Shelters are built with a framework of saplings lashed together and covered with leafy branches or bark sheets. (This approach was widely used in northern Australia.) Cane is bent and lashed into a dome-like structure and covered with palm fronds to make shelters. The roofs are thatched with grass or leaves.
Aboriginal people didn't have money, so they didn't need houses with doors and windows. They lived in communities that were often very large. Every able-bodied man and woman helped build the community's infrastructure: food grew naturally in gardens, fish swam in natural pools, and animals roamed free. There were no cows or sheep to provide milk and meat, so people got by on what they could hunt or gather from nature.
People lived in shelters for several reasons. First, it was the only form of housing available. No one owned land, so everyone had equal rights to use it. If someone wanted to build a house, he or she could go ahead and do so. Second, shelters were easy to construct and maintain. You didn't need tools or expert help - anyone can do it. That's why villages and cities throughout history have always had a high percentage of people without college degrees - because they lack the resources to hire professionals to build their homes.
Shelters had only two rooms: a living area and a sleeping area.
Simple shelters built by aborigines were generally formed of straight branches and covered with leafy branches or sheets of bark. At the time, the cover was made using locally available materials. The houses had one main entrance and usually only had one room where people slept and ate together. There might be another room for a kitchen but it would be outside the house on a platform or in a separate structure.
Aboriginal people lived in this kind of house until fairly recently, except that they made their shelters out of wood instead of branches. In Europe, there are still many forests left and people make use of them by building simple wooden houses. These are called log cabins because they have rooms divided by logs that serve as walls and ceilings.
In North America, most aboriginal people lived in large villages that contained hundreds of houses. They also used stone for building their houses but only near rivers or at certain sites known as "settlement areas". Otherwise, they mostly used wood.
There are several types of wood used in construction including pine, cedar, fir, oak, hickory, mulberry, and bamboo. People choose the best wood they can find to build their houses with their skills as carpenters improving over time.
Sheets of soft paperbark, easily plucked from trees, were available in some locations. Elsewhere, papyrus, which is similar to paper but more brittle, was used instead.
In colder regions, they used ice for their housing material. The ice had to be harvested from lakes or rivers, packed into blocks, and kept frozen until needed. This required a lot of effort from the people living in that region not only to collect the necessary materials but also to keep up the heat during cold seasons to prevent the ice from melting.
In warmer regions, they used wood for their housing. The wood had to be cut down first unless you wanted to build your house out of dead trees! After cutting down the tree, the wood is usually dried outside over fireplaces or burnt in large fires. Drying the wood outside prevents insects from getting inside the house and burning down everyone's hard work.
That's about it! The choices are limited because of what we know about aboriginal culture before Europeans came along. But we do know that they lived in simple shelters built from natural materials that could be found in their location. Some regions had better resources than others so they might have had more options available to them.
These constructions are built with a frame of arching poles, usually made of wood, that are covered with a bark roofing material. Construction details vary depending on culture and local material availability. Grass, brush, bark, rushes, mats, reeds, skins, or linen are some of the roofing materials employed. The framework is then filled with layers of snow and ice in winter and removed in spring to reveal the floorboards underneath.
The Ojibwa house was about 4 feet high and 12 feet wide at its widest point. The walls were typically 2 inches thick, although they could be as thin as 1/4 inch for the more fragile structures. The roofs were generally made of wooden shakes or shingles, though some flat-top houses did exist. The floors were usually made of wood, though grasses and dirt were also used occasionally.
Each Ojibwa family had a small plot of land that they maintained and cultivated themselves. This land would not necessarily be owned by anyone in particular - it could be held in common by everyone who lived in the village - but it would still need to be shared between everyone. If someone wanted to build a home on their own plot of land they would have to get permission from everyone else first. In return for allowing this building to go ahead, the owner would be given a place to live.
Early Australian dwellings ranged from branch shelters with only a roof and no walls to bush and bark huts, log cabins, slabs, wattle-and-daub, thatched, and sod cottages. Because lumber was plentiful, it was utilized for walls, roofs, flooring, doors, windows, and even chimneys. If wood was not available, then grass, clay, or sticks would be used instead.
The first British settlers in Australia built their homes out of local materials such as ironbark, jarrah, mulga, oak, pine, and sapling. They also used items imported from Europe such as nails, glass, and metal utensils.
After the First Fleet arrived in 1788, men built barracks for the soldiers and stores for the ships. The women and children made their homes with whatever material could be found nearby. By 1820, when Victoria became its own colony, most people lived in wooden houses. By 1840, almost all farmers were building their own blacksmith shops and other essential facilities rather than moving them as required. This shows how advanced farming techniques had become and suggests that there was a need for more housing.
Victoria's government provided some assistance by funding the construction of public schools across the state from 1839. These schools were needed because there weren't enough teachers so students had to help their parents with farm work while still going to school.
Many of the huts and shelters created by Aboriginal people were dome constructions, according to Paul Memmott. People would live in such communities for up to a year in the rainforest area near Cairns, Queensland, where there was significant rain for much of the year. They would make use of all parts of the tress, including the hollows inside trees, to provide shelter from both sun and rain.
Aboriginal people used any available material as building materials, depending on their circumstances. If they had no tools, then they would use vines or branches that grew nearby. If they had tools, then they would use stone or wood for their buildings.
In Australia's desert regions, where it was difficult to find water, people made use of natural features of the landscape to provide shelter. The most common form of shelter in these areas is the yurt, which is a large circular tent made from woven grasses or animal skins. Yurts are still used today by some Aboriginal people in remote areas where there is not enough food to survive on. They say that they help keep out the wind and cold weather conditions while providing protection from the sun during the hot summer months.
Desert people also used caves as shelters. There are many examples of ancient cave paintings around the world, some of which show animals sheltered in caves. This suggests that humans used to live in caves long before they invented tools.