The Story of The Big Teepee
The Big Teepee in Millmerran, Queensland, is a replica of a teepee erected at a rendezvous place for a local club. Millmerran is famously referred to as the Rendezvous Capital of Australia.
While most Big Things of Australia often appear oversized, hence the name, the Big Teepee in Millmerran could easily pass as a standard teepee. This is because standard teepees were around 3.5 to 6 metres tall, while the one in Millmerran measures 4 metres.
Technically speaking, the teepee in Millmerran isn’t oversized, but it still looks slightly bigger than most standard teepees.
Teepees were commonly used by indigenous people all over North America. They consisted of animal bark layered on a pole structure. The top of the structure had flaps that provided a gateway for smoke to escape.
These structures were quite popular many years ago due to their durability. In addition, they provided much-needed warmth in the winter and cooling in the summer. Given that teepees were made out of animal skin, they were also durable and able to withstand harsh weather conditions.
Many indigenous tribes also used teepees as their housing units because they were easy to mount and transport. Unlike traditional houses, teepees could fold into smaller structures and fit on the backs of animals for transport as tribes migrated from one area to another in search of water, food, and other resources.
Most teepees were at least 3 metres in diameter. And, while they could easily pass as ordinary tents, these ancient structures demonstrated incredible work of art and science.
For example, some tepees had adjustable tips that acted as a ‘collar’. In the event of massive smoke from cooking inside the tepee, the tip would open on the windward side, allowing the smoke to escape.
Additionally, the doorway consisted of a heavier layer of hide, preferably from a buffalo. They could fold, rise or drop, depending on the user’s preferences.