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A 19th century engraving showing Aboriginal people and humpy

A humpy is a small, temporary shelter made from bark and tree branches, traditionally used by Australian Aborigines, with a standing tree usually used as the main support. The word humpy comes from the Jagera language (a Murri people from Coorparoo in Brisbane); other language groups would have different names for the structure.

The word humpy was adopted by early white settlers, and now forms part of the Australian lexicon. Small impermanent dwellings, made of branches and bark (particularly paperbark) were built prior to the construction of more permanent buildings, and were referred to as humpies.

It is sometimes called a lean-to, since it can rely on the tree for support.

In South Australia, such a shelter is known as a "wurley" (also spelled "wurlie"), possibly from the Kaurna language.[1] The name "gunya" is also used.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

  1. Peters, Pam, The Cambridge Australian English Style Guide, Cambridge University Press, 1996, p818
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