You are on page 1of 289

Professor Arthur Veno was born in the United States and has lived in Australia since 1974. Most recently director of Monash University’s Centre for Police and Justice Studies, Veno has studied bikie clubs for 27 years. But he’s no ordinary academic—he attends club nights, field days and runs, and counts members of the Gypsy Jokers, Hell’s Angels and Coffin Cheaters as his friends. Known as the Mad Professor, Veno grows trees on his farm in rural Victoria, and is a consultant to various groups on human rights and criminal justice issues. He also continues to work with the bikie clubs, most recently advising clubs in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales as they counter tough anti-bikie laws in those states. He has also served as an adviser providing submissions from bikies and underworld figures to the Secretariat of the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee to review the Serious and Organised Crimes Act. He has been called a ‘rat’ and a ‘dog’ by bikies and a ‘bikie apologist’ and ‘total fraud’ by South Australian Premier Mike Rann.

This page intentionally left blank

The Brotherhoods
Inside the Outlaw Motorcycle Clubs

Arthur Veno with Ed Gannon 3rd Edition

The poems on pages 120 and 131–32 are reproduced from Some Biker Bitches Poetry by Kimberly Manning, Author’s Choice Press, 2000, with permission from the author. The story of Sherry on pages 129–30 is reproduced with permission of Allen & Unwin and Sherry, and is taken from Biker Chicks: The magnetic attraction of women to bad boys and big motorcycles by Arthur Veno and Edward Winterhalder, 2009.

First published in 2002 This revised edition published in 2009 Copyright © Arthur Veno and Ed Gannon 2009 All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without prior permission in writing from the publisher. The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) allows a maximum of one chapter or 10 per cent of this book, whichever is the greater, to be photocopied by any educational institution for its educational purposes provided that the educational institution (or body that administers it) has given a remuneration notice to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) under the Act. Allen & Unwin 83 Alexander Street Crows Nest NSW 2065 Australia Phone: (61 2) 8425 0100 Fax: (61 2) 9906 2218 Email: info@allenandunwin.com Web: www.allenandunwin.com Cataloguing-in-Publication details are available from the National Library of Australia www.librariesaustralia.nla.gov.au ISBN 978 1 74237 122 1 Index by Jon Jeremy Set in 10.5/15 pt ITC New Baskerville Std by Bookhouse, Sydney Printed and bound in Australia by Griffin Press 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

Thanks and appreciation to Sue Hines at Allen & Unwin for her support and encouragement.To Elizabeth Veno. . And to my missing friend. my partner in life. Steve ‘Horrible’ Williams. best friend and soul mate.

This page intentionally left blank .

We are the last free people in society. Mr Average would be happy being told by the government what to think. when to drink. That’s not us.We are modern-day heroes. Hell’s Angel . like Ned Kelly. when to fuck.

This page intentionally left blank .

Contents
Chapter one ThE MAd ProfEssor Chapter two 1% of hisTory Chapter three ThE LurE of ThE BikE Chapter Four froM BikEr To BikiE Chapter Five ThE CLuBs Chapter six ruLEs, BLoody ruLEs Chapter seven fun And GAMEs Chapter eight hiT And MyTh Chapter nine ChiCks And oL’ LAdiEs Chapter ten BoMBs And BAsTArdry Chapter eleven ThE WAr Chapter twelve ThE ouTLAWs Chapter thirteen on ThE nosE: CLuBs And druGs Chapter Fourteen ThE BiG BLuE GAnG Chapter FiFteen undEr siEGE Chapter sixteen fLiGhT And fiGhT Chapter seventeen ThE finAL run GLossAry sourCEs indEx 1 17 26 35 52 73 88 103 120 138 161 169 178 190 204 227 244 256 262 268

This page intentionally left blank

Chapter one ThE MAd ProfEssor
‘Let’s go get a cup of coffee at Maccas,’ they said. Who was I to argue? The guys suggesting it were only the kingpins in one of the meanest bikie clubs in the land who’d asked me along to a meeting to ‘discuss’ a few things. As I tentatively climbed into what turned out to be an extraordinarily loud car, I somehow knew there wasn’t going to be any coffee. My arse is grass, I thought. There was some small talk—they talked, I felt small—then they told me what was going on. I was at once relieved and frightened. They didn’t want to kill me, but they wanted to do the next best thing—get me to grass a bikie. They told me how they had a problem with one of their members and his amphetamine factory. They wanted me to act as a go-between to dump him in it. At that point I became one of the few outsiders to be not only privy to, but actually involved in, outlaw club business. This was incredible stuff. To dob in a brother in the bikie world is the greatest sin. Yet, here I was being asked to do just that. I’d lay a bet I was the first professor to ever be asked to do such a thing. I’d also bet I was the first professor mad enough to get myself into that situation. I tell that story, which I’ll expand on later, to answer the most common question people ask me: what does a middle-aged professor know about outlaw motorcycle clubs? Or, more specifically, what can

someone who’s never been a club member and who rarely rides a motorcycle reveal about bikie clubs? I’d ask the same question. My answer is that things are not always what they seem. Gangs and bikie clubs are my professional and personal passion. I am often referred to as Australia’s foremost independent expert on the outlaw motorcycle clubs because I’ve been studying them for 27 years. This currently makes me one of a small group of academics in the world who have made it their focus. However, before I get into all that, I’d better tell you a bit about myself and how I fell into the world of the outlaw motorcycle clubs. I’m a Yank, born in Burlington, Vermont, just below the Canadian border, in 1945. These days I live in Australia and hold dual Australian– American citizenship. No sooner could I walk than Dad, a sergeant major in the US army, began his round of international postings. By the age of 12 I’d lived in Greece, Germany, Italy, France and Turkey, before we returned to the United States, to a town called Monterey, about 106 kilometres south of San Francisco. An incident was to occur in that town a few years later that changed the image of motorcycle clubs forever. That event also changed my life, for I was caught right in the thick of it. I suppose my life was headed toward gang culture the moment we moved to Monterey. By this time Dad had retired from the army due to ill health, and was supporting his family on an army pension so, as you can imagine, we weren’t destined for the flashiest part of town. We settled on the edge of a black ghetto, a part of town characterised by heavy gang activity. The Hispanic and black gangs were the kings of the neighbourhood. Many of my mates joined these gangs, and I’d occasionally hang out with them. But I never joined a gang myself. I discovered I had an aptitude for American football, or gridiron, as Australians call it. I was pretty good at it, to the point where it enabled me to gain sporting scholarships all the way through high school and junior college in Monterey, then onto San Francisco State University where I completed a Bachelor of Arts in psychology. However, I never made it to the pros. I did try out for the San Francisco 49ers, but I
2 ThE BrOThErhOOds

was only good enough to be a ‘practice dummy’—the guys the good players batter around at practice. I enjoyed the few bucks I earned, and I got the chance to rub shoulders with a few of the big names. Joe Montana arrived after I was in my final year in the ‘meat squad’, as we called it. Nathan Johns, the great all-pro defensive back, lived just around the corner from me in the Monterey ghettos. My first contact with motorcycle clubs was at the Labor Day rally of 1964, held in Monterey. It was that weekend that left a scar on the reputation of all bikies across America. I was home from university for the weekend and heard that the Hell’s Angels were in town. A few mates and I decided to go and check them out. We’d heard about the demonic bikers, so when we got there we hung back cautiously for some time, just watching and absorbing. We eventually joined their party and were surprised to discover they were merely people committed to Harley-Davidson motorcycles and having a good time. We didn’t find it at all threatening. To a 19-year-old they weren’t a bad bunch of people to party with. However, the Hell’s Angels’ reputation was notorious enough for the police to organise a camp for the club at the beach on the outskirts of town. I estimate there were about 25 to 30 Hell’s Angels at the camp. That night there was a party at the camp, so my mates and I thought we’d check this out too. Unbeknown to us, there were two under-age girls at the party, one aged 14 and the other, 15. One girl was black, the other white and pregnant. The girls accompanied between two and five Hell’s Angels down to the beach, away from the party, where it was later claimed a series of sexual attacks took place. There were conflicting stories about the girls’ willingness to participate in sexual activity. However, at the time, the girls appeared back at the campsite looking extremely distressed. We jumped to our feet and rushed over to the girls to find out what was wrong. I also remember many of the Hell’s Angels gathering around to comfort the girls—it’s an image that has stuck with me because it was so at odds with the image of the club. When the police arrived the girls identified a number of men, who were arrested.
ThE Mad PrOfEssOr 3

