Rick Furphy and Geoff Rissole sparked controversy across the nation with their viral Facebook page, Sh*t Towns of Australia. Now they’ve published a book. And some of the most popular spots in NSW have the unfortunate distinction of making the cut, as this extract from their book reveals.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Named after the most inbred of the Home Countries and colonised by the first wave of convicts to land in the Lucky Country, New South Wales is now the most populous state in Australia. From the megalopolis of Sydney to anonymous rural dungheaps, New South Wales features a diverse array of sh*t towns housing many different types of d*ckhead. The state’s official sport is discussing house prices and its official sexual position is crying under the doona.
Renowned as Australia’s easternmost point, Byron Bay is also the country’s biggest d*ckhead magnet. Every type of f*ckwit under the sun gravitates to Byron: smelly hippies spilling out of their housevans, tattooed surfers fighting each other for territory, barefoot bogans fighting each other for fun, cashed-up Boomers flittering between overpriced organic cafes and bullsh*t galleries, and overseas millionaires buying up the entire town for holiday homes.
It’s the sort of place that corporate shills on their second divorce fantasise about moving to so they can open a yoga retreat and root a dreadlocked barista on the beach. Byron Bay is Disneyland for dropouts, or the Gold Coast for people who prefer their Meter Maids to have hairy pits.
Overrun by tourists and littered with their half-eaten takeaways and used condoms, the only people who actually live in Byron Bay are pretentious trustafarians who turned up for Splendour in the Grass and forgot to f*ck off home after the mushies wore off. These private school plastic hippies use their old man’s money to live the “Byron dream” and subsidise their supposed “free spirit lifestyle”, which actually consists of wearing cheap jewellery they bought in Bali while complaining about other fake hippies, catching herpes from German backpackers and generally doing large amounts of serious f*ck-all.
Byron Bay gained national notoriety for rejecting fast food giants McDonald’s and KFC under the pretence that junk food didn’t fit with the “Byron lifestyle” – maybe if Macca’s started serving kombucha and lentils and giving away hacky sacks in their Happy Meals it might have got the Byron seal of approval.
Byron Bay is known for its night-life, which consists of drunken drongos and Schoolies smashing each other’s teeth out and projectile vomiting at passers-by. It’s also a prime spot for spotting whales, which is why Byronites were still slaughtering humpbacks as recently as the 1960s. A popular feature is the Cape Byron Lighthouse, which serves the vital purpose of warning passing seafarers away from the complete wankeropolis of Byron Bay. We suggest you heed its warning.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Moron Bay.
MOST FAMOUS PERSON: Chris Hemsworth owns a giant fortress at Byron, where he goes to escape the pressures of being paid millions of dollars to dress up as a superhero.
Coffs Harbour is synonymous with bananas, blueberries and bulldogs. The city’s most famous feature is the Big Banana Fun Park, a B-grade family attraction built around a giant phallic fruit sculpture and showcasing all the fun things you can do with a banana, at least two of which are appropriate for children. Other sad attractions include a marine mammal slave camp and the Clog Barn, which celebrates everything about Holland except the fun stuff.
“Coffs Harbour” is a misspelling of “Coughs Harbour”, so named because the town’s entire settler population had smallpox. Consequently they were shunned by their neighbouring settlements, causing a profound hostility that persists to this day. Coffs Harbourians are some of the most unfriendly, arrogant and judgmental bastards one could have the misfortune to meet.
They are fiercely proud of their city, despite it lacking any points of interest beyond a big yellow dong, a highway with 700 sets of traffic lights, an NRL scandal and a legacy of birth defects from toxic pesticides. Coffs is a comatose beachside ghetto and cultural wasteland with nothing to do but truckloads of meth. Indeed, it might be the only place where there are no jobs but everyone still judges you for not having one. The only thing going for Coffs Harbour is that no NRL team will ever hold a Mad Monday there again.
TOWN SLOGAN: Far Coff!
ALSO KNOWN AS: Coffs, Cough Harder, Cops Harbour, Cocks Harbour, Bananatown.
