Garia - Settlements

Traditionally the Garia lived in small, scattered hamlets, each having fewer than fifty residents. There were three kinds of houses: men's dwellings; those for women and children; and clubhouses where adolescent males slept. All had earth floors and either leaf thatch on a beehive framework or slit-log walls with a palm or grass roof. In the 1920s Australian administrators introduced and enforced the coastal style of stilt houses, with bark walls, raised floors of black palm, and a palm or grass thatch roof. During the period of the 1920s-1950s People were required to concentrate their residence in fourteen large villages of up to 300 people each. Each village consisted of wards or sections named after the small areas of associated bush. Since the 1950s the Garia have largely gone back to their preference for intermittently shifting hamlets. In any case the population of a hamlet or village is unstable, consisting simply of those people who have, for the time being, Common economic interests in the same area or who want to associate with a particular leader.

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