I was there and I just couldn’t see that they were as evil as they were made out to be. have fought like tigers to save the girls’. This led to a violent confrontation between the Hell’s Angels and the students at a Berkeley campus protest. said to one of the boys. took umbrage at the students’ constant barrage of criticism of the Vietnam War. repeatedly raping . according to one account. and reporters from the New York Times. Some stories said the girls were on a date with two boys and were in the middle of roasting weenies (sausages) on the beach when 4000 Hell’s Angels appeared over the dunes and. I could really see how the bikies were vilified. The local Hell’s Angels and the university students had been getting along fine until the anti-Vietnam War issue arose. with the media trying to make them seem evil. As they approached the police line a group of 4 ThE BrOThErhOOds . . I suppose my life-long academic search started that weekend. portraying the Hell’s Angels as ‘dirty stinking thugs . with their military roots. . The Nation and other national newspapers descended upon Monterey. the Saturday Evening Post.The media was soon onto it. The three US television networks covered the event. I had my next formative experience with the bikie clubs. girls aged 14 and 15’. Berkeley was a hotbed of anti-war protest in the United States and the club members. Four Hell’s Angels members were arrested and charged with rape. (This was shortly after Hell’s Angels president Sonny Barger had written to the President offering a platoon of Hell’s Angels for service in the war. only to have the charges later dropped. Emotions in the town ran high. we’re just going to break the girls in for you. near San Francisco. A few years later. but I needed to know more before I made up my own mind. I didn’t discount that they could be. It also made a huge impression on me.’ The boys were alleged to ‘. . Another ‘Folk Devil’ had been created.) Student and hippy demonstrators marching from People’s Park encountered a line of police at City Hall. ‘Don’t worry. At the time. . Time. . son. when I was studying for my PhD at the University of California at Berkeley. Newsweek. By this time it was too late: the legend of the outlaw motorcycle club had been forged indelibly in the minds of the public. .

then got off their bikes and stood in front of the police. and even went on a few runs (organised group rides). Nonetheless. it proved to be another watershed experience. I found myself in the thick of it all. where I got to know more about them. I worked as a research psychologist in the prisons on a program called the Prisoners’ Union. Many of them were hard cases who’d been inside for a long time. not just for me. I was even the celebrant at a bikie wedding. As they approached the bikies. a van that took prisoners who had been released from the notorious San Quentin Prison to Berkeley or San Francisco. Once more. My work ThE Mad PrOfEssOr 5 . abusing the marchers. but also for the United States. I was forever running into various club members around San Francisco. now I had been involved in two remarkable events in outlaw motorcycle club history. through my studies of criminal psychology. so the union offered them short-term accommodation in a halfway house. It’s a legitimate religious order in the United States. Luckily I wasn’t in the firing line when the scuffles started. things got ugly and a few of the marchers were chain-whipped and stomped. and it didn’t turn into one of those real stompings of which the clubs are capable.Hell’s Angels roared in on their bikes and parked between the police and the protesters. The union ran the San Quentin Train. I suppose I was being drawn towards the bikies. and the circumstances in which I had grown up. Being a member of the church also entitled me to visit prisoners to ‘save their souls’. who were quite surprised by their arrival. a prisoners’ rights advocacy group. I actually joined for taxation purposes. So. as well as to have the ability to marry and bury friends. As part of my PhD in social psychology. which led me to become even more heavily involved in the clubs. officiating at the marriage of my Gypsy Joker friend after I bought a lifetime preacher’s licence in the Universal Life Church for a dollar. my personal experiences. Whether I liked it or not. and it consolidated the country’s views of the bikie clubs. it was more a political statement of support for the armed servicemen overseas. Many Hell’s Angels and other club members are part of it. A close mate of mine was in the Gypsy Jokers and I went to open nights at his club and others.

I had three choices: I could go to Cambridge University in the United Kingdom to do some post-doctoral study. I then spent some time in Perth at Curtin University as director of Community Psychology. the centre of the counterculture. or to the University of Queensland in Australia for a tenured academic position. philosophy and religion. free love and dope smoking. right-wing regime that seemed to outlaw any sort of public thought.involved looking at violence and family background. I finally settled at Monash University. I endured it for four years. I chose Australia. ready to begin my new career. where I was appointed senior research fellow. They changed their minds about letting me teach religion on the first day on the job because they didn’t want me filling students’ heads with any crazy Quaker notions. I had a great time in Zambia. that was the plan. where I held a number of roles including director of the Centre for Police and Justice Studies. From there I moved to the University of Zambia. the campus was put on the 6 ThE BrOThErhOOds . In 1999–2000 I spent 12 months in South Africa working for Technikon SA. for three years. Well. before moving to Charles Sturt University in Bathurst. let alone the slightest whiff of counterculture. and at the University of South Africa as a visiting research fellow studying violence among street gangs. After finishing my PhD. where I was to head the department of psychology. I had moved to an incredibly tight. Langley Porter would have allowed me to continue my research but there were virtually no academic jobs available. where I set up my own private practice as a humanrelations consultant. I’d arrived at the height of Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s reign. that was tough. It meant I was forever coming across bikies in prison. but I eventually found myself back in Queensland. I immediately encountered something I was not prepared for— Queensland. I arrived in Australia in 1974. From San Francisco. Africa. or I could stay in the United States where I had a post-doctoral fellowship at the Langley Porter Neuro-Psychiatric Institute. before I decided to escape to Sydney and the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics. It was a great experience and led to my appointment as Dean at Monash University’s new South African Arts Faculty. However. Man.

After my experiences at Bathurst I applied for a grant from the Australian Institute of Criminology to study why the riots were occurring and how the event could be run more peacefully. Of course. scalping her. It turns out there had been rioting between the bikers and the police at the races on and off since an incident in the late 1970s. so I naturally kept an interested eye on what was happening. Western Australia. I went to Bathurst for the annual Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix only to find myself in the midst of yet another watershed event for the motorcycle movement. I guess my business card slogan should be ‘Have mouth—will travel’ in relation to bikies. It wasn’t until 1981. though. so I took a retirement package to grow trees on my farm. I accepted. That year. Ninety police were injured and 100 arrests were made.back burner due to low enrolments. The Australian motorcycle club scene kicked in just as I arrived in the country. ThE Mad PrOfEssOr 7 . My most recent professional activities have been working for the Secretariat of the Joint Standing Parliamentary Committee to review the Australian Crimes Commission’s Serious and Organised Crimes Act and helping the New South Wales police force attempt to stop a very nasty war brewing in that state. was it a blue. Tension between the police and the bikers. More on that war later. In an already highly charged atmosphere it proved the trigger that caused the situation to explode. finally boiled over into a massive riot. They loved my application. that the professional interest I maintain today began to develop. when police had driven over a woman sleeping on the ground. Victoria and South Australia. I’m also a recognised expert on bikie culture for the Supreme Courts of New South Wales. Boy. offering me more money than I’d asked for. In recent years I have worked with the Gypsy Jokers in Adelaide to try to soothe relations with the Rann government and have helped police in almost all Australian states devise techniques to prevent bikie wars and eliminate the criminal element of the outlaw clubs. After a couple of years Monash asked me to return to become an adjunct professor in their School of Social and Political Inquiry. which had been brewing for years.

