A giant metal camel sculpture funded by a one-time foe to be erected at Cable Beach will pay tribute to late Broome camel tour pioneer Abdul Latif Casley, who died in late June. Mr Casley started Ships of the Desert camel tours in Broome in the early 1980s and is credited as the father of the sunset camel walks which are now one of Broome’s most famous tourism drawcards. Following his death, Red Sun Camel Owners John and Janet Geappen spotted a “lifelike” metal camel on social media built by Wheatbelt sculptor Jordan Sprigg and knew it would make a perfect tribute piece for Mr Casley. “All of us who work here in the industry, do so thanks to him,” Mr Geappen said. “As soon as I saw it, I was instantly very impressed at how lifelike it was and how much work went into it.” The half-tonne camel took more than 300 hours to make and was constructed out of scrap metal from farms in the Wheatbelt at Mr Sprigg’s Narembeen family farm. The artist’s inspiration came from a trip to Broome in 2018 where he sat in admiration of the silhouetted animals at sunset on Cable Beach. With the Shire of Broome progressing a redevelopment of Cable Beach, Mr Geappen said the sculpture would be donated to find a place in that project to immortalise Mr Casley. Mr Casley, a relative of former Hutt River Province micronation leader Leonard Casley, arrived in Broome having set off from Katherine with his camels in 1981. A former Navy man and horse rider, Casley pioneered Broome's camel safaris when he walked into town with a herd of eight camels he had captured in the outback 16 years prior to his arrival. Abdul is the name he gave himself when he became a Muslim in 1977. “I had this hair-brained idea of walking to Mecca. Instead I found my Mecca here and stayed,” he told The West Australian in 1997. Towards the end of his time in Broome and upon moving to Thailand, Mr Casley became a vocal critic of the changing nature of the camel tours which he claimed had “lost their soul.” At one stage in 2010 The West Australian reported Mr Casley “hated” Mr Geappen when a dispute over ownership of Ships of the Desert wound up in WA’s Supreme Court. That bad blood stemmed from a 2006 Shire of Broome decision to award Mr Geappen all three camel tour licenses for $1.5m. When that decision was overturned Mr Casley said he was “happy as a lark”.