Publication Date

2016

Abstract

On a Saturday night in 1887, 13-year-old Mary Ann M., a resident of the inner-industrial Sydney district of Waterloo, paid a visit to Paddy’s Market. After winding past the sideshows and colourful stalls, the sound of bands and the calls of vendors, she ended up talking with a group of ‘larrikin’ youths in the streets outside. ‘Larrikin’ was a colloquialism used throughout colonial Australasia in this period, most often in Sydney and Melbourne. It described participants in an urban youth subculture based around loose-knit street gangs known as ‘larrikin pushes’ or ‘mobs’. Composed of young people of both sexes aged between their early teens and early 20s, the larrikin subculture was characterized by a hectic enjoyment of popular entertainments, street-smart dress, burlesque humour, a love of pugilism and clashes with police. It was also characterized by sexual activity, including group acts of male sexual violence towards women.1

Document Type

Book Chapter

Access Rights

ERA Access

Access may be restricted.

Share

COinS