MOST FAMOUS PERSON: Russell Crowe owns a sprawling estate just outside Coffs Harbour and often staggers barefoot into town to drown a few pints and growl out a couple of Cold Chisel covers.
Named after an autocratic governor with a penchant for massacring Aboriginal people and stealing their children, Port Macquarie was founded as a brutal penal settlement before becoming a prison for old people waiting to die. The seaside snorefest is overrun with two of Australia’s biggest pests: koalas and the elderly, two demographics known for their low energy levels, weak eyesight and disgusting mating habits. When they aren’t going to town on a gum tree or indulging in some casual racism, Port Macquarie’s inmates are fond of doing serious f*ck-all.
If New York is “The City that Never Sleeps”, Port Macquarie is “The City that Barely Stays Awake”. In fact, boredom has been legally mandated in the town to avoid overstimulating the locals. Port Macquarie has been named the least affordable smaller city in Australia, although the income stats are somewhat skewed because everyone is either retired or a marsupial.
Port Macquarie’s main visitor attraction is the Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail, where tourists can peruse over 60 individually handpainted statues of chlamydia-riddled four-thumbed freaks. If you’d prefer to surround yourself with leathery geriatrics whipping out their wrinkly bits, opt for a day at a local beach. Otherwise, there are always the time-honoured tourist favourites of running all the way home while screaming or driving your rental car off the nearest cliff.
TOWN SLOGAN: The City that Sleeps.
Founded as a dumping ground for Britain’s most dangerous convicts, Newcastle’s notoriety as a godforsaken sh*thole still lingers two centuries later. Named after Newcastle in England, New South Wales’ second-largest settlement has done its best to replicate its namesake’s reputation as a depressing post-industrial hellscape famous for its aggressive locals, impenetrable local dialect and crap football team. The city’s inmates pretentiously refer to themselves as “Novocastrians”, despite the fact that none of them can spell it.
Newcastle’s main industries are filling the atmosphere with toxic smog, pillaging the earth and complaining about people from Sydney. “The Steel City” is so fond of its working-class image that even its footy team wears hi-vis. The only things that emit more smoke than the stacks are the droves of deros lining the CBD accosting passers-by for a durry.
Despite its blue-collar reputation, Newcastle is propped up by a plethora of public service jobs, making it less of a “bogan Pittsburgh” and more of a “sooty Canberra”. Other Novocastrations include surfers (stoners), musos (junkies) and footy jocks (‘roiders), all decked out in ‘Newcastle sports coats’ (jizz-stained flannelette shirts).
Newcastle is exceptionally proud of its NRL team the Knights, despite the fact that they haven’t made the finals since 2013 (or roughly six prime ministers ago). In addition to their impressive collection of wooden spoons, the club is most famous for almost going bust after being bought by a bogan billionaire, while their best player is mostly known for doing enough pingers to kill a whole wisdom of wombats.
Until recently Newcastle’s biggest attraction was a massive penis-shaped tower, which the council demolished out of sheer embarrassment in 2018. The city now has nothing to promote other than the rusted carcass of a port with a decrepit CBD welded on, rows of abandoned shops and the country’s biggest KFC. Hunter Street Mall and Marketown are popular bashing hot spots, while Fort Scratchley and Strzelecki Lookout are where most Novoc*mstains are conceived.
Town slogan: NSW’s Number Two!
Also known as: The Steel City, Newy, Poocastle, Spewcastle, Screwcastle,
Most famous people: Silverchair, a sh*tty Nirvana cover band from the nineties.
Combining featureless urban sprawl with some truly degenerate savagery, New South Wales’ Central Coast is a rat king of sh*t towns. Boasting such attractions as syringe-littered beaches, copious roundabouts and sh*t roads, the area houses a diverse array of a***holes including tourists, old people, thugs, human seagulls and people who work in Sydney but couldn’t bring themselves to live in Sydney.
