Lecture 3. The acculturated architectures of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Peoples

This lecture discusses the inland expansion of the colonial frontier and the impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander architectures and details the architectural ingenuity of displaced people forming communities. The lecture discusses the concentration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into pastoral camps, government reserves and settlements, town camps, missions, lock hospitals and leprosariums, the invention of the ‘Aboriginal community’ and the bringing together of people from various backgrounds into contrived settings. The differences in domestic and community architecture in the various types of settlements are noted, alongside the discussions of materiality. The lecture highlights that in some places, self-constructed architecture persisted, but incorporated acculturated materials and artefacts, and combined with adapted Aboriginal behavioral patterns and social organization. The lecture highlights that some settlements displayed the properties of pre early contact eras, including ceremony spaces and trade areas. This customary origin explains the high degree of external living and the maintenance of structured shelter layout and spatial behavior in the acculturated settlements. In contrast, at some locations where Indigenous peoples were highly supervised, architecture was used as a tool of assimilation, however autochthonous traditions persisted with money and manufactured materials in short supply. The lecture concludes with the case study of the Yuendumu Men’s Museum, a project initiated by men of eight Warlpiri ‘skin’ groups forced to live in contrived community. To increase social cohesion, the men embarked on the design and building of a men’s museum to bring together their Dreaming stories, constructing the interior using wild cotton, ochre and human blood. The act of constructing a building, and the structure itself, became a tangible symbol of the unification of Aboriginal groups, advancing a social schema, and a functional agenda. If required, the team will put this lecture into a more global context, discussing the architecture of the Residential School System in Canada (e.g. Qu'Appelle Indian Industrial School, Mohawk Institute Residential School, Battleford Industrial School), and the US (e.g. Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Albuquerque Indian School, Arapaho Manual Labor and Boarding School), the North American Reservation Systems and Indian Colonies. If this option is taken, it is suggested that lecture three is expanded to two lectures to discuss 1. The architecture of Indigenous assimilation and 2. Indigenous autonomy of architecture in post-colonial times.

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Lecture Abstract

Lecture Notes