1952

 

1956

1963

© Jim Colbert

Sharpie in the middle had just been thumped by bouncer Bob Jones

© Jim Colbert

Seemed to be two sorts of Sharps back then - the kids in the pic were trouble but only in groups. More wannabes unless they were in a pack. The other lot were like my mate Chick (who died a few years ago so he can't help with info) who was around 23 when that picture was taken, already a pretty good middleweight boxer and seriously tough. Jim Colbert Photographer Go Set

 

1966

1967

                                                         Rod  Oakleigh 1966                                               Coburg Brush 1967


 

SHARPIES VERSUS MILITARY CADETS

         IN 1966 AND 1967 the cadets from the armed forces were regularly getting jumped by Sharpies in Melbourne city. The Sharpies would see them in their civilian clothes, with military short back and sides and would mistake them for rival gang members or Sharps in the wrong territory. If the numbers were matched, the cadets gave as good as they got, but after a particularly nasty attack where two Navy cadets had their legs slashed with knives in a Melbourne laneway, the Top Brass decided something drastic needed to be done.

 After discussions between the Brass and Victoria Police, Navy cadets from Cerberus and Army cadets from Puckapunyal were given special leave to go into the city and sort out the Sharpie menace. The cadets from Laverton Airbase were not given clearance to join in. On that Saturday, the cadets arrived into the city in force, and any police that were around made themselves scarce, or turned a blind eye, as the cadets fought it out with the Sharpies in the streets of Melbourne.

Luna Park at St Kilda was a big Sharpie hang out of a Saturday night and it was the scene of the biggest battle. Parts of the Park were smashed up as Sharpies were chased and caught in final fights by the Cadets during the running battles through the River Caves, Giggle Palace, rides and arcades.

Later the cadets donated or had money taken out of their wages to pay for the damages, and after that they were free to enjoy their rec leave in peace. They didn’t mind paying for the damages as it was one of the best nights ever!

Verbal story told to Julie Mac by Pete and Lazza HMAS Cerberus


 

Lot's Wife is the student newspaper of Monash University's Clayton campus

        There was a city gang; it was formed at the height of the early Sharpie movement, about 1967, just when the outer suburbs were getting involved.  It was formed from inner-city sharps that still showed allegiance to their original gang, but also liked to hang around the city, usually under the Flinders Street clocks. I was one of them from about 1967 to 1970. One of the main leaders in the city gang was Graeme Jenson. About 1967 we were a menace to the public and the politicians got the police to get tough on us, so they formed a group called the Silent Seven. They were much like the group that had to combat the Bodgies of the 1950s called the Bodgie Squad. How they worked was they would wear normal clothes and drive in a eight seater meat wagon, and drive around the city at night time looking for us, and if they saw a group of us they would drive right up to us, double park, then jump out and run up to us with police batons and pumble the crap out of us, then jump back into their van and drive off. We soon got pissed off with this and stayed out the city till things cooled down. Berg Collingwood



























1970s

   

          MY RECOLLECTION of it all was in the late 1960s early 70s there were the Flinders St Skinheads and in 72/73 became the Melbourne Sharps. Scottie, Melbourne Sharp

SKINS'N'SHARPS–original, tough, colourful and at times controversial. A Melbourne-based youth culture in the 70s like no other. Skins ‘n’ Sharps symbolised an exciting time for me as a teenager growing up in suburban Melbourne. Youth in the early 70s began to create their own significant look. They designed their own tailor-made clothes and handmade shoes, then combined them with off-the-shelf clothing to create their own individual look.

These were everyday kids, and they knew how to separate themselves from the masses. But as their numbers grew, so did the demand for their fashion. It was only a matter of time before local retailers and manufacturers caught on and started to capitalise.