The poo in the Cenny Coast’s crown is Gosford (short for “Godforsaken Hellhole”), the area’s derelict CBD. Full of deros, druggos and dole bludgers, the epitomical sh*t town is commonly referred to as “Mount Druitt by the Sea”, “Sandy Parramatta” or “Nautical Campbelltown”. Popular activities in Gosford include asking strangers for cigarettes, spray painting your name on a train or keeping your pants up with a length of electrical cord.
“Gosford” is also slang for a particularly short skirt, as the town is close to a holiday resort called The Entrance. Appropriately, gosfords are the standard dress choice of the town’s carefree female folk, usually paired with a thin strip of fabric as a top and no underwear, while the blokes favour Tapout shirts tight enough to show off the fruits of their disciplined steroid abuse.
Gosford is home to the Central Coast Mariners football team, who play their home games at three-quarters of a stadium on the waterfront. Due to a dearth of fans, the ground only has stands on three sides; the fourth borders a road by the sea, allowing the Mariners’ usually wayward strikers to boot the ball into the drink with unsurprising regularity.
Other crapholes along the Coast include “Terrible” Terrigal, “Wrong” Wyong, and the activewear-wearing single-parent mecca Copacabana (named after a Barry Manilow song). The Entrance magically transforms into the Gaza Strip annually after being ravaged by Sydneysiders over the Christmas period. The witticisms “God’s waiting room” and “the world’s only above-ground cemetery” have been co-opted to describe numerous retirement towns but were originally coined by Spike Milligan for the geriatric camp of Woy Woy, a sort of mini-Gosford but with even more coffin dodgers.
Whether you are an old fart wanting to expire by the ocean or simply feel like getting stabbed at a beach, the Central Coast is for you!
ALSO KNOWN AS: Cenny Coast, Centrelink Coast, Mental Coast.
Cold, grey and stranded in the Blue Mountains, Lithgow is deader than a baby in a dingo’s den. The miserable ghost town is inhabited by packs of listless mountain people with pallid skin and dead eyes, all permanently adorned in trackpants, otherwise known as “trackie daks” or “sex offender trousers”. The only daytime activities in town are sitting around, watching tumbleweeds roll down the main street and staring at people, while “night-life” consists of sitting around, getting smashed on cheap piss, watching the odd drag race down the main street and staring at people. If you do plan to visit, be warned that cracking a smile in Lithgow will get you beaten up.
Lithgow’s industry consists of numerous mines, mills, plants and factories all closing down as fast as they can. The only things still operating there are a train station that does a roaring trade on departures and a maximum-security prison. Lithgow was the site of the Small Arms Factory, a weapons plant manned entirely by people with small arms. The factory went belly-up when it became clear that its genetically challenged workers were significantly less productive than their competitors.
Lithgow’s premier event is the annual Ironfest festival, which includes a jousting tournament and a colonial war re-enactment, attracting virgins from all over New South Wales. A popular nearby attraction is the Glowworm Tunnel, which is popular mainly because it provides visitors with an excuse to briefly leave Lithgow. The disused railway tunnel is filled with glowing lights which are mistakenly believed to be glow-worms but are actually the illuminated eyes of Lithgow locals lurking in the shadows and staring at tourists. In Lithgow, it’s not just the bracing cold that will give you shivers.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Liffgow.
A bunker of blue-collar (or no-collar) bogans at the base of the Blue Mountains, Penrith is a super-slum notorious for its population of feral housos, yobbos and other ruffians. Despite the loose nature of its inmates, the Greater Western Sydney suburb is actually replete with amenities that any westie can truly appreciate: bespoke meth labs, palatial pokie dens and loads of wilderness in which to hide a body.
The Penrith uniform consists of a mullet or rat’s tail, ugg boots and a flannel shirt with a pack of Winnie Blues tucked into the upper sleeve (unisex) with a Southern Cross tattoo on either the bicep (for men) or the right breast (for women). The most popular pastime involves proud Aussie primary school dropouts moaning that they can barely make their next meth payment because educated immigrants took all the jobs.