We interviewed and surveyed bikers. Crowds dropped to less than a quarter of previous years. joined me in looking at the problem. later into the project. In that time we felt we’d worked out the problem. police and townsfolk. eventually driving the Grand Prix out of Bathurst. For three years we studied the event. It was great for those first few years. We had cops and bikies riding together to make sure everyone kept 8 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Rudi and I were appointed advisers to the Major Incident Planning Unit. Their heavy-handedness was like a red rag to a bull for the bikers. when the Coffin Cheaters flew their flag from the island’s major hotel we were able to talk to all the clubs to make sure it wasn’t a problem. and Liz. a student of mine. and down to Phillip Island in Victoria. on the other hand. she had served in the police force for three years. and. Rudi. sending people in to mingle with the bikers and to see what was going on. We suggested they back off a bit and consult with the bikers before the event to set a few rules that everyone could live with. The report fell upon deaf ears in the New South Wales police force. Rudi Grassecker. Without this level of consultation the action probably would have led to violence between the clubs. the Victoria Police took our recommendations on board. they chose the opposite path. with more than 525 charges laid after a massive riot in 1985. is a dedicated biker with a thirst for understanding what’s going on around him. This only served to produce the most violent clashes ever seen at Bathurst. Elizabeth. which was designing the Phillip Island event. By this time. We were an interesting team. more importantly for the study. Our plan worked fantastically. Our report to the Australian Criminology Research Council—which is comprised of the most senior bureaucrats of the justice system in all states and territories—indicated that it was the policing style that was the fundamental cause of the violence.My wife. many bikers had grown sick of the violence and decided to boycott the following year’s event. adopting a get-tough stance. For instance. Elizabeth has a BA in psychology. Instead. A senior Hell’s Angel from the club’s Nomad chapter met with the police and sorted out the issue in a few minutes. In contrast. however.

and the outlaw motorcycle clubs hold the reciprocal view of the police. attracting about 4000 people each year. At least 15 outlaw motorcycle clubs attended the 25-hectare campsite. By 2000 it was back on track when the police realised they had to get the clubs and bikers involved again. complete with sniffer dogs. 10 kilometres from town. It was believed they might show at the event. one biker made a run for it. on the only sealed road leading from Broadford to the concert venue. The major problem at Broadford was the Hell’s Angels’ view that the concert was a private event. The club has been staging the weekend event since 1976. the first day of the concert. Both sides agreed it was one of the best-run biker events ever held. on the Friday. The police disagreed. preferring to sit at the gates and monitor the comings and goings of the bikies. I went along to the briefing for these police and was staggered to find the Australian Federal Police had sent a contingent of officers carrying photos of outlaw motorcycle club members wanted by police. weapons and even explosives. The roadblock was in place 24 hours a day for the duration of the concert. Up to 50 extra police converged on the town for the event each December. north of Melbourne. as cars and bikes slowly inched their way through the roadblock. because these sorts of initiatives need constant tweaking. They never actually entered the property. Apart from one or two arrests for possession of cannabis. He was close to being searched when ThE Mad PrOfEssOr 9 . In 1986 the Hell’s Angels asked my team to monitor the police roadblocks at their annual Broadford concert. motorcycle and occasional pedestrian was stopped and thoroughly searched for drugs. To have someone in the middle liaising was perfect for both groups. saying that because alcohol was being served at the venue they had the right to enter. My work with the Grand Prix at Bathurst opened many doors to the clubs for me. They regard the outlaw motorcycle clubs as a serious problem. the police set up a roadblock. On the Friday. The police welcomed our involvement.m. Every car. though.the peace at the event. Unfortunately it went off the rails a few years after our involvement. when at about 5 p. where each club had its own camp. there was only one moment of excitement. meaning police were not permitted on site.

I hope. and had posted a strong young male sergeant on the path where the biker had evaded the roadblock only minutes before. It was pretty tense—it was clear the biker meant to burst through the blockade again but was blocked by the police who were frantically waving their arms in the hope that they would stop him. there was a second. The cops jumped on him and searched him thoroughly before carting him off to hospital with a broken collarbone. It also carried a few extra passengers who may have otherwise had trouble arriving in the conventional way. It was always a game of cat and mouse between the clubs and police at Broadford. Strangely enough. When he saw them. It didn’t take long for the bikies wanted by police to figure out a hassle-free way to get into the concert—turn up a day early. too. unpaved road that gave access to the concert site. and decided to gun for the narrow passage at full throttle. The police were ready for him this time round. enduring 60 kilometres of bone-jarring gravel and ruts was considered a better option than facing 60 days in the slammer.he suddenly gunned the bike and shot off the road and headed for a small gap beside the roadblock. There were some more sophisticated strategies. to which. The cops got a shock when they saw him roaring past towards the entrance to the concert ground. The biker could still see some light beneath the now overhanging sapling. Meanwhile. unsealed road. however. which puzzled the police. They later discovered he’d recently been released from a mental hospital. he was returned upon recovering from his injuries. he did a U-turn and headed back toward the roadblock. smacking the bloke fair in the face at about 80 kilometres per hour. To someone on the police wanted list. He was clean. a helicopter was used to ferry a band onto the site. The rider didn’t realise that waiting further down the road. Next to the path lay some freshly chopped saplings. The police didn’t 10 ThE BrOThErhOOds . One year in the mid-1990s. the young sergeant took a different course of action. He grabbed one and held it across the path to stop the rider. As he reached the path around the roadblock the sergeant dropped the tree. were two police cars. but it meant a 60-kilometre detour on a rough. around a corner.

when they finally cottoned onto what was happening. I’ll make the first move because they have some information I’m after.patrol it until the late 1980s. nor am I pushing the police line. I take the time to get the story straight because to be straight is so important to me. My relationship with all the clubs is initially built on what I can offer them. I just want to get the real story so the clubs and the police can coexist harmoniously. so self-policing at the event was all that was required. I suppose I’m in the unique position of being able to do that. As I get to know them they become trusted sources of information and in many cases it has developed into friendships with the members. the bikers were well behaved. With others. Out of courtesy. Twice I’ve been asked to act as a go-between for clubs in their dealings with the police. but I call it as I see it. over the years I’ve got to know the clubs pretty well. and there is no one easy way to do it. a large research organisation sent me an FBI report on outlaw motorcycle clubs. The report pointed the finger at one particular club as being a major player in making and dealing amphetamines. Some clubs approach me because they’ve heard of my work advising other clubs. Naturally. and so I could get ThE Mad PrOfEssOr 11 . Most of my research work is done not to find out how the clubs operate but to look at events such as Broadford where there is friction between the bikers and the police. which went to both the police and the Hell’s Angels. The gist of it was that the police were remarkably restrained in light of the briefing they received. out of the blue. This was something I never expected I’d be asked to do. The goal of the research has been to understand the clubs well enough to develop a viable and appropriate form of policing them. I’m not pushing the bikies’ line. It takes a long time to get to know the clubs. We completed our report. attending club nights and field days of clubs such as the Coffin Cheaters and Hell’s Angels. and it identified one of the three Australian chapters as being a major producer. You might think my relationship with the clubs would make me sympathetic towards them. In 1990. From the club’s side.

