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Offbeat

Hair to stay: Australians celebrate the resilience of the mullet

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 24 February, 2018, 9:19pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 24 February, 2018, 10:34pm

“Business at the front, party at the back” was the mantra for the crowd of Australians sporting a mullet haircut at an inaugural festival celebrating the vintage style on Saturday.

More than 150 people showcasing the hairstyle popular in the 1970s and 80s flocked to a small town north of Sydney for the event, swishing their locks and parading their chops to cheering fans.

The mullet has remained a staple hairstyle in Kurri Kurri, some 150km (90 miles) from Sydney, according to Laura Johnson, a local publican who organised the festival.

“There’s a school of thought from our locals at our table of knowledge here at the Chelly (Chelmsford) Hotel that they have had the mullets for the longest,” she said in Kurri Kurri on Saturday.

“We’ve got folks here that have been sporting their mullet haircut for over 60 years.”

For Lloyd Martin, a flamboyant mullet-contest participant passionate about the style, the cut is timeless and also intrinsically Australian.

“It’s … one of the most Australian cultural haircuts you can have. You’ve got to grow a mullet at least once in your lifetime. It’s not a hairstyle, it’s a lifestyle,” he insisted.

The winner of the junior division, 12-year-old Alex Keavy, said he was not fazed by the style’s old-fashioned reputation.

“It’s out of its time but I still like it and all my friends keep telling me that they want one but I don’t think a lot of people can wear it properly,” he said.

“I just love it because I like its style and I like long hair.”

Laurie Manurele, who drove 12 hours from the neighbouring state of Victoria to take part in the contest, has tended his mullet for 46 years.

He said he was impressed at the competition he faced.

“The quality of mullets here today is absolutely unbelievable,” he said.

“It’s amazing what’s out there and Australia is the capital of the world for mullets.”