Penrith is commonly known by locals as “Penriff” or “The Riff” due to the local accent/speech impediment, a source of constant confusion for Sydneysiders passing through on their way to Liffgow or Baffurst. The suburb’s most popular sports team is the Penrith Panthers, or in local parlance, the “Panfers”. The NRL team originally carried the derisive nickname “the Chocolate Soldiers”, which interestingly, given the make-up of their fan base, was not a racist slur but actually a reference to their sh*t-coloured jerseys.
Penrith is also home to the Museum of Fire, a tribute to the suburb’s long tradition of urban arson.
Otherwise known as “London for Aussies who can’t handle a twentyhour flight”, Sydney is a sweltering sh*t crucible beset by a confusing layout, horrific traffic and ever-increasing property prices that mean the only people who can really afford to live there are crooked investment bankers, crooked politicians and the children of crooked media moguls.
Sydney’s iconic landmarks are the Sydney Opera House (which was designed by a Dane), Sydney Harbour Bridge (which was designed by Scots) and Bondi Beach (which was nicked from the natives). In addition to Bondi, Sydney boasts an abundance of beaches, which would be great if not for the fact that most of its residents spend the majority of their time either working to pay outsized rent or mortgages or stuck in seemingly endless traffic jams. If you do find five minutes to visit a beach, it will be covered with tourists and Instagram models scrapping to take the perfect selfie. Night-life is no longer an option after “Sadney” implemented nonsensical lockout laws designed to curb Australia’s favourite nocturnal pastime: coward punching strangers while queuing for a dodgy kebab.
In many respects Sydney is actually a bunch of sh*t towns loosely amalgamated into a giant, sloppy, steaming sh*tropolis. The eastern suburbs are filled with ex-private-school boys driving midlife crisis machines, looking for their next trophy wife while avoiding being charged with insider trading. The northern beaches are filled with surfer stereotypes who refuse to cross the bridge under any circumstances and will happily stab you for the perfect wave. The inner west is filled with paleo-obsessed hipsters sipping on a wide range of soy-based beverages while pursuing a career as a “social media influencer” and letting their property developer parents pay their rent. Southern Sydney is where flag-wearing rednecks stage most of their race riots. While the majority of Sydneysiders like to pretend their city ends somewhere around Annandale, Greater Western Sydney is where they keep their bogans, benefit cheats and prospective ISIS recruits.
ALSO KNOWN AS: Sydders, Sydneyside, Sadney, Sh*tney, Sydenee.
Wollongong is synonymous with most words starting with ‘un’: uncultured, unsafe, uninspiring, unclean, unsightly, undeniably unpleasant, unemployment, unprotected sex, unconsciousness and uncle-dads. Full of decaying buildings and relying on a raft of dying heavy industries, the crime-ridden industrial wasteland is essentially a rustier version of Newcastle.
Commonly called “The Gong” because of all the bashings, Wollongong is home to a wide swath of undesirable characters including drunken deros, strung-out needle fiends and an inexplicable number of personal trainers. Popular activities include getting caught in a coalmine explosion, getting glassed in Crown Street Mall, getting stabbed at the railway station and getting beaten up for having the wrong colour shirt or skin. Former lord mayor Frank Arkell once coined the phrase “Wonderful Wollongong” to promote the city – then again, former lord mayor Frank Arkell was an alleged paedophile who ended up being brutally murdered in his own home, which somewhat undermines his slogan.
Aside from general violence and disrepair, Wollongong is famous for its beaches, which is fortunate because any length of time in town will leave you with the overwhelming desire to walk into the sea. Unfortunately, said beaches are all massively polluted by both local litterbugs and Port Kembla, the city’s primary cancer complex and coal export/heroin import docks. Wollongong features two lighthouses, each as sh*t as the other: Wollongong Breakwater Lighthouse, which doesn’t work, and Wollongong Head Lighthouse, which looks like a giant tampon.
TOWN SLOGAN: Newcastle for People Who Have Given Up.
ALSO KNOWN AS: The Gong, Woolly, Wollongronk, Wollonwrong, Wollonbong, Woollydong.
This is an extract from Sh*t Towns of Australia, Allen and Unwin, $20