‘Let’s go get a cup of coffee at Maccas. . but they could only be of benefit to the club. at 11 a.’ There was no need for him to expand. I knew what I’d sent were sensitive documents.) I arranged to meet the sergeant-at-arms.’ he said. the bloke who would bust your balls. The conversation then shifted to the documents. I mailed the report to the chapter in question. I was very worried by this stage. opposite Crown Casino. In fact. It was a Ford. The gist of it was that he wanted to know if I had any more. They’d kick him out. When the car was moving and at a sufficient noise level. They didn’t like it because it was obviously drawing too much attention towards them. A loud Ford. The club was very keen to get its hands on them.’ he said. . They wanted to see me. We’re going to expel him. ‘It’s not a club thing. he blurted it out. and then provide the details to me to pass onto the police. it was a bloody loud Ford. We’ve got a member with a problem up in [a country town] and the club’s about to take care of him. He went to great lengths to explain that the club didn’t sanction what the member was doing. ‘If you can find a way to communicate it . When we arrived back at the hotel.their reaction. (This is the case I referred to at the start of this chapter. but I’d see what I could do. I felt very relieved. at the Queensbridge Hotel in South Melbourne. They were grassing the member. It certainly wasn’t the standard 12 ThE BrOThErhOOds . ‘Look.’ The problem was amphetamines. I knew something serious was happening. I began to panic. About two weeks later I received a phone call from the club. and he began to talk about things in general. which could possibly end with me being stomped.m. I said I didn’t. We went outside and got into his car. We set off. one cool April Thursday. It was in this sleazy hotel that he suddenly asked me to go for a drive with him. I was getting out of the car when he suddenly changed his mind and told me to get back in. I won’t bullshit you. I didn’t have a problem with what he was asking of me. it’s a person thing.

He listened respectfully and moved on the matter quickly. with a corrupt cop involved they couldn’t just bowl into the local cop shop and spill the beans.researcher role. They gave me names and the location of the amphetamines factory. the only other academic I know of who did similar work with the clubs. known academically as action research.’ he said. did the same thing by riding with the Rebels in Canada to find out more about them. ‘I’ll guarantee we will get the factory closed down. Who was to know how wide the tentacles of corruption had spread? I was fortunate enough to know an assistant commissioner. but I was happy with what I had done. The president and vice-president of the club came to my house and asked me to go for a drive. Arrests were made. They explained the deal. and said they owed me a favour. The late Professor Daniel Wolf. Academia doesn’t adequately prepare you for mysterious drives in loud cars with burly men discussing police deals. ‘No. and asked if I’d be willing to handle the matter for them. What made this case a bit sticky was the small matter of a corrupt cop entwined in the deal. but decided against it. and his place was raided soon after.’ His word was good. by someone with a contact in the police hierarchy who could be trusted. then I figured it was okay. where a researcher becomes involved in their research area. About a year later the same club had another member involved in manufacturing amphetamines. If it helped bring peace and get some drugs off the street. I said I’d help. known for his policy on cleaning up the force. The club thanked me for my help. It was a legitimate research tool. including the issue of the corrupt cop. I asked for assurance that they weren’t using this to scare the bloke into getting rid of his goods. He got 10–15 years. ThE Mad PrOfEssOr 13 . I didn’t hear another word from the club on the matter—until the next time. Some may criticise me for becoming involved. which I’ve never had to call on. Obviously. I spoke to a contact in the police force. it was a very loud car. and prosecutions of all parties were successful. The member was expelled. It had to be handled delicately. Both the club and the cops did their part. I initially intended to talk to a close contact in the taskforce that deals with amphetamines. Again.

as it stands in stark contrast to the time I spoke out in the media in 1998 about the spate of shootings by the Victoria Police in the mid-1990s. The police were so sensitive about the situation that I suffered severe repercussions. They took the club’s safe and eventually blew it open. I don’t know whether the label of being Australia’s foremost outlaw motorcycle club expert is technically correct. have you seen this?’ It wouldn’t have taken too long for the police to work out who Art was. They shut off my access to grants and wrote to my boss indicating that unless I pulled my head in. I never heard a word about it from either the police or the club. The vice chancellor asked me to explain what had happened. which I did. I agreed to shut up.The Monash University ethics committee initially freaked out when I told them what had happened. about four months after these incidents the clubhouse was raided by the police. Interestingly. in my role as head of the Police and Justice Studies Centre. Being asked to act as the go-between by clubs was a major landmark event in my work. 14 ThE BrOThErhOOds . On its cover was scrawled: ‘Art. I basically said the police were overreacting by pulling their guns too hastily and they needed to retrain the force on firearm use. during which we sorted out our differences over a bottle of red wine. and he agreed not to shoot me (just joking). Inside it was the FBI report I’d handed on to them. I was in a position where I could collect real information on what it was like to be a member. I eventually called the guy in charge of police training and bought him lunch. and I didn’t suffer any consequences in my work with the police. and that was the end of it from the uni’s side of things. they’d cut all contact with the university. I became interested in making some sort of definitive statement about bikers and club members. That amused me. God knows what they thought. because I actually consider myself a distant outsider to the outlaw club scene. so the issue was resolved. I got to know various club members and attended open houses and runs. but they eventually calmed down and agreed with my strategy. however. I was also developing a reputation as an authority on the clubs.

whether it’s for research. I have strong friendships with club members from the Gypsy Jokers. and that I know the fundamentals of the clubs. checked my sources. I’m now in constant contact with Australian outlaw bikie clubs. What became known as the Father’s Day massacre is acknowledged as a turning point in Australian motorcycle club history. in which seven people died. through my work liaising between the clubs and the police. There are some clubs I don’t know as well as the ones I’ve just mentioned. who act as conduits between clubs that may not be speaking to each other. bike painters and tattooists. I make a point of inviting each club member I meet to my house to meet my wife and kids. such as the Bandidos and the Black Uhlans. including national executive members of many of the clubs. photographers. Some are secretive. All I can say to my critics is that I’ve done the research thoroughly. I also have a fair idea whether something rings true or whether it’s too outlandish to be believed. (I look at this case in detail in Chapter 10. bands. I make my place open to them if they ever feel the need to drop in for a chat. Some are just plain hard to meet or get along with. Therefore. as each would regard me with great suspicion. I’ve been criticised because I’m not part of a club. The clubs employ many of the same strippers. or personal friendships. It’s important that each of my contacts knows I appreciate them as a friend. as they know more than anyone—often more than the actual bikies. I don’t ThE Mad PrOfEssOr 15 . I’m a bit of a rarity. I’m also a friend of members of the God Squad and other clubs that hang around the fringes of the outlaw scene. when I’m dealing with the Rebels. As an academic making bikies the centre of my study.Some of my best information comes from close insiders. Hell’s Angels and Coffin Cheaters. something all clubs have had to counter since. The Bandidos’ notoriety stems from their 1984 shoot-out with the Comancheros in the Sydney suburb of Milperra. not just as a source of information. These people are invaluable resources. which they occasionally do. I’m now in a position that if I want to know something I know who to ask and who will be on the ground at that point to give me the true story.) Such is the politics of the clubs scene that I can’t deal with a number of clubs at the same time.

and vice versa. I hope it will demystify the ‘demonic’ bikie image and reveal the true picture of the outlaw motorcycle clubs—the 1%ers. 16 ThE BrOThErhOOds . in itself. they’ll respect you. That. Many of the club members I associate with know of this book. such as the rules of clubs. There is a feeling among some clubs and club members that I’m out to exploit them. nor would I agree to do so. They’ve offered to help. but it is necessary. is a major conciliation for the clubs. However. As long as you respect them. This book has been written by an observer who has nothing to gain from either the clubs or police. and in many cases I’ve gladly accepted. and giving personal interviews. to use them to achieve my own personal goals. Likewise. a lot of members are happy for the book to be written. That’s why this book is a major issue for me. Respect is everything in dealing with the clubs. They’ve been invaluable in helping me straighten out some of the details. for a member to reveal anything about the club usually means instant expulsion. After all. I don’t want to abuse the trust of my friends. I haven’t been asked to exclude or gloss over any issues.have any contact with the Hell’s Angels. I’ve discussed it freely with them. It can make the process slow. I’m sure those members will feel the same about this book. I may find some surprises next time I see them. I hope not. Yet. they may find some surprises among these pages.

