Sharpies (Australian subculture)
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Sharpies, or Sharps, were members of suburban youth gangs in Australia, most significantly from the 1960s and 1970s. They were particularly prominent in Melbourne, but were also found in Sydney and Perth to lesser extents. Sharpies were known for being violent, although a strict moral code was also evident. The name comes from their focus on looking and dressing "sharp".
Mods were an enemy of sharpies, and their gang brawls were reported in the newspapers during 1966. In a 2002 interview, a former sharpie stated that despite the sharpie culture being quite violent – especially as they crossed other gangs' territories on the public transport network – the altercations were restricted to inter-gang rivalries.
Sharpies in popular culture
- Photographer Rennie Ellis has included portraits of sharpies in his works
- Queeny (1994), Deep (1997), and Suburban Warriors (2003) are short films by Rebecca McLean related to sharpies
- Blackburn South Sharpies' member Peter Robertson curated Sharpies, a photographic exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney in 2001–02, and also as part of the 2002 Melbourne International Fashion Festival
- Blackburn South Sharpies' member Larry Jenkins also photographically documented this gang
- The Australian Broadcasting Corporation featured sharpies in a 2002 episode of George Negus' New Dimensions in Time
- Comedian Magda Szubanski was a sharpie in her youth and parodied the subculture on Fast Forward.
- Levi released "Levi's Black Sharps", a denim range inspired by sharpies
- Top Fellas: The Story of Melbourne's Sharpie Cult is a 2004 book by Tadhg Taylor on Melbourne's sharpies
- Rage: A Sharpie's Journal Melbourne 1974–1980 is a 2010 book by Julie Mac on Melbourne's sharpies
- "Out with the Boys: The Sharpie Days" is a 2011 book by the Seagull about the Sydney Sharpies of the 1960s
- Once Were Sharps: The colourful life and times of the Thomastown Sharps is a book by Nick Tolewski, written by Dean Crozier
- A resurgence of interest in the Sharpie sub-culture in recent times included Skins'n'Sharps Exhibitions in 2006 (Dante's Gallery, Fitzroy) and 2010 (Kustom Lane Gallery, Hawthorn) and a dedicated website Skins'n'Sharps
- Negus, George (18 March 2002). "The Sharpies – Cult Gangs of the Sixties and Seventies". New Dimensions in Time. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "The Age - Google News Archive Search". News.google.com.au. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Blackman, Guy (7 August 2015). "When Sharpies ruled: CD celebrates a homegrown sound of the '70s", The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
- Ellis, Rennie (2008). "Sharpies, Melbourne 1973". Official website – Portraits. Rennie Ellis Photographic Archive. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
- "Explore our online galleries". Gallery.slv.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- "Reckoning review: How Magda Szubanski became the comic genius she is today". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 October 2015.
- "Look Sharp! - With Levi's Black Sharps this summer - Scoop News". Scoop.co.nz. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Taylor, Tadhg. "Top Fellas". Catalogue. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- Mac, Julie. "Rage: A Sharpie's Journal Melbourne 1974–1980". Catalogue. National Library of Australia. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- "Skins 'n' Sharps". Skinsnsharps.com. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
- Deep – short film by Rebecca McLean that features sharpies