The Creation of Shelter in Pre-Colonial Far North Australia

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Last updated: November 26, 2020

Zealand Shelter has always been a necessity for mankind.

We, as humans, have a relationship with the land that we must respect to live happily amongst it. Spanning back as far as the pre-colonial Australia, indigenous Australians understood this connection excellently. Their shelters seemed to ‘bend with the land’ as they understood crucial elements within the architecture to compensate for distinctive climate and cultural factors to fit their nomadic lifestyle. Their living style was very minimalist yet practical.The indigenous Australians only built what they needed to survive. For evidence of this, we will be looking at the text; ‘Guyana, Gooney and Hurley: the Aboriginal architecture of Australia’ by Paul Emmett as he discussed the social dynamics and structural design of the indigenous communities. Conversely, indigenous New Slanderer had a more conventional comprehension of space and planning of their more permanent townships.

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The shelters of the New Zealand tribes created community Importance with their detailed Maori. As a key example of these traditional settlements, ‘Historic buildings of New Zealand’ from the New ZealandHistoric Places Trust shows us many detailed plans of this living style and complete descriptions of the Maori’. The Indigenous New Slanderer built shelters to provide basics of societal living and town leadership as well as for the necessity of housing. However, both communities had an outstanding respect and comprehension for the environment they surrounding themselves with. This essay will explore both the saltcellars and Juxtapositions between the shelters of the Indigenous Australians and New Slanderer, how this enriches their connection with the environment and heir community lifestyle.Indigenous lifestyle and architecture of any kind has always been recognized as vastly deferent from Western moulds. The Aboriginal tribes of far north show complete understand of how the land behaves though their semi-nomadic lifestyle and simple architectural styles.

They moved between a number of neighboring ecological areas to exploit and conserve seasonal foods and resources. As quote from Aborigine Tom ADSTAR says: “We cultivated our land, but In a way different from the white man. We endeavourer to live with the land; they mimed to live off it.

I was taught to preserve, never to destroys” concurring with this method. The Aboriginal tribes formed camps which they would use from a single day to several seasons. They lived in this way in order to protect and respect the land in which they viewed as a “mother” figure towards them, in that the mother cared for them and In turn needed care and love also. The Indigenous New Slanderer, the Maori, also have an intricate understanding and respect of the environment they live in and too adopt a semi-nomadic lifestyle depending on the season and the availability of the resources in the areas.Though the use of architecture, they have progressively increased their consideration of the world as they have grown with the changes of the natural and spiritual aspects of the environment as well as the political and colonial. 4 However It Is the natural development of their architecture, environment; biological isolation, geological stability and climatic variation makes a harsh and tough environment. 5 This was well recognized by the indigenous as well as the difficulty that the land has in supplying all their needs all of the time. So, in moving around, this helped them locate where the food and water was best.

A side effect of this was to leave areas where they been, and give the plants and animals time to recover. Some groups developed sacred sites that were out of bounds to individuals. Some of these sacred sites happened to be nesting areas for some of the species that they hunted. By making them off limits, they allowed the breeding of these species to continues and so keep a supply for their food. 6 Their motivations were very different to Western society. Similar to conservation of food and environment, their architectural style was also minimalist.The far north indigenous tribes of Australia centralized their camps and villages in the proximity of a running stream.

This ensured that their food sources weren’t toxic plants, that they had an abundance of revering species such as crayfish, eels and fish, the construction of earth oven with river sand and rock for manufacturing nutcrackers and axes. These sorts of villages were constructed quite permanently to facilitate older relatives in a cool and providing place whist other tribe members continued to move from place to palace.Building near a stream was a sustainable idea as the surrounding area was far less dense, they didn’t need to clear much spaces to build a camp. They would aim for places with much sun light to escape the constant wet environment of the rainforest’s. 9 They had to take care that the ground was semi- elevated to ensure the camp was not flood prone, that the river they were camped next to would not rise too much. In these base camps, more permanent dome structures were built. The indigenous understood the different between structures that would support them for longer periods of time and that of a nomadic lifestyle.Similarly, the early settlements of the first New Slanderer were often at harbors or the mouths of rivers which were close to the sea.

This provided them with good access to fishing and shellfish grounds, and extensive hunting of seals and moa birds. It is important for any colony of people to be provided for where they live. The relationship the Maori had with the sea was that it supplied them with food, and if camped near a river, fresh water. Aboriginal rainforest’s groups employ as range of shelter types but were mostly dome shelters due to the rainy wet climate of the rest.The domes allow the water entry to be minimal and for the water to run off and not collect on the roof causing the hut to collapse.

They built, permanent domes, temporary domes, windbreaks called yawn; especially in the large open spaces, shades which are called dyad, and others 1 . The construction of the domes varied from tribe to tribe. The scale in which they were built varied from a nuclear family housing size which are called Dugan, to large community size huts, dimmer.

The larger domes spanned up to 9 meters in diameter 12. It was generally common for little families to be housed under one roof.These huts often held 30 people or more. Some had circular-based flooring and other oval-based 3. Figure : Dome Houses in Far north Australian Rainforest’s White, A. A, photographer. Photographer.

