Albion Park vs Dapto in battle of the bogan suburbs

Lisa Mulder and Brooke Thompson at Albion Park Hotel. Pictures: ADAM McLEAN Donna Marshall and Vicki Grimshaw at Dapto Hotel.
Nanjing Night Net

It already has the dogs – now Dapto could lay claim to the bogans, too.After an online magazine this week nominated Albion Park as one of the nation’s bogan capitals, the Mercury conducted an online poll to find out what residents of the Illawarra thought.Last night, Dapto was leading the bogan charge with 21.9 per cent of the votes, followed by Bellambi (17.1 per cent) and Albion Park (16.4 per cent).RELATED COVERAGE Albion Park in bogan top 10 – and proud of it Albion Park named in top 10 bogan suburbs And the Mercury discovered strong opinions as it ventured into so-called bogan heartlands, Dapto and Albion Park, yesterday.First stop was the Dapto Hotel, where punters said they were proud to have the bogan gene.”At least we would be popular for something,” Justin Goodwin said.Port Kembla’s Brian Whiddett flashed open his fleece Parka to reveal a T-shirt declaring “I Got Crabs in Broome”. “Why not be a bogan? I don’t want to be normal,” he said.Mr Whiddett’s theory is that bogans are attracted to the pub with the cheapest schooners, making Unanderra and Dapto bogan centres.”You want to get to Unanderra before midday because the schooners are $3 each before midday. Once midday hits, all the bogans go home,” he said.”It’s $3.60 a schooner here, which is the cheapest around.”At Dapto newsagency, Wendy Green and Harry Hudson were manning the counter.”What’s wrong with wearing ugg boots? My kids do it all the time,” Ms Green said.Mr Hudson said Albion Park should establish a soccer team, Bogan United.And that canny idea to cash in on the new-found bogan fame has not escaped the entrepreneurs of Albion Park.There are rumours a Bogan Tourist Caravan Park is on the cards, while other ideas include Bogan Airways and the Bogan Fruit Shop.Albion Park Hotel manager Peter Payton doesn’t indulge in such fantasy. The pub has spent the past two years renovating and re-establishing itself as a family friendly venue.The venue features a crisp new dining area, gourmet menu and not a bogan in sight – thanks to the banning of hoodies and Jager shots after 6pm.But they have already had their first stream of bogan tourists – a group of men from West Wollongong who wanted to check out the “bogan pub” and ended up staying for lunch.The Albion Park newsagency is commonly known around town as the “gossip shop”. There we found Carolyn O’Keefe, whose sister is Wendy Green from the Dapto newsagency.”We’ve been having a ball – everyone’s talking about it,” Ms O’Keefe said.”But it’s a load of crap – that’s what most of them say.”Ms O’Keefe and her colleagues are having fun with the bogan tag and next Friday will wear pyjamas to work as a nod to their own bogan heritage.Next stop was to where some would regard as a bogan mecca of sorts – the Sheepskin Leather Factory.Edward Pieszko has been selling ugg boots for 11 years.Mr Pieszko said the notion the sheepskin shoes were an essential part of the bogan uniform was unfounded because most bogans just couldn’t afford them.”When you’re talking about bogans, you’re talking about this cheap, synthetic rubbish slipper, which they can pick up for $20,” he said.”Ours are made from Australian merino cross-bred wool and can cost anywhere up to $199. They are not cheap.”Mr Pieszko sells the boots to customers across Europe, the United States and even Saudi Arabia.

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