On February 2, at 8:16 pm, The Daily Telegraph published a story titled “What is an Eshay: Warning signs parents should look out for.” Now, before I discuss how wildly late to the party this article is, just let the headline really sink in. I’m personally submitting it for a Walkley, because it’s unintentionally hilarious.

Let me preface what I’m about to write by saying, I grew up in western Sydney. Does this make me a sudden expert on eshays? Absolutely not. Does that mean I’ve been encountering eshays since 2006 when they were an actual thing? Yes. Yes, it does.

All it really takes is a quick trip to the bible of street terms, Urban Dictionary, to find out that people have been explaining what eshays are since 2006. The reason for this is because the popularity of the term (and the lads associated with it) reached full popularity around 2006-2010, and then subsequently died off from there.


To me, eshays was a term kids would use in high school as an expression to make fun of people who acted like ‘lads’. Sure you had some of them who wore thick gold chains and Nike TNs, but that was just part of trying to look cool. If you look back at how you acted in high school, you’d probably cringe into oblivion as well.

Everyone I knew back then who you would describe as your typical ‘eshay’ grew up to be just fine. They’re assholes, but now they’re married assholes, so good for them!

Manly Daily senior reporter Julie Cross, who wrote the article, however, seems to have just discovered what an eshay is, and uses the example of the northern beaches breed of eshay, to warn parents about the violence coming their way. Unless these kids have teleported in from a 2006 Adidas store, I don’t think eshays is really an applicable word in 2021. Très dated.

“Parents fear an increasing number of teenagers in middle-class areas are dressing and acting like eshays, a term first coined in the 1980s to describe lower-class youths in public housing who intimidate, rob and boast about drug use,” writes Cross.

“They sometimes carry weapons and use crime to fund their drug use, often videoing and posting their antics on Tik Tok or other social media channels.”

By middle-class, she means like Merrylands, Parramatta, Guildford, those areas that I grew up around. I get the subtle feeling that nobody who approved or wrote this article has ever really been to the area. If you know what a Chargrill Charlie’s is, you didn’t grow up in western Sydney, where ‘eshays’ have already come and gone. Eshays are not some kind of underground ring of kids causing chaos. Well, at least not in the year of our Lorde and saviour 2021.

Now uhh, let’s talk about that ghastly meme placed into the article.

Eshays Starter PackBehold the Facebook meme used in the eshays article.

All I can really say about it is that it even looks like it’s from the 2010s, and I am truly baffled at how anyone can look at this image and think it captures a rising trend from 2021. “Found amusing by some teens” is also sending me, because I don’t think there’s a single teen in this advanced age of memes who will think this is a good meme worth sharing. If anything, it mocks the whole eshays stereotype, which I cannot stress enough, is HELLA old now.

Let’s not even unpack the fact that the second half of the article discusses the north shore eshays and how parents are concerned for their wellbeing with the rising of teen eshays. If you ever see an eshay in the north shore in 2021, that’s a spoilt rich kid, folks. A faux eshay if you will. Middle-class cosplay.

The article even gets in an associate professor of criminology (far too serious for this), Dr Terry Goldsworthy, who gives this absolute gold-standard quote.

“Like any subculture, today’s eshay will be tomorrow’s nerd,” he says.

Pure excellence. I could read that quote every day and chuckle to myself. It’s so wild. Truly, yesterday’s eshays are today’s nerds, because they’ve all grown up and gone into accounting or some shit.

The real eshays of Australia are probs like in their late twenties / early thirties by now, and I do not think they are going to be wreaking havoc in your neighbourhood in pursuit of drug money.

So yeah, don’t get alarmed, eshays aren’t coming back from 2006 to ask you for a durry at the Westmead train station anytime soon, *shudders*.

You can read the Daily Telegraph‘s hot eshays take here. 

Image: Instagram / @dmasmusic