A humpy (or gunyah[1][2]) is a small, temporary shelter, traditionally used by Australian Aboriginals, with a standing tree usually used as the main support. They are also sometimes called a lean-to, since it can rely on the tree for support. These impermanent dwellings, made of branches and bark (particularly paperbark), are often built prior to the construction of more permanent buildings.


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. In South Australia, such a shelter is known as a "wurley" (also spelled "wurlie"), possibly from the Kaurna language.[3]


Both names were adopted by early white settlers, and now form part of the Australian lexicon. The use of the term appears to have broadened in later usage to include any temporary building made from any available materials, including canvas, flattened metal drums, and sheets of corrugated iron.


See also


  1. ^ http://www.allwords.com/word-gunyah.html
  2. ^ "Tents". One Planet. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 
  3. ^ Peters, Pam, The Cambridge Australian English Style Guide, Cambridge University Press, 1996, p818

External links