In a world of few secrets. It wasn’t until 1901 that the modern form of what we commonly call the motorcycle made its debut. Sarolea and Adler. loud and mean. By 1903 a significant number of motorcycle producers had been set up.Chapter two 1% of hisTory We’ve all seen them. Scruffy. . a motorised bicycle. the outlaw motorcycle clubs are perhaps one of the last secret groups to exist in our society. the following year. followed by its two-wheeled cousin. called the Silent Grey Fellow—a fantastic name for a motorcycle. with the three-wheeled variety the first to hit the road. with strange images and words covering their clothes. Triumph. it was the first product of a company that was to become synonymous with bikers and outlaw motorcycle clubs—Harley-Davidson. that the two-wheelers were actually more stable and handled better. With a single cylinder 25 cubic inch engine capable of three horsepower. to their surprise. The motorcycle roared into life in 1884. not many people know them. Where did they come from and why are they like that? Let’s take a little history lesson. including Griffon. Norton. Yet. A new manufacturer also produced its first motorcycle that year. Buchet. To begin with. the motorised tricycle was the dominant motorcycle until people realised. when a model with the engine located underneath the seat was introduced.

this adversity actually created the first motorcycle clubs. a trait they share with modern clubs. Harley-Davidsons were also mass-produced for large US Defence Department contracts during the war. or to bring attention to the fact that he owned a motorcycle. or in numerous cases absolutely devoid of muffling attachments. were actually subsidised by governments during the war. often consisted of unemployed men who rode their motorcycles in a gypsy-like fashion. was one such company. In some instances it was the rider’s desire for noise. such as Norton and Triumph. By 1909 motorcyclists already had the image of being non-conformists. These clubs. so important were the motorcycles to the war effort as a communication device. more commonly known as BSA. However. Well. British Small Armaments. A Harper’s Weekly magazine article of the time headlined ‘The rise of the motorcycle’ stated: They [motorcyclists] would ride in city or open country with their mufflers cut out. called Gypsy Motorcyclists in Australia.The two-wheeler gained its bad reputation almost immediately. With the onset of the Depression in 1929. committing petty crimes and taking menial labouring jobs to subsidise their nomadic lifestyle. but. The popularity of the motorcycle boomed. in other instances it was the owner’s desire for more power. whichever the case. But the people that you met in the towns and the country were 18 ThE BrOThErhOOds . due mainly to the role they played during World War I in carrying important dispatch information. due mainly to young men discovering there was nothing more exciting than getting on a motorcycle and riding as fast as possible. Many motorcycle manufacturers. From 1910 to 1929 the motorcycle industry grew rapidly. they [motorcycle rallies] were sort of like they are today. this offence in principle and in conjunction with that of unsuitable attire has done more to retard the advancement of motorcycling in general than all other arguments combined. The clubs rejected mainstream society values. motorcycle sales dropped dramatically in Western countries.

In the 1920s there is believed to have been an 1% Of hIsTOry 19 . The most common military motorcycle carrying important papers on the front line in World War II was the Harley-Davidson. Small cars had taken over many of the duties performed by motorcycles in World War I. Meeting lots of old friends. but motorcycles were still widely used for reconnaissance and communications. camping out in the outdoors. when World War II began. Occasionally some larrikin would throw gelignite down a toilet or do some other ridiculous thing but we always repaired any damage and made sure we were welcome back. as it had during World War I. there were no helmet laws then so it was a real feeling of freedom on the road. We loaded the old Norton on his truck and took it to his place [to repair]. It wasn’t unusual for police to come along and have a few drinks with us and there was no tension between the police and the clubs in those days. A lot of the clubs were just guys who were from the same workplace or same neighbourhood who started riding together on the weekend and holidays. evidence suggests. The riders were sitting ducks.much more friendly. I guess I was one of them for 10 years until I got settled down. The rallies themselves were not much different. I can remember breaking down on the way to a rally and me and my girlfriend were pushing the bike when a cocky [farmer] came by. motorcycle production rose again. so many riders today consider riding a green Harley will bring a similar fate. Old timer Gypsy Rider By 1939. These are really the guys who became known as Gypsy Riders. We ended up staying for three days with that bloke and his wife and I kept in contact with them for almost 20 years. it also provided one of the most famous names in the biker world—Hell’s Angels. a fighter squadron coined the name. this has led to a superstition among modern bikers that green Harley-Davidson motorcycles are bad luck. The war not only gave bikers some of their most endearing bikes. The term ‘Hell’s Angels’ has actually been around military circles since World War I when. In fact. decked out in military green paint.

Even today. When some of the 358th Bomber Squadron servicemen left the force they started a motorcycle club. Hundreds of old knuckleheads were sent to an abrupt end in unmarked graves across the land. Because of this and HarleyDavidson’s lack of interest in expanding into foreign markets after the war. After the war. Many joined the motorcycle clubs of the 20 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Kawasaki and Suzuki motorcycles as ‘Jap crap’. due to an amazing bureaucratic decision. prompted by the thousands of motorcycles sold off by the armed services. Honda. the names of the two atomic bombs dropped by the Allies on Japan in 1945. including the US Air Force 358th Bomber Squadron and a US Navy torpedo squadron. In 1930 millionaire Howard Hughes produced a war movie called Hell’s Angels. In the United States veterans returned home from the war looking for ways to spend their final army pay and let off some steam after years of military discipline. the motorcycle’s popularity soared. seemingly keen to play on the military theme. In the Korean War during the 1950s the 188th Airborne Paratroopers also called themselves the Hell’s Angels and used the same emblem. World War II also produced a significant grudge against Japanese bikes among the hardcore biker groups. emblazoning the emblem on the back of their riding jacket. Don’t tell me there hasn’t been a tear shed by the bikies when they hear that story. When the Americans left Australia after World War II they grabbed all the Harleys in armed service around Australia. an amalgam of Fat Man and Little Boy. Harley-Davidson. went so far as to name one of its models the Fat Boy. the outlaw clubs often refer to Yamaha. there were very few Harleys in Australia prior to the 1970s. while in World War II there were several military groups called the Hell’s Angels. which has been patented by the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. The equivalent bikes would fetch at least $30 000 apiece in mint condition today.American Motorcycle Association-affiliated club in Detroit called the Hell’s Angels but it has no association with the modern club. dug big ditches and buried them. Unfortunately Australia missed out on many of the war bikes. The now infamous Hell’s Angels death’s head emblem wearing a leather helmet. originally appeared on the fuselage of the 358th Bomber Squadron.

James Jones sums it up well in his book WWII: About the last thing to go was the sense of esprit. but the bike was cheap and the girls liked the bikes. Many realised they just didn’t fit back into society. After being discharged [from the army] I used my payout to buy a motorcycle. It’s funny but the bikes seemed to be something that kept the friendships going that had been made in the army. But many soon grew tired of that scene. . Just as there was nothing in civilian life that could replace the heavy daily excitement of danger. Some ‘outlaw’ clubs took pride in the fact that they didn’t belong to the national body. the love and understanding of men for men in dangerous times. Ex-serviceman The term ‘outlaw motorcycle club’ has been around for more than 100 years. happily portraying themselves as ‘bad boys’. I’ve still got the old BSA in the shed. and places and situations. I guess I did it because a few of my old army mates had done the same and encouraged me to come on rides with them. because there was nothing in civilian life that could replace it . The Boozefighters set a precedent for outlaw clubs by 1% Of hIsTOry 21 . In 1908 an outlaw motorcycle club was defined as one that did not belong to the clubs who formed the American Motorcyclists’ Association. This became the American Motorcycle Association in 1924. That was the hardest thing to let go of. Clubs that can trace their roots to this time include the Outlaws and Boozefighters.American Motorcycle Association. . Families and other civilian types would never understand that sense of esprit any more than they would understand the excitement of danger. and it was natural that they joined together to capture that esprit with equally restless mates. Veterans who’d buried their comrades in Europe and the Pacific Islands found the rallies and runs offered by the clubs just didn’t offer the same excitement.

