"Incorrect" pride among young Australians



They've emblazoned their cars and homes with Australian flags, the Eureka Stockade Flag and the Southern Cross. Now the youths of Cronulla and surrounding suburbs have started tattooing their postcodes across their neck, chest, back and limbs in defiant reaction to the Cronulla riots. Local tattooists yesterday said they had inked the postcodes of Cronulla (2230), Caringbah (2229), Engadine (2233) and Miranda (2228) on more than 100 men and teenagers since last December's violence.

And it seems many going under the needle have been motivated by a mixture of pride and provocation. The postcodes are being accompanied by Australian and Eureka stockade flags and the Southern Cross. Customers are paying about $100 a tattoo, depending on size.

Cronulla tattooist Chuck Sekulla said he had inked five postcodes a week on average since the riots - with many customers adamant the marks were a response to retaliatory attacks. Mr Sekulla had little doubt there was an element of provocation. "With a lot of them it's a case of up yours [to outsiders]," he said. Another tattooist, Rev, told The Daily Telegraph the trend was no surprise. "They're always getting Southern Crosses tattooed but since the riot it's been crazy," he added."People haven't forgotten."

Local Nathan Bames, 23, is one of dozens to emblazon the 2230 postcode on his right leg in the wake of racial tension at the beach. But the shopfitter was adamant his "tatt" was simply a show of local pride. "I've lived here my whole life and we don't want to stand for this anymore," he said. "It's just mateship, trying to keep our area positive."

Psychologist Dr Darryl Cross was alarmed at the underlying message of the tattoos, which he compared to being "like a line in the sand"."What they are trying to do is create solidarity among themselves," he said. "This is a huge bonding experience because they now have a cause which is etched into their skin." Inspector Rod Rae said police were unaware of the postcode tattoo explosion. "If I saw a lot kids starting to get the tattoos I would have concerns but I don't know of any," he said.

The above article is from Pg 13 of the Sydney "Daily Telegraph" of May 31 2006

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