdallah' is quite unusual for this area. I was attracted to the name to challenge the stereotype of the town as being purely Anglo. Interestingly this is changing and there is a noticeable increase in migrants in the area with the controversial proposal for a mosque on the outskirts of Seymour recently approved by council.
I'm not sure why the road was named Abdallah, but I did discover that on of the early pastoral holdings in the region (from the 1850's), known as 'Glenlyon' was also known as 'Abdallah'. The area is located in the Highlands, about 30km east of Seymour. I suspect that our road was named after a property in the area. I am unsure as to why the pastoral holding was referred to as Abdallah, though I suspect that it has something to do with the Afghan cameleers who had first arrived in Australia not long before.
|'Afghan cameleers in 1896' Source: State Library of South Australia B10486|
On my own exploration of the interior of Australia I was surprised to discover that many of the reliable waterholes have date palms that still survive, planted by the cameleers.
|A kangaroo munching on dates in Milstream NP in 1997|
On research into the origins of the word 'Abdallah' I found that the literal translation means "servant (also slave) of Allah", Allah being 'God', but in pre-Islamic Arabia, Allah was considered the creator of the world and giver of rain. I've also heard / read something about 'humbleness before god'.
While I am not a religious man I relate to my interpretation of the word, I feel that I have had to take on the 'Abdallah House' project - to demonstrate that we need to live in harmony with the earth and inspire others in the attempt to do so. While I do this for myself and my family, I am also doing this for the world as a whole - with humility before Gaia. I believe that we need to live in harmony with the earth and each other, and I use permaculture to inform and guide me in this pioneering journey.