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How 'Lionel The Larrikin' Became A Hero Of This Tiny Town

Lionel Deer is 85 years old, and larger than life. 

Around Cowell, a tiny coastal town in South Australia, he's known as the 'Camel Man'.

"I like the way they (the camels) walk around; they always look proud," he told The Project.

The 85-year-old has reared camels for over 40 years, at one point having 15 of the animals in his care.

"Once I got out in the paddocks with the camels, I was never lonely," he said.

"I felt like I had a mob of mates around me."

Photo: Supplied / The Project

Over the years, Deer explained the camels went "different ways", with three being shot by vandals and two suffering snake bites.

"Just the last two was old age. I had to put one down myself," he said.

READ MORE: Meet The Couple Who Walked Across Australia With Their Camels

Married with four daughters, Deer now spends much of his time  in his shed, which he has turned into a private museum of sorts complete with camel skulls, birds and quartz -- much to the delight of kids in the town.

"I love uncle Lionel's shed because there's heap of old stuff, old and ancient stuff like uncle Lionel," young Kaiden said.

Photo: Supplied / The Project

Almost everyone in Cowell has a story about the 'Camel Man', and there's another one coming.

Tune into The Sunday Project tonight at 6.30pm as the panel unveils a special surprise.