) Life magazine also picked up the story.wearing the AMA patch upside down. But it wasn’t until nearly 50 years later that the outlaw bikie image was seared into the public mind. The patch clubs responded by embracing the 1 per cent tag. this was also a very bad pun. There were an estimated 2500 AMA-affiliated riders. there was a fullscale riot. The media made it a landmark event for the outlaw motorcycle clubs. about 100 kilometres south-east of San Francisco and not far from Monterey. The San Francisco Chronicle of 7 July 1947 described the event as ‘The 40 hours that shook Hollister’. up to 2000 motorcyclists went to the police station to demand his release. The arrested man is believed to have been a member of either the Pissed Off Bastards From Berdoo or the Boozefighters. as it’s now represented on patches. Presumably to defend the good name of motorcyclists. 22 ThE BrOThErhOOds . (As the town lies directly on the notorious San Andreas Fault. and bikers rode through red lights. According to media accounts. On 4 July 1947 the town of Hollister in California. Other accounts simply suggested the ‘boys got a little too drunk last night’. These ‘outlaw’ clubs soon became known as the 1 per centers or. played host to an American Motorcyclist Association event called the Gypsy Tour. the only serious crime problem was the attempted jail breakout of Wino Willie Faulkner. The AMA attempted to distance itself from what had happened. which is famous for its earthquakes.) There are claims that after police arrested a patch-club member for disorderly conduct. blaming the unaffiliated clubs. the 1%ers. the president of the AMA released a dramatic press statement describing the motorcycling community as being comprised of 99 per cent lawabiding citizens and 1 per cent outlaws. plus another 500 riders from patch clubs. (They were called this due to the patches the riders wore proclaiming their allegiance to their small club. the arrested biker. according to one interview in Easyrider magazine. bottles were thrown from multi-storey buildings. Motorcycles were ridden in bars and restaurants. It was undeniably a pretty wild occasion. Yet. urinated in public and generally caused mayhem.

The ex-servicemen who had formed the Pissed Off Bastards From Berdoo to recapture the camaraderie of the services suddenly found the focus of the club being changed by the new members. The clubs in these countries were not outlaw clubs. The notoriety served to attract new members. because they didn’t have the 1%er badges and office bearers. the movie inspired a new generation of young American rebels to gravitate to motorcycle clubs. A few years after Hollister came yet another milestone in the development of the modern outlaw clubs. upon hearing the suggested name. is reported to have said: ‘Yeah. The Wild One had an enormous social impact. as we’re a beat group. Motorcyclists across the Western world saw the Hollywood version of an outlaw motorcycle club rebel—the attitude. Germany.’) The UK scene was also bustling along. Australia. Almost instantly. ( John Lennon. the treatment of women. the Beatles pop group took its name from the Beetles Motorcycle Club. yet they all emulated the characters in the film. the disrespect for society. While there were many other renegade clubs across the United States at the time. such was the impact of the film. The fallout from Hollister meant the Hell’s Angels were now firmly in the spotlight as a renegade outlaw club. Marlon Brando played the leader of the Black Rebels Motorcycle Club and Lee Marvin played the leader of the Beetles Motorcycle Club. members who leant more to the outlaw aspect of the club. 1% Of hIsTOry 23 . The movie The Wild One was Hollywood’s version of Hollister. motorcycle clubs in England. this first chapter of the Hell’s Angels in San Bernardino. Besides setting the fashion for motorcyclists for years to come. Denmark and Italy were mimicking the dress and swagger of the film’s characters. New Zealand. and was pivotal in defining the image of outlaw clubs. with the Mods and Rockers on their scooters very much representing the outlaw alternative lifestyle. but we’ll spell it Beatles.One patch club was so annoyed by what had happened it decided to change its name: on 17 March 1948 the Pissed Off Bastards From Berdoo became the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. South Africa. Interestingly. California. the clothes. is regarded as the first outlaw motorcycle club to have a formal organisational structure and constitution with by-laws. the power.

that the outlaw bikie clubs hit Australia in any significant numbers. It wasn’t until the late 1960s and early ’70s. The first documented US-based outlaw club to open a chapter outside the United States was the Hell’s Angels. Even in the early 1960s there were long-haired bikers sporting tattoos of swastikas who belonged to clubs such as the Angels (not the Hell’s Angels). jeans were tucked inside the boots. was killed. For instance. The returning servicemen felt let down by the system and abandoned by politicians and leaders who had sent them to fight a war that. Angels MC president The earliest Australian bikies followed the Rocker trend of wearing brass plates denoting club affiliation on their jackets. due to widespread opposition to the war. It wasn’t until August 1973 that two new Hell’s Angels chapters were officially inaugurated in Melbourne and Sydney. Australia’s first US-style outlaw club is believed to be the Gladiators. war was the catalyst. 24 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Following the Vietnam War there was a mini-explosion in numbers of people joining outlaw motorcycle clubs across the world. Again. before the introduction of the American-style patches and colours. the club’s charter was revoked by the international Hell’s Angels. These earliest bikies quickly adopted the Rocker-style tattoos to demonstrate their rejection of the straight world. which opened a chapter in Auckland. But when the president. Yes. New Zealand. The first Australian Hell’s Angels chapter was formed in Sydney in 1968. I was a rocker.Their fashion and bad-boy attitude was the initial influence on the Australian bikie scene. then a bikie. returning Vietnam War servicemen were shunned. however. as was done on the streets of London. which proclaimed itself a 1%er club in 1963. however. The fashion was also closely aligned with the Rockers. on 1 July 1961. Unlike the hero’s welcome given to servicemen after World War II. in retrospect. Frederick Steven ‘Jan’ Celovic. a hippie.

Joining a motorcycle club enabled many to catch up on that part of their lives. 1% Of hIsTOry 25 . Many also felt they’d missed a lot of the counterculture of the ’60s—the free love and drugs—while fighting an unpopular war.seemed meaningless to the veterans.

when a friend of mine scored an old BSA 500. and off I went. Sure. Sure. But there’s more—that indescribable element that brings the motorcyclist back each time. I must admit the bug hasn’t really bitten me. but it was my first experience on a bike that made me decide they weren’t really for me. ‘Why not?’ he might well yell over his shoulder if he could hear her thoughts. I owned a Vespa scooter for two-and-a-half years in my late teens. Motorcycle riders know the risks—the odds are stacked against the bike. He gave me a quick lesson on what was where.Chapter three ThE LurE of ThE BikE Why ride a motorcycle? Many a wife or mother has pondered that question as they’ve watched their otherwise sane husband or son jump on a ‘death machine’. a mixture of adrenalin and danger. Because I could work the gears and knew where the brakes were. I’ve ridden bikes and had my licence for many years. which carries very little and can be cold and wet and cause the body to ache uncontrollably after hours in the saddle—but they love it. he let me have a ride. they’re economical. before opening the throttle for his blast of weekend freedom. I . can accelerate like a rocket to incredible speeds and have fantastic manoeuvrability. I gave the throttle a nudge on a straight bit of road and felt the adrenalin pumping.

completely pumped up. Independent rider ThE LurE Of ThE BIkE 27 . I mean. Some of my earliest memories are of camping at a rally with the family. . After the first ride. My surveys and interviews reveal a staggering 80 per cent of motorcyclists have their first ride because they simply knew someone else who rode. I knew I’d kill myself if I ever got a road motorcycle. I guess that was pretty well how it started. Nowadays. So we were always pestering Dad to take us for a ride. shit man. that is how you travelled. which read 95 miles per hour! I almost freaked out and started to back off the throttle but I wanted to push it that little bit closer to the edge. Mum and Dad used to go on rallies and take my sister and I with them in their sidecar. this is crazy. then a little more. Still. Equally important is how that first ride comes about.gave it a little more. a vintage 1969 Triumph—the same as the one Marlon Brando sat upon in The Wild One—and a Honda 750 Shadow Ace. Rarely is it an acquired taste—either you love or you hate it based on that first experience. I was hanging on for life. Bingo—100 miles per hour. that was it. and hyped for days afterwards. Riding was just natural in that way . Man. That first ride is pivotal in determining whether a person will embrace bikes or not. Dad had a Harley. I looked down at the speedo. The road was screaming past only six inches from my feet and tears were flowing from my eyes. I can remember getting the bike into neutral and riding it down from the barn straight into a shed without getting it running. Then I thought to myself. I ride a four-wheeler on the few acres I own. I looked down. Former club rider Bikes were always there. It was a real buzz and Dad loved it too. I also do a lot of riding as a passenger or what is called a pillion in Australia. . I slowly turned the machine around and sedately rode back to my friend. I was shaking. We lived on a farm and the only vehicle we had other than the Harley was a ute [light utility truck]. and jammed on the brakes. I wanted to go faster.

