Bogans: curse or cultural asset?

Last week the local Wollongong media ran stories about how the suburb of Albion Park has appeared in a list of the national Top 10 most bogan places.

Far from being embarrassed or angry, local residents have embraced the new tag. The local newsagent ran a 'Bogan-day' on which locals turned up to buy the paper in flannies and ugg boots, and since then the local talk-back radio has been filled with callers debating whether or not the 'bogan' tag is something to be angry about (a term of derision, simply illustrating middle-class snobbery elsewhere?) or a source of local pride.

Herein lies a series of questions I suspect we'll encounter regularly throughout the CAMRA project:

- what makes places unique, culturally, and are these qualities hindrances to cultural planning, or in fact, useful cultural assets?
- where a local cultural identity is debated or contested (as in whether being bogan is a source or shame or pride), what kind of consensus might be required to build cultural assets upon them?
- are local cultural qualities associated with working-class culture being ignored in cultural planning/arts policy/creative industries research, simply because they are normally assumed to be the opposite of 'art', or are seen to lack the accoutrements of middle-class cultural capital that mark objects, products and performances with critical distinction?

Is being bogan a curse, or a cultural asset?




Robert Evitt's picture

Hi Chris,


Just surfing the CAMRA website and found this post... just thought I'd offer a minimal comment in saying that I grew up in Albion Park RAIL which as Andrew will tell you is distinctly different from Albion Park (by about 1-1.5km). Even though many people associate Albion Park with the area of Albion Park Rail, just ask anyone from the "Railside" and they will immediately distance themselves from those Boganville dwellers down the road....

I for one am 100% ashamed of the Boganville tag... more so the way in which people are so quick to associate Albion Park and its residents with us good-standing people of Albion Park Rail (better known for its serial killers and train station!)

Thats my 2 cents worth anyways... hav a great day :)