#SolidScience – Traditional Aboriginal Homes

Indigenous People have lived under the stars for tens of thousands of years. Due to weather and ever-changing conditions, safe shelter was a necessity.

This led to the development of diverse dwellings, often built by the women of the communities. Some of the different types of homes were rock shelters, humpys and huts.

Rock shelters were a common type of shelter for the old people to use. Natural caves and recesses were always reliable shelters, as they would provide protection and coverage from the elements. Large overhands on rocks and cliffs would also provide security in wet winter conditions.

Huts were a quick and easy shelter to build, often made by using grass trees or paper bark. Holes were dug into the ground to hold large stick frames before trees and/or bark were layered on the sticks to create a tent-like shape. These were mainly used as temporary shelters, sometimes when traveling.

Large rounded huts had the capacity to hold several people and were made similarly to smaller huts. To create a large hut frame, sticks, and long grass were woven in a more complex way to ensure structural integrity. Mats were also woven from long grass and used on the ground for added comfort.

These photos from ABC News capture Pakana ranger Brenton Brown, who re-built traditional Aboriginal huts at Preminghana, Tasmania to educate his children and future generations about their ancestors.

Indigenous people would often adjust parts of their homes to suit the unpredictable conditions; however, their homes and shelter structures very clearly displayed the innovative thinking of the old people. Knowledge about building shelters has been passed down over many generations, keeping the culture alive and thriving.

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