Guide to the Australian Bogan

Bogans. They’re everywhere. There’s a little bit of bogan in all of us – unfortunately.

Some of the major types of bogan:

1. The standard bogan.

The standard bogan is a little like the American redneck, with a strong smattering of white trash thrown in. They are usually country dwellers (easily spotted by the broader Australian accent), undereducated, and overopinionated. Standard bogans move in packs and are suspicious of all outsiders.

A bogan woman’s purpose is to catch a man and have little bogans. She achieves this goal by being (often artificially) blonde, (often artificially) tanned, and by wearing as little fabric as is legally possible. Once married, she has achieved her life goal and can either (a) Stop worrying about her appearance ever again, or (b) Become rapidly pickled in her teen-queen state, maintaining it as long as possible despite having an inceasingly leathery skin texture. The most bogan female name is Sharon, aka “Shazza”.

A bogan man’s purpose is to have beer, and sex. He will probably require some kind of blue collar work and/or the dole to achieve this. The most bogan male name is Barry, aka “Bazza”. I once met a couple called Barry and Sharon (not their fault).

2. The travelling bogan.

The travelling bogan goes to Bali, wears even less clothes than usual (probably literally unaware that Bali is part of the Scary and Muslim nation of Indonesia), talks loudly, gets even more tanned and/or drunk, and if female gets their hair done in those tiny braids.

Although this bogan is probably the second-most embarrassing bogan, they never leave the Kuta Beach area and hang out mainly in Australian bars. They are thus largely familiar and harmless to the residents (who can simply avoid them when they’re dangerously drunk, ie awake). Unlike. . .

3. The nationalistic bogan.

Most Australians are frankly suspicious of nationalistic fervour – after all, it’s precisely what killed most of our indigenous people. (We only turn patriotic in response to absurd claims of superiority from other nations, which are patently untrue.) We are a “new” country (99% of the population arrived in the last two hundred years), as well as being emotionally tied to Britain and the USA, but physically tied to a whole bunch of countries that are utterly different to us (with the exception of New Zealand, which we love like they love sheep). This makes Australia one of the most multicultural nations on Earth.

The nationalistic bogan has a huge problem with this, and strenuously objects to “all those foreigners” who should “go back where they came from”. To which our indigenous people roll their eyes and say, “Wouldn’t that have been nice?”

4. The ironic bogan.

All Australians have an Australian accent. All Australians live a slightly sheltered life (we’re an island, after all). All Australians are dumb sometimes. All Australians – like all people – are a little bit racist. Some of us choose to remind ourselves we’re not so smart after all by embracing the harmless side of being bogan. Here’s a beginner’s guide:

“Australia” is pronounced “Straya”.

“Target” (a cheap clothing chain) is pronounced “Tar-shay”.

“Champagne” is pronounced “Champers” or “Sham-PAG-nee”.

This picture is of Felicity Ward, a comedian from Woy Woy, who is an ironic bogan.

5. The cashed-up bogan

This type of bogan has a lot in common with the denizens of the Jersey Shore (I’m basing this on ads for the show). They have money, but no taste. Think leopard print, extreme plastic surgery, and unironic white-person bling. Somehow, the C.U.B. STILL doesn’t actually have a job.

Note: The New Zealand bogan, in sharp contrast to the Australian bogan, tends to be OVER-educated, to fit badly into most social groups (generally because of overintelligence and/or a lack of respect for the fashions handed down from on high), and to be more accepting of other outsiders.

A New Zealand metalhead bogan, my friend

Published by Felicity Banks Books

I write books (mainly adventure fantasy for kids and young adults), real-time twittertales, and a blog of Daily Awesomeness. @Louise_Curtis_ and My fantasy ebook is on sale at

2 thoughts on “Guide to the Australian Bogan

  1. Ahhhhh….. The bogan. Believe it or not, I was largely unaware of the bogan until I left home and moved to the big smoke for uni. This is largely because in the far flung reaches of rural NQ, they have largely skipped the bogan part of the spectrum and moved straight on to ‘redneck’. Think Bobby Katter and his ‘its not that I dont believe in gays, I just dont believe there are any in my electorate’ stance.

    It should be noted that the true Aussie redneck has a lot in common with the bogan, but has the added characteristics of extreme conservatism (seriously – why do you think they vote for Katter? because they dont want their world to change – except for the addition of high speed internet) and access to and proficiency with firearms. Unlike the American redneck however, they tend to leave these at home and use their fists when they get into arguments in the pub.

    I would also like to take this opportunity to point out to any American readers that the term Aussie, is pronounced Ozzie (as in Osborne), not Ossie (as in wtf?) and is a key element of bogan nationalism when shouted loudly and drunkenly in the form ‘Aussie, Aussie Aussie, Oy Oy Oy!

    1. Ann: I wondered if the chant would get mentioned. I forgot to mention sport at all…what an oversight.

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