In 1930’s fictional Australian rural town of Willow Vale. Baddar, a wild-hearted 7 years old, would tell you he is special. Because of his dual heritage (his father is the son of the last Afghan cameleer and his wife, Rose, an aboriginal woman,), Baddar knew he was destined for more than his little town. Bored of small-town life and overwhelmed by childlike curiosity, his ancestor’s tales of tribesmen and cameleers is all he needs to fuel his imagination.
the railway, agriculture and the nearby coal mines are the main employment opportunities in the town. Willow Vale Rural school is a rural school. There are 2 grades in each class and is staffed by four teachers.
The story follows the adventures of 4 of the children from Willow Vale. Baddar and his sister Delari are special people. There are the children of the Muslim son of the last Afghan cameleer and his Christian wife, Rose, (an aboriginal who was raised by missionaries). Beddar (pronounced bed-are) is a typical 7-year boy. and is in grade 2 at Willow Vale Rural School. Beddar has a mischievous streak although he is what could be described as “the naughty little boy that every mother would fall in love with.”
Baddar is unsure if he wants to be known as an Afghan tribesman or an Aboriginal Cameleer.
His older sister Delari is a 9-year-old girl who is in grade 6 at Willow Vale Rural school. She is protective of her younger brother, Baddar, although she thinks that like all boys, he smells. Like Baddar, Delari is enormously proud of her heritage (Aboriginal and Afghan).
Baddar is frustrated by his aboriginal grandfather’ not allowing him to go on walkabouts until he is older. He convinces his best friend, Billy, to go on a walkabout with him. Over several days they appear to be lost, but they had a great time. Billy is a typical 7-year-old, Billy is adventurous far beyond his years. Although he would never admit it, he looks up to his best friend Baddar, and they are often in trouble together.
Realising that Baddar is confused by his dual heritage, the Charmchi family goes on a mini camel caravan with their Afghan grandfather. An accident happens, and Delari’s leg is in a cast during a school exchange visit to the Bulling Beach School.
Delari’s best friend is Freda Frost, an eight-year-old girl who is also in grade 6 at Willow Vale Primary School. Billy is 2 years younger than Freda and always makes a mess, and Freda(reluctantly) usually has to help him clean up.
Hamill Charmchi is the head of the Charmchi family whose father was the last Afghan Cameleers that drove camel trains, between Maree and Alice Springs. He oversees the freight yard at Willow Vale Railway Station.
He was working at the Maree rail terminal when some of his aboriginal friends introduced him to Rose. He fell in love with her and eventually they were married in Willow Vale. Rose was placed in a mission station as a young girl and is now a very devoted Christian. She is also an elder in the Jabari tribe and maintains a close relationship with the tribe and especially her father.
While at Bulling Beach, Freda is bitten by a poisonous sea creature and is in a coma for several days.
Everything goes back to normal until a bushfire threatens Willow Vale. Eventually, Baddar and Billy save the lives of a railway crew that had been caught up in the bush fire.