Check. John Solely Library. (Accessed May 10, Some also had continuous framing members versus apex-fixed structural members. The village plan segregated the housing into groups. In one hut might be a family, one man and his wives and their many children, with fires within for cooking and warming. In other huts would serve a group of single men or a group of young girls Ewing chaperoned before marriage.This supplied the social interactions between people as they were pressured together especially during rainy times when going outside wasn’t desirable.

This was an important part of maintaining social interaction during the rainy periods. During these times, larger intersecting domes were more common, including extra-large domes for ceremonial activities. This also meant that the tribes structured their huts so that people could stand in them, move around and participate in activities, for both diurnal and nocturnal uses. 5 The framing for a mom huts is assembled first by implanting malleable young branches or lengths of lawyer cane in the ground of the circumference of the hut. They would then bend the branches over and tie them together with split cane. The frame would them appear as a series of crossed over hoops forming an unconventional dome shape.

A drain is dug around the perimeter to prevent flooding and in turn washday of the cladding. The shelters were clad and thatched from palm leaves such as fan palms, cycad palms and wild banana as well as grass and malleable bark or a mixture of these.The mud was used with grass to waterproof the shelters. As concurrent with today’s western society, the materials chosen to assemble the huts would have depended on what was available at the time due to seasonality. It also would have been impacted by the climate; dryer and hotter seasons would have called for lighter constructions and less clad, if any, would have been used to allow for wind flow.

Conversely, harsher wetter climates would have needed a more robust hut to last through torrential rain and floods. Grass thatch was most effective cladding in stormy weather.Each layer of the frame was tied down with cane and the layers of thatch were often up to 2. 5 centimeters thick. 18 The indigenous society also made custom to the way the huts were constructed. When each hut was considered to be built, the woman would be the ones to clear the area of rocks, small trees and sticks before construction started.

The men collected and assembled the frame of the dome, whilst the woman were in charge of collecting and setting up the cladding. It was also the woman whom fixed the holes in the roof if the weather had caused. 9 The Mare is he central architectural structure is modern Maori life. Its purpose, location and even existence in pre-European New Zealand settlement has always been an element of importance in tradition Maori lifestyles. The settlements typically focused on a community building, the meeting house, with an associated open space which is the Mare, a minimal building form. It acted as a place for social meetings and institutions, importantly the teaching of traditional knowledge. It was the social and ceremonial core of the village.

However, the term, Mare, in Maori language is referred to in two senses.Firstly, as an open space used for assembly and reserved for that reason, and secondly as still the open space but combined with a shelter to form the meeting house. The Maori, similarly to the Australian indigenous tribes, recognized the importance of community living . They viewed the Mare as a community home and was far more significant than the individual family home. The the sky. It is located in the natural landscape so that it faces outwards to open elements such as the sea or an open plain.

It is backed by hills and mountains and runs parallel to the rivers.A mare must have a meeting house which tends to always be facing openness. To the Maori, the mare is not Just a shelter. It is a story house, a wake, a house, a rectangular gabled building with a porch that moderated the extremes of the weather and oppressive smoke-filled insides. Most mare had one main fire, which was kept alive for all time.

It was known as the aha-aka-roar which means long burning fire and it signified the on-going life of that mare. It was never extinguished as the living flame represented the man, the power, of the tribe. 4 The front of the Mare was often marked by embellishments of carving, curvilinear rafter tatter painted in black, red and white with lattice-work panels on the walls. It ranged from 12 to 30 meters long and the size and ornamentation of the meeting house usually reflected the man of the group. As the Maori first originated from Polynesia, their building forms and techniques quickly adapted to suit the cooler climate and different materials available. Roofs continued to be made of thatch but were considerably lower to retain heat.

Polynesian architecture didn’t require walls, an idea that was also changed to adapt to the climate.The walls were lattice thatching that never held the weight of the roof. As the new Maori cultural architecture developed, seasonal villages came to the forefront. The building that they created have similar structure to that of the Aboriginal domes. They too are made of cladding of branches, leaves and bark.

Although they instead had rectangular bases not circular, the roofing and wall structure resembled that of the dome shape. Their sleeping houses, where punt, consisted of a gable roof, front porch and central internal fire, also comparable to the aboriginal sleeping domes.However, the Maori construction did not allow people to stand inside. The where punt was equipped with a sliding door which was closed at night to enclose heat and a small opening above and to the side of the door to provide ventilation.

The porch was commonly used for eating, sleeping on warm night and relaxation. Figure : Mare and dome like sleeping houses of the Maori Tribe in New Zealand Foss Leach, sketcher. Sketch. Check.

Museum of New Zealand Et Papa Teenagers. (Accessed May 10, 2014) It is sometimes refreshing to look back on the simplistic lifestyle of the pre-colonial indigenous tribes of both far north Australia and New Zealand.We can see through their minimalist architecture that their respect and understanding of their environment was vast. From the rainforest’s groups of north Australia, we see that their creation of dome shelters varied due to climate, materials and use in the same way as modern architecture varies now only that the care and conservation for the place that they live in monumental. They understand the value community lifestyles hold and mould their architecture to accompany this idea by creating large conjoining domes to facilitate lots of people.

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