They prowl in packs, speaking their own mashed-up language as they strut around town in designer sportswear with a generally menacing attitude.
But are eshays a serious threat to polite society or just the latest incarnation of disaffected youths wanting to stand out from the crowd by looking the same as each other?
Whatever the motive for urban teenagers with bad haircuts donning Nike TNs and slinging bumbags over one shoulder, they are apparently overtaking the suburbs.
Whatever the motive for urban teenagers with bad haircuts donning Nike TNs and slinging bumbags over their shoulders, they are apparently overtaking the suburbs
Eshays prowl in packs, speaking their own mashed-up language as they strut around town in dark designer clothes with a generally menacing attitude
The rise of the eshay is reportedly striking fear into middle-class parents worried their children want to emulate a dangerous sub-culture.
Where eshays once predominantly came from disadvantaged backgrounds their ethos is now more mainstream and widely promoted on social media.
An eshay is easily identifiable by the aforementioned TN trainers, worn with polo shirts, puffer jackets, tracksuit pants or baggy shorts and baseball caps.
Favoured labels for the fashionable eshay include Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, and Lacoste, paired with Nautica, Adidas, Under Armour and Ellesse.
An eshay is easily identifiable by wearing Nike TN trainers with polo shirts, puffer jackets, tracksuit pants or baggy shorts and baseball caps. Pictured is an image from an eshay social media page
In January a young ‘eshay’ with a mullet threatened to bash an adult on a Melbourne train, before declaring that he ‘owns Frankston’. A bystander filmed the boy, who appeared to be about 13 years old, attempting to intimidate – or ‘staunch’ the man (pictured)
He should give the impression he is looking to score drugs or moments away from robbing an innocent passerby of their belongings.
Some eshays scramble words and put ‘ay’ on the end in a form of pig Latin. ‘Eetswa’ means ‘sweet’ and ‘chill’ becomes ‘illchay’.
The term eshay is similar to the UK phrase ‘chav’ and can be interchangeable with ‘lad’, which in turn sometimes becomes ‘adlay’.
‘Eshay’ may have started as ‘eshay adlay’ – pig Latin for ‘he’s lad’ or be related to ‘sesh’, for a prolonged period of drug consumption.
To an eshay something high-risk is ‘red hot’ and an idiot is a ‘gronk’. To ‘staunch’ someone is to intimidate them, often with an intense stare while the starer’s fists are held between their legs
When an eshay says ‘eshay’ it can mean yes, cool or excellent.
Something high-risk is ‘red hot’ and an idiot is a ‘gronk’. To ‘staunch’ someone is to intimidate them, often with an intense stare while the challenger’s fists are held between their legs.
Eshays are said to have spread from Sydney’s inner-city graffiti scene in the 1980s through Housing Commission estates and out into the suburbs.
Hard-core eshays engage in assaults, robberies and threatening behaviour against other youths but many seem to wander the streets and hang around train stations aimlessly.
Some are said to ‘roll’ victims for their shoes and clothes but such crimes are not widely reported.
While some eshays had domestic backgrounds of violence, poverty and drug or alcohol use, many were likely copying a look that suggested a criminal outlook.
Their antics, which can include carrying weapons and taking drugs, are often filmed and posted on Tik Tok to widespread amusement.
The drill rap of groups such as Mount Druit outfit OneFour is a popular accompaniment.
Parents on Sydney’s Northern Beaches have recently expressed concerns about anti-social behaviour of teens they describe as dressing like eshays.
Police warned parents to take an interest in where there children are, who they are with and what they are doing.
Dr Terry Goldsworthy, Associate Professor of Criminology at Bond University told the Telegraph eshays had become prominent in the past seven or so years.
‘Like any subculture there are influencers on social media,’ the onetime detective inspector said. ‘It’s monkey see, monkey do.
‘A few years ago I’d never heard the term eshay, but I think social media has something to do with it.’
Just like punks in the 1970s and 1980s the eshay will one day be replaced by another set of clothes and taste in music, with a new name and similar anti-authoritarian demeanour.
‘Like any subculture, today’s eshay will be tomorrow’s nerd,’ Dr Goldsworthy said.