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 Platform Shelter

Gallery Images: Daytime Shade  |  Aboriginal Camp  |  Meriam House  |  Platform Shelter  |  Stilt Shelter  |  Indigenous Shelter  |  Indigenous Shelter (two)  |  Indigenous Shelter (three)  |  Indigenous Shleter (four)  |  Indigenous Shelter (five)

Platform Shelter

Aborignal Camp

An inside view from a vaulted platform type of shelter used in Arnhem Land (as well as in Cape York and parts of the southern Gulf of Carpentaria). The records of early observers tell us that at times the Top End people painted the interiors of the bark roofs in these houses. Some time after the wet season commences, the stringybark can be prised from trunks in lengths up to three metres and used to construct vaulted forms supported on ridge-poles. To avoid the boggy ground, a further elaboration is to include a sleeping platform under which fires are burnt to repel mosquitoes. The most sophisticated of these shelters have two (even three) platforms, one above the other (possibly supporting different functions or different segments of the ‘household’), with a roof constructed of rafters and purlins supported on four, six or more posts that were structurally independent of the platforms. Sloping poles where used for climbing to higher level platforms. (Memmott)

Original Caption

"A group of people revisiting their previous year’s wet season camp. During the wet season, huts of this type are built from stringybark. The raised floor of the hut enables storage of food and objects out of the reach of dogs and small children and at night smoky fires may be lit on the ground under the platform to discourage mosquitoes." (Mulvaney & White 1987:180)


AERC Reference No: A
Region: Top End (Arnhem Land)
Photographer/Artist: Nicolas Peterson

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