Recent researchers, including Bruce Pascoe, have described how many First Nations nations/tribes lived in villages or towns, while many others lived in villages for most of the seasons.
Once the peoples were displaced from 'country' by European colonists, many were forced into exclusively hunting and gathering, therefore building shelter that served the purpose of this transient lifestyle.
The Beginning of the Invasion (NSW)
After the disaster of white ants eating the wooden buildings put together with convict labour in the early years of the invasion, Arthur Phillip obtained building materials by destroying the region's 200 Aboriginal shell monuments. The large shell monuments were up to 12 metres high which had been constructed along the water’s edge out of shells collected over thousands of years by the First Nations peoples.
The colonisers used on-site Beehive lime kilns to process bricks out of the monuments and surrounding middens in order to construct a second town to replace the Aboriginal town, which is now known as the city of Sydney. - Reference
The Vlamingh Expedition (WA)
Another historical reference to Aboriginal habitations of a more substantial nature were observations made by a land party from the Vlamingh Expedition, who reportedly saw five huts close together at Wittecarra Creek, close to the mouth of the Murchison River in Western Australia. One of these huts was described as being "made of clay with a roof sloping down on two sides.
In 1803 another report of Aboriginal people living in a larger permanent settlement derived from the Baudin expedition, where they encountered a settlement on the tip of Peron Peninsula, Shark Bay, Western Australia on 18 March 1803.
Three members of the Expedition mention this assemblage of huts, Baudin, Peron and Freycinet, and the ship's artist Petit was ordered to make a drawing. According to Baudin, "Twelve or fifteen huts, much better made, than those we have found hitherto, composed the village where this small tribe lived ... ones that belong to the heads of families ... were much bigger and were built with considerably more symmetry."
Peron's description was, "these huts of the Land of Eendracht [central west coast of WA] ... are in the form of a hemisphere slightly depressed at the top ...... Their height is from 12 to 16 decimetres [1.2 – 1.6 m], by a diameter of 20 to 25 decimetres [2.0 – 2.5 m]. They are composed of small trees implanted in the soil ... On the outside are attached layers of foliage and clumps of grass covered by a large quantity of soil." - Reference
The drawing made by the junior artist Petit, first appeared in 1807 in Peron, Lesueur and Petit's Atlas (cropped image below and the expanded image is represented in the gallery above).
The drawing made by the junior artist Petit, first appeared in 1807 in Peron, Lesueur and Petit's Atlas