My cousin bought an old Trumpy [Triumph] and took me on a ride. It was fantastic. I knew straightaway that I needed to get a bike. Club rider

For many it was a bit like a drug, with that one ride enough to hook them forever.
The first ride, man, was stunning. To be in control of this incredibly responsive machine was stunning. [It was] . . . loud, powerful, wind hitting you in the face, all the natural elements that you don’t get in a car. It was that experience that committed me to bike-riding from then on. Club rider It was the sense of power and freedom. The bike had so much more raw power than any car I’d been in. The road was alive with sensations. You could hear, see and feel the road and the speed. Steering was done with your body, not like in cages [cars]. Lone rider

Many riders actually draw an analogy with drugs when they talk about their riding experiences.
I can remember times after riding hard for a few hours where my mates and I just couldn’t move for at least half an hour. We’d be shaking and not able to function because we’d been so close to the edge. A fellow biker would bring you a coffee and just leave you alone until you’d come down. Hell’s Angel Somebody once said that the buzz from a hard ride is a hell of a lot better than sex or drugs. It may be because I’m older, but I’d have to agree. There’s nothing like the buzz you get from riding. I’m too old now to push it to the limit; but you still get the buzz. Like when you’re not fully concentrating coming into a corner and your front wheel goes onto the shoulder. The experience of
28 ThE BrOThErhOOds

coming so close to serious injury, if not death, makes you feel that much more alive. Club rider

The one word I come across over and over in my discussions with riders is freedom. For many, it’s why they adopt the biker lifestyle. The sense of freedom in riding like there’s no tomorrow on the open road, the wind in your face, handling a powerful and responsive machine—you can’t get that in a car. In fact, most bikers say their real personality comes out when they’re on the bike. Part of that may come from the demands on the rider. It takes a hell of a lot of concentration to ride a bike fast. For many, that’s where the freedom lies. They can shut out the stress of office politics, shit jobs and bad relationships.
If it’s a good ride, there’s nothing like it . . . you and the machine become one. The machine requires your total commitment, even if you are a very cautious rider. If you are a little more aggressive rider, like the younger ones, the concentration necessary becomes unbelievable. The smallest road hazard becomes a major threat to life. It gets to the point on the edge of a hard ride where there is a balance between taking your machine further and a fear of dying. Managing that space is real freedom. Lone Wolf MC member

Freedom for many of the more committed riders comes from jumping on the bike any time and just riding. Sometimes they’ll go for days, even weeks, perhaps ending up on the other side of the country. If a job or a relationship goes by the wayside, so be it. For them, that’s the freedom of the bike.
It’s like a complete[ly] different world. One time, when I was living in Brisbane, I told my then wife I was going to the shop for a packet of smokes. I didn’t stop until I was in Sydney. I felt great but I knew I’d be in the shits with the ol’ lady. Still, that’s what it’s like. You start riding and there is nothing but you and
ThE LurE Of ThE BIkE 29

the machine and the road. Fuck-all matters other than that when you’re into it. Former club rider You can see it. When I stop in from a long ride at a mate’s place, he’s totally envious. It’s the freedom to just get on the machine and go as far and as fast as I want. Invariably, his missus is giving me shitty looks because she knows what me telling him about the freedom of travel is doing to him. Coffin Cheater

There’s no such thing as a typical biker. Everyone is different, with each having their own reasons for getting into bikes, but generally bikers can be divided into the following categories.

Chook ChAsErs
I never cease to be amazed by Australians’ need to give slang names to everything. They’ll call tomato sauce ‘dead horse’ or a red-headed mate ‘blue’. Mention ‘Reg Grundies’ and everyone knows you’re talking about underwear. So it is in the motorcycle community. Chook chasers are off-road bikes. The name comes from their evolution as bikes used by farmers, and now covers all off-road bikes, such as trail or scramble race bikes. Basically, anything with a knobby tyre for offroad riding is a chook chaser. The Australian biker community has strong rural roots, with many boys learning to ride on a chook chaser. In the United States and Europe, most first-time riding experiences are on scooters in town, with their small wheels and low power. Riding a chook chaser doesn’t, technically, make someone a biker. However, many bikers not only learn to ride on these machines, but keep a chook chaser in the back shed for a blast now and then.

CoMMuTErs
Commuters ride their motorcycles to and from work almost exclusively. For them, the bike is simply a means of transport, so they don’t engage in biker events or politics. Until recently, commuters were likely to
30 ThE BrOThErhOOds

ride Japanese-made machines—‘rice burners’ or ‘Jap crap’—because they were cheap and reliable. The rise of the ‘yuppie commuter’, with more money in their pocket, has changed that. Now, commuters often ride Harley-Davidsons, Ducatis and BMWs. Commuters are also increasingly riding a new generation of powerful scooters produced by companies such as Motoguzzi. These are a hybrid of the motorcycle and the old-fashioned scooter. Even so, these new scooters are not regarded as motorcycles because they still have a low power-to-weight ratio and step-through seating.

TourErs
Tourers are into riding for the social side of motorcycling. They ride long distances for fun, usually as part of a club, such as the Triumph Club of Victoria. In this case, club members would own a Triumph motorcycle and go on scheduled rides, or runs, over weekends. Tourers generally have the highest income and most prestigious occupations of all the motorcycling groups. Many tourers are high-status professionals such as politicians and businessmen. Tourers use their motorcycles for fun, yet are attracted to the camaraderie of the bike through events such as rallies. Tourers who are not part of a formal club will usually have friends with whom they ride. The tourer is at the fringes of the Australian biker subculture. They don’t have an identity as a biker, even though their motorcycle and biking associates are important elements in their lives.

BikErs
The previous groups are single-use categories. That is, they use the bikes for one primary activity, be it commuting, touring or churning up some dirt. Bikers use their motorcycles for all these and more. Their main interest in life is motorcycles and motorcycling. They read biker magazines, attend rallies, ride on runs and attend meetings on issues such as helmet reform laws. It’s a gradual process, with individuals being drawn more and more towards the biker lifestyle until it becomes something by which they are defined. The biker wears the clothes of the bike world—the emblems and paraphernalia on their riding gear that identify them as being apart from mainstream
ThE LurE Of ThE BIkE 31

society. They’ll generally have a customised bike; this also separates them from the weekend rider. Bikers generally distrust the police, who, they believe, take particular pleasure in booking motorcyclists for traffic infringements that other road users get away with. It’s the notion of freedom that ultimately defines the biker and separates biker culture from the rest of society. It’s not uncommon for a biker to meet a fellow biker in a pub or rally and then spend two weeks riding and touring with them. Bikers generally believe conventional society is jealous of their freedom to just take off. This jealousy, they believe, causes discrimination and animosity from the dominant car culture.

