There are different names for the Aussie bodgie and widgie around the world. Some call them Teddy Boys, rockers, greasers, cafe racers or just plain bikies.
Whatever, you’ll know if you were one … or still are! If so, you might be interested in the ‘50s and ‘60s Guys/Girls Bikies 27th reunion at the Stones Corner Hotel, Brisbane, this Sunday, October 9, 2016. (More about that a little later in the story.)
The Google dictionary says bodgie is an Australian slang term for a youth, especially of the 1950s, analogous to the British Teddy Boy. It can also be used as an adjective to describe something as “worthless, inferior or false”.
There’s even a Wikipedia entry for bodgies and widgies which says they were an Australian and New Zealand phenomenon and most rode motorcycles (usually British) and some had hot rod cars.
Brits would identify the phenomenon with the Ace Cafe, cafe racers, rockers, greasers and the film Quadrophenia, while Yanks might think of bikies, Marlon Brando, The Wild One and even the Fonz on Happy Days.
Most bodgies and widgies grew out of it, but some never did.
There is also a subculture of people today who still worship the image, even though they never were a bodgie or a widgie.
We asked one of the organisers of the Brisbane reunion – known only as Bodgie Fiftyniner – to give us his description.
“I am not actually a bodgie from those days, someone just called me that because I kept asking about it I am just into all that,” says Bodgie Fiftyniner.
“My uncle was one and my dad kind of was one and I go to the reunion and know a lot of people who where.”
Apart from riding British cafe racer motorcycles (mainly Triumphs and Nortons) and driving hot rod cars with fox tails on the aerial, he says bodgies and widgies are typified by their style.
“The Bodgies, if they were on their bike, had slicked-back hair, no helmet, jeans, studded belts, engineer-type boots, cowboy type shirt or Presley purple shirt, leather jacket sometimes with studs and badges and art on the back like eagles or a skull and cross bones, or just their bike brand painted in white,” he says.
“If they were going to the dances or going out, some looked a bit like Teddy Boys with winkle-picker boots, stove-pipe pants and drape jackets if they were cold.
“Widgies wore tight slacks, jeans or three-quarter-length pants or dresses like in Happy Days if they went out; also bobby socks.”
Of course, they all listened to ‘50s rock and roll music.
So there will be plenty of that fashion and music at the Stones Corner reunion on October 9 from 10.30am to 4pm. Entry is $10 each or $15 for a couple.
You are invited to bring along old photos or memorabilia, or to contact Russell J Willis (Tarzan) on 07-32781793 or via email.