With Australia Day approaching and the induction of thousands of new Australians to our ‘lucky country’, I have prepared a guide of who they can expect to meet, as they venture out into our big brown land.
The Aussie Bloke / Sheila
The Aussie bloke is found all across Australia. Although their appearance and boisterous manner can be frightening to the uninitiated, the bloke, or sheila for a female, is a typically jovial and loveable character who can be approached without caution. They are known for their love of fishing, drinking beer, footy, drinking beer, hunting, drinking beer, Utes and drinking beer. As a new Australian it may be hard to understand a bloke or sheila as they speak in a dialect known as ‘slang’, common phrases include ‘big smoke’, ‘ankle biter’, ‘poofteenth’, ‘bonzer’, ‘togs’, ‘struth’, ‘tinny’ and ‘fairdinkumyoulittleripper’. Blokes and sheilas, especially those in the country, are not often exposed to the multicultural side of Australia, however if you do find yourself in the company of bloke or sheila do not fear, as they are predominantly welcoming, even if they seem unsure of how to act around you at first.
The Australian Bogan has been well documented in recent years, with many studies and public discussion about them.
The bogan has been multiplying in significant numbers over the past decade, due largely to the former Howard Governments baby bonus. The bogan is found mostly in the Gold Coast, South Sydney and the outer suburbs of every major city and town in Australia. One of the identifying marks of the bogan is the tattoo, often a Southern Cross, bogan baby name or tribal design on their forearm, calf, chest or back. Some bogans are so fond of the Southern Cross image they decorate their cars in it as well – rear windscreen stickers (next to the NFC sticker) and car seat covers being two of the most popular. The bogan is hostile to multicultural Australia, they travel in packs, draped in the Australian flag and display a mob mentality, most famously played out in Cronulla in 2005.
Bogans are infamous for their love of bogan names and bogan spelling of traditional names, common examples are Sharryn, Schappelle, Aymee, Dakota, Mercedes, Tayla, Tyler, Damo, Rylan, Sharrod, Jet and the list goes on. As a new Australian the most likely place you will come across a bogan is in Centrelink, only interact with them if it is absolutely necessary.
Inner city trendy
The inner city trendy, like the city bogan, has been growing at a rapid rate in the last decade, particularly in Melbourne. They can be found in coffee shops, yum cha restaurants and second hand bookshops throughout the inner city suburbs of all major Australian cities. Inner city trendy’s do brunch, and over a vegetarian falafel, discuss university politics, climate change, indie music, their love of Adam Bandt and their favourite kind of tea. Some of the distinguishing features of the inner city trendy are clothes from op shops or ‘retro’ clothing, ‘emo’ style glasses, Mac Books, dreadlocks or fringes and ‘cause’ fashion (make poverty history wristbands, fair trade t-shirts etc). Inner city trendy’s, as the name suggests, live predominantly in the inner city, thus they commute on retro or vintage bicycles, trams or by foot and tend to look down on those who drive cars. As a new Australian you are almost guaranteed to come into contact with an inner city trendy as many work with migrants and refugee organisations.
Toorak taxi mum
The Toorak taxi mum is the Australian equivalent of the US ‘soccer mum’, a thirty something, dyed blonde, latte sipping, zumba obsessed, quasi-fashionista, mother of three with disposable income clinging desperately to her youth. The name Toorak taxi mum comes from the suburb of Toorak in Melbourne, where almost every single Steig Larsson reading, legging wearing, Pilates obsessed, oversized sunglasses wearing, mother of three drives a black 4WD – many with a ‘My Family’ sticker set on the back windscreen. You will notice them when they are tailgating you, swerving all over the road while texting or when you are stuck behind them as they take 25 minutes to park the damn thing. It is unlikely, as a new Australian, you will come into contact with these bottled water drinking, hair obsessed, shoe collectors, however if you do, run away, before they adopt you as their Muslim / African / Indian / Hispanic / Asian etc ‘pet’.
Smart Asian kid
For school age new Australians who enter mainstream education you are almost guaranteed to come across the Smart Asian kid – you may even become the Smart Asian kid. Pretty much every school in Australia has at least one, the Asian kid who nobody really knows, studies 24 / 7, never comes out to high school parties, parents own as Asian grocery shop and at the end of year 12 smashes everyone in exams, gets their picture on the school website / newsletter and then goes on to dominate university and become a professor or doctor or engineer. If you do become the Smart Asian kid be wary of ‘stealing’ the jobs of ‘true Australians’ like the city bogan.
The footy yob, like the country bogan, can be intimidating at first, yet is also a loveable and often quite funny character. Unfortunately, in the last twenty years their numbers have decreased dramatically due to overhunting by the AFL and the closure of many of their natural habitats. The footy yob, to the untrained eye, can easily be confused with a bogan who is attending a football match, however there are key differences. The footy yob is often witty – delivering ‘sprays’ to players which draw laughter from the surrounding crowd, whereas the bogan will simply swear and abuse the opposition, the umpires, their own team, Stephen Milne, their children or other crowd members. A simple guide is provided below.
During the working week footy yobs conduct themselves in a normal, socially acceptable manner, however, from a Friday night until Sunday evening footy yobs undergo a drastic transformation, becoming obsessed with footy, watching countless hours of it live or on TV, listen to it on the radio and read every single footy related article in the newspaper. Women married to footy yobs often complain of ‘missing husbands’ each weekend between March and September, further, it is common for footy yobs to become mildly depressed in the month of October, when the football season is over the cricket season is yet to begin. If you have the experience of attending a match with a footy yob, do so, it could be an Australian experience you talk about for many years to come.
If you are a new Australian settling in Melbourne, Sydney or the Gold Coast you will surely come into contact with the wog culture, you may even join it. The Australian wog, made up mostly of Greeks, Italians, Lebanese, Macedonians and Turks, has been well documented over the past twenty years and is loosely based on the African American hip hop culture. Wogs are easily identifiable by their terrible fashion sense which includes Adidas tracksuit pants, Adidas sneakers, Adidas jackets, Lonsdale singlets, pencil beards, silver ear rings and gold chains and for women, copious amounts of make up. They drive ‘fully sick’ Holden Commodores with ‘wicked’ sub woofers and spend hours cruising their neighbourhoods, blasting techno beats, until they have to go home for dinner.
Alternative festival dude / chick
The alternative festival dude or chick is a seasonal Australian creature. During the winter months they hibernate in normal Australian society, performing everyday jobs and camouflaging into the mainstream. However, each November, with the arrival of summer music festivals, they awaken from their slumber and make their presence felt until around March. The alternative festival dude / chick can be easily mistaken for the city bogan, as many are fond of draping themselves in the Australian flag, however this is the only similarity. On the whole they are mainly fun loving, beer drinking, pot smoking, topless (even some chicks), JJJ listening, board shorts and thong wearing mini yobbo’s. Approach without caution.
So there you have it, a basic introduction to some of the characters you may meet now that you are an Australian. Depending on where you settle, you may come across others such as the Little Aussie Battler, RSL pensioner, Indian exchange student, Aborigine, Emo kid, Metrosexual, FNQ-er, Grey Nomad, Bar Fly and South Australian.
Welcome to Australia.