It is interesting to note, without information overload like today, they could create their styles from their own insights–everything was done with passion and a strong young spirit which was the backbone of Skins ‘n’ Sharps fashion. Sam Biondo
 


 

THE HAIRSTYLE..... this was the most defining feature of the Sharpie. At the height of the Sharpie era, 1972 - 1977, the haircut was at its most extreme and unique - being cut really short (crew cut) top and sides with length remaining at the nape of the neck (tails) giving a noticeable distinction between the top and tails. A fully committed Sharp would embrace this hairstyle and take on the responsibility and attention that came with it, a lot of that attention being unwanted - from the Police, other Sharp gangs, bikies, rockers, long hairs and the public in general. Any Sharp with this distinctive look was recognized as a Sharpie no matter what they were wearing or where they were, so the attention was always present. There were many 'weekend Sharpies' who would dress the part to hang out with the Sharps but would not cut their hair in the true Sharpie fashion, due to family, school, work, or they were just not willing to take on the stigma and attention that it drew. Come Sunday night, and out would come the earrings, off with the platform shoes and connie (Sharpie cardigan) and transform back into a mainstream youth, acceptable to society.

 1972

 

 



































 














































1973


















































































































































 












 

 



                                  

            MELBOURNE HAD a large group called the City Sharps, strong in numbers 1972-1973 which attracted many from the suburbs, someone knew someone. 1973 Sunbury Rock Concert nearly erupted into a huge brawl between the Hells Angels and the City Sharps because of a few young kids from the suburbs, drunk, hitting a bikie over the head with a whiskey bottle and yelling ‘Don’t fuck with the Melbourne Sharpies’. Never forget the next 24 hours, but thankfully the dust settled. History of Sunbury 1973 would have changed forever and not for the good. But in regards to the word sharps or sharpie, 1973 was more the start of the use of these names, the David bowie era. We at the time acknowledged being called either. 1971-1973 city sharps, skinheads seen many changes in dress codes and ideas. David Bowie had a big influence around 1972. Sooty 

Copyright Kevin Pappas Tear Out Postcard Book

 

Copyright Rennie Ellis

         

      THE CITY was supposed to be neutral ground.  Flinders Street Sharps or the City Sharps struck the shirts for a neutral gang of the sharps in the city.  The Frankston boys violated this, they would wait to see if anyone was coming in from the outer suburbs and jump them and have running battles through the city and Flinders St Station. A group of boys from North got off the train and were chased into the park by the Frankston boys. It was tit for tat, tit for tat, for the best part of a year.

 They violated the truce and it was avenged and it became worse and worse, so a decision was made to finish it.  A face off was organised with half a dozen blokes but each gang turned up with 20-30 each because there was no honour to the commitment. 

Romantically Butcher and the Northern Suburbs Boys make the best of it. It turned ugly and the knife appears, Eddie took the knife, they walked away and one was left dead.  It was such a shock, that it escalated that far. This is the story as it was told, the story as it was written in song. No witnesses would come forward, there was no give up and the crime was unresolved.  One of the guys there has gone on to be a full blown career criminal and has spent time in jail for other crimes. Angry Anderson

1974

MELBOURNE SHARPS were one of the larger gangs with a solid base membership in 1974-1975 of around three hundred, not including the hundreds of extras that came into the city each weekend and mixed in with us. I was part of it when there was Flinders Street Sharps & City Square Sharps before we joined due to crossover friendships to become City Sharps, which very soon changed to Melbourne Sharps. I had 'CITY SHARPS' in red flock lettering on the back of my new Lee denim jacket in 1974 but two months later we became 'Melbourne Sharps' and the letters wouldn't come off clean so my jacket was useless. Peter Brookes

SUMMER JAM

The concert derived its name (and concept from the album 'Summer Jam' recorded at Sunbury 1973 featuring The Aztecs and Coloured Balls jamming at 3.30 am on the Monday.

This was an amazing concert, a one time event that I feel so privileged to have experienced, and thanks to Greg Macainsh is now a part of sharpie folklore history. It was called ‘Summer Jam’ because the last band to play that night was a compilation of various members from all of the concert’s bands, on stage together in a massive jam session finale. That’s what drew over one thousand sharpies from the suburbs of Melbourne to the one event, to be there when to of our ‘Rock Icons’ Lobby Loyde and Billy Thorpe jammed together on stage.

 

As more and more sharps came to the venue you could sense that this was something special, the atmosphere was electric. Groups of sharpies were a common sight in the city and suburbs but I’m sure that no one in Melbourne had any idea how prolific we had become in number; not even us. Extra security and police began arriving as our numbers swelled, and at one point they decided that it was a ‘full house’ and closed the entry, but a few hundred sharps still outside in the queue had other ideas and an external fence was flattened to the ground, and a stampede slammed through the security and cops waiting on the other side. Some poor buggers got nabbed and were escorted out, but for those of us who made it in, it was a brilliant day.

