Goodenough Island - Settlements

The inhabited areas of Goodenough are found on the coast close to coral reefs, in the immediate hinterland, or in the foothills of the island's mountain spine. At contact Good-enough was divided into more than thirty geographical "Districts," each containing one or more villages. Certain districts were loosely affiliated through common dialect and a degree of intermarriage. Throughout the 1920s, government officers encouraged mountain communities to resettle at more accessible locations near the coast. Many communities amalgamated. The present-day successors of the districts are twenty-three census groups or "wards" of the local government council. The population of these village communities averages 500. The houses of a hamlet cluster around one or more circular sitting platforms constructed of stone slabs, Important symbols of descent-group continuity. Hamlets are surrounded by fruit trees: coconut, areca (betel nut), mango, breadfruit, and native chestnut. Houses are rectangular Structures built on piles and with gabled roofs; they usually contain two or three small rooms, including a kitchen. There are two main house styles: a warm, boxlike structure with pandanus1eaf walls, which is favored by the hill communities; and a cooler coastal style with walls of sago-leaf midrib. Both types have black-palm floors and roofs of sago-leaf thatch.

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