 

I’m the guy with the Mohawk at 2:17 in the clip, aged sixteen, a Frankston Sharp at the time, later that year a Melbourne Sharp. It was an awesome sight to see so many sharps together in one place, and all came in good spirits with only one purpose, our common love of rock music. No one wore their gang identification so there wouldn’t be any trouble, and those that did arrive wearing them very quickly took them off (a few shirtless guys in the clip). A lot of new friendships were forged between sharps from different suburbs and gangs, much to my benefit in many future encounters, e.g. being on your own on a train when an unfamiliar sharpie gang gets in the carriage and gathers around you, and one says ‘he’s ok, I know him, met him at the showgrounds concert’. There were many more concerts after this with large gatherings of sharpies, but not to match the enormity of this one, as they were mostly at Festival Hall or Dallas Brooks Hall (no fences!). What is also amazing about that day is the era in which it happened - no internet or mobile phones and many didn't even have home phons, so word of this concert was passed around by mouth after hearing about it on 3XY (the only rock radio station at the time) and the masses gathered. Pete Brooks

         

           THE 74 concert, if I'm correct, that's the day a group of us were sitting in the grandstand out of the crush. There was this huge roar and we watched as Chopper Read had two coppers in a headlock, walking through the crowd. Funniest sight I ever seen, but not many would have known who he was at the time.  Sooty

 

          SURNAMES WERE kept pretty private back then, it was safer that way. Of the many hundreds of sharps I mixed with, there was only about twenty that I knew their surname and about the same amount knew mine. So many names and faces long forgotten most would be around for a few months then you’d never see them again, unless something major was happening like a concert, Moomba or Melbourne Show, then the city became sharpie central. I was a part of the city from late 1974 to late 1976 working in Bourke Street at Jean City and during that time living in Carlton, Fitzroy, St. Kilda and Port Melbourne, none were sharpie suburbs so the city was my hang out. I’d be there all weekend, every weekend; I’d sit on the arm rail under the clocks at Flinders Street Station and wait to see who turned up, then decide what to do that day/night. There were many sharpie hang outs in the city, like Mutual Bowl, Russell Street amusement centre, Princes Bridge pinball parlour, Quicks Cafe, City Square (when it had lawns) and Young and Jacksons, always some action somewhere. Pete Brookes

 

           MY ASSOCIATION with the Melbourne Sharps would have been meeting up with other Sharps at Flinders Street and going to places like St Moritz. Some of the Sharpies who were often there wore Melbourne, City and I think a few might have worn Flinders Street. Frankston Sharps came to the city wearing the design below, Brooksey and I liked it and had some made up with Melbourne on them. In the years I went in, I did not consider the Melbourne Sharps a gang. 

In 1974–1976 networking was done by word of mouth, phone or hanging around Flinders Street or the local pinball. On any day the group could increase significantly, split and go to different venues etc. To me the experience was always fluid, the size of the groups varied and on some occasions were quite large, the most I have been in would have been around two hundred or so. The exception would have been Sunbury 1975 when the numbers would have been significantly higher, as a guess between five hundred and fifteen hundred.  William Sharp

 

1977

Melbourne Sharps at the footy

IN 1977 it was decided that no new Melbourne Sharps would be recruited. In the past we selected the best street fighters from surrounding suburbs.  If one of the Melbourne Sharps got in a blue and the bloke held his own, he would be invited to meet us at Flinders Street the following weekend. Sparro, Old Melbourne

 

         

         JUST BEFORE this pic was taken, word came to the sharpies at the station that some guys were wearing Melbourne Sharps t-shirts at Moomba so Sparro and the others went down and ripped the t-shirts off. They were the last of the Melbourne Sharps. By the middle of 78, the older sharps had gone their own way, but some of the younger or unattached Melbourne Sharps still could be seen in the city or at other sharpie hangouts, others went on to become punks and we ended up in a big fluid gang meeting up at the ballroom and La Femme gigs. Julie Mac

 1979

Westside and Melbourne Sharps Flinders Street Station


 










 

©Julie Mac & Co. Publishing for the (Melbourne) Sharpie Family Trust 

juliemac@melbournesharps.com.au