CLuB ridErs
While tourers are often members of clubs, they’re not bikers. Their primary identity is not that of a biker. Club riders, however, hold biker values. The riders in this category are not classed as outlaw motorcycle club members. Clubs are usually loose collections of bikers who meet for biker events. The Valley and Districts Motorcycle Club in the Latrobe Valley region of Victoria was a good example. Until it disbanded in 1997 it had about 30 members, was affiliated with the Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia, had a political agenda to promote motorcycling, and enjoyed a good party. It had no gender, age or bike restrictions for members. Club members didn’t wear patches. The MRA affiliation meant it wasn’t an outlaw motorcycle club. Most motorcycle clubs and club riders fall into this category. The motorcycles ridden by club riders are often stock bikes, rarely modified into the fully-fledged choppers of the outlaw clubs. The Christian motorcycle clubs and returned services motorcycle clubs belong in this category, although both hang around the fringes of the outlaw clubs.

LonE ridErs
This is where we enter the world of the outlaw biker. Lone riders are bikers who adopt the values of the biker culture but choose not to ride with a club. They’re sometimes referred to as loners, lone wolves or free riders. Often they’ll ride with a few select ‘road hogs’ who are
32 ThE BrOThErhOOds

cut off from mainstream society through a rigid system of rules and an inherent belief system. While there’s no requirement to actually wear the 1% patch to be considered a 1% club. ouTLAW MoTorCyCLE CLuBs Finally. and is likely to be heavily modified. they often mix with outlaw motorcycle club members. Members wear their patches proudly as a sign to society—I’m a bikie. The image of the lonerider biker is that of the American cowboy—independent. logo. Because of this. The modification is a statement of the committed biker’s identity. there’s nothing more sacred than the club colours or patches. and my studies reflect this. They exist in their own world. a rigid organisational structure. South Africa and parts of Europe as bikies. The patches include the club name. Respect for the colours both within the club and from other clubs is paramount. New Zealand. there’s plenty of controversy among the clubs ThE LurE Of ThE BIkE 33 . The lone rider looks like an outlaw motorcycle club member. and any other badge for service to the club. The bike will always be a HarleyDavidson. tough and free. and heavy levels of commitment to ensure their survival.friends or acquaintances made on the road. the United Kingdom. The most obvious outside sign of the outlaw motorcycle clubs is the patches worn on their riding leathers. for some clubs it also includes the 1% badge. These are what are known in Australia. they usually have a pretty good knowledge of how a motorcycle is put together. Don’t fuck with me. As lone riders adopt the values of the outlaw motorcycle clubs. These clubs are characterised by having a constitution. But they’re not actually privy to outlaw motorcycle clubs’ inner workings nor do they enjoy any privileges of membership. chapter location. there are the outlaw motorcycle clubs. attracting the sort of police heat club members receive. Importantly. In North America and Europe they are called bikers. A simple way to look at it is that an outlaw biker is a bikie. I’ve always considered them a counterculture. For the clubs. for they are the symbols of the clubs. Being on their own.

over who deserves to wear it. As we’ll discover. it’s not easy being a bikie. as it was the first to do so. 34 ThE BrOThErhOOds . be able to navigate club politics. Bandidos. be willing to cope with extreme police harassment and have a family structure that allows him to be absent from the home for many nights each week. However. most of the 1% clubs wear it. or turf. Rebels. The Hell’s Angels claim it is the only club that can wear the 1% patch. including the Gypsy Jokers. He must also be at least tolerant of crime and criminal activities. Descendants and Coffin Cheaters. Territory is simply the geographical and social area in which a club can display its patches exclusively. The biker who goes on to join an outlaw motorcycle club is a unique man (membership to these clubs is almost exclusively male). It is very important for a club to know it has an area in which it can do what it wants without being hassled by other clubs. Odin’s Warriors. The other distinctive feature of an outlaw club is its territory. He must value the camaraderie of a close-knit group of men. which is why there are such fierce wars to restrict entry and passage of other clubs wearing patches.

a real little man from the moment he could walk: masculine. and was regarded by his mates as a bit of a daredevil. Others thought he was a bully.’ Robbo liked to take risks. Dad and Mum were good Catholic parents. He was uncompromising.Chapter Four froM BikEr To BikiE Robbo was a pretty normal kid. He liked the thrill of living on the edge of injury and danger. fully concentrating on performing feats his mates wouldn’t dare attempt. made him a bit of a hard case even before he’d entered his teen years. He never felt more alive than when he was on his bike. Yet he knew school wasn’t for him. At school and on the streets Robbo didn’t back away from a scrap. Dad also liked a drink. even if the odds were against him. . Yet in his mind he never picked a fight. This attitude. He was gregarious and social by the time he hit school. just that he considered the street a better classroom. It’d be fair to say those beatings shaped Robbo’s attitude towards authority as he grew up. seeing life as a competition with only winners and losers. hanging around with Dad and playing with cars and trucks. even if his father was a bit slack when it came to church. forever jumping and skidding about on his bicycle. ‘Trouble seemed to come my way. that he could take on anyone. When he drank he got violent. often dishing out beatings to Robbo and his two brothers. It wasn’t as though Robbo was unintelligent.

he bought a second-hand scooter. At 16 he was accepted as an apprentice spray-painter. Robbo couldn’t understand why only a few of his mates bought scooters while they waited to get their car licence. where he could feel the wind in his face. By the time he was 14 Robbo had left school and was working part-time jobs. he discovered to his delight that he could get a motor scooter licence within six months. Robbo felt a strong affinity to motorcycles. His friends liked riding but they didn’t have the desire to ride that he had. It couldn’t do the stunts of his bicycle but it was able to do much more—it introduced him to the open road. While he and his mates and brothers were heavily into cars. the big V8 sounded great but the Kawasaki would put the car to shame from a standing start. At 15. There was always plenty of music and grog on hand while they tinkered away. Working on cars was a social occasion for Robbo and his mates. albeit a gentle breeze even at the scooter’s top speed. The pull was so strong that at the age of 19 he bought a 250cc Kawasaki motorcycle so he could get his full licence. which he lovingly restored and then ‘hotted up’. Sure. On a promise and some cash. The old man didn’t bother the boys much again.At the age of 12 Robbo. while furiously saving for a car. He soon bought an old Ford. Robbo also found the people who rode bikes more interesting than his rev-head mates. While the scooter didn’t have the class of a Ford or Holden. succeeded in beating up their father after another savage attempt to discipline the pair. which gave the car-saving plan a boost. Even this little 250 provided unbelievably better performance and delivered more thrills than his car. Then there was the agility and the fact that traffic was virtually never a problem on a bike because you could blast away from the cars at the lights. While his mates were passionate about their 36 ThE BrOThErhOOds . all the time dreaming of getting his driver’s licence and a car. It was all he could think about—when he wasn’t thinking of girls. together with his 15-year-old brother. it’d get him around for the time being and provide him with the independence he so desperately craved. It was the answer to his prayers. It was love at first ride.

Robbo only had to squeeze the throttle on the open roads and he’d easily hit 200 kilometres per hour. The highlight for him was the almost annual fight with police. he and a friend rode from Melbourne to the Bathurst motorcycle races. almost as if they were an elite crowd. The races were a dream come true for Robbo. he’d left as a biker. On the ride home he realised what had happened to him that weekend: he’d arrived at Bathurst as someone who liked to ride bikes. The ones he didn’t meet—the ones he had been warned to stay well clear of by his friends—were the blokes in the small groups referred to as the ‘outlaw clubs’. at the end of the weekend he had no idea who had won the main race. By that stage. Robbo had upgraded to a 750cc bike. What could possibly beat dragging a car bonnet around behind a motorcycle at breakneck speed while someone stood on it. It was really about partying. yet appeared to have a fair bit of status among the other bikers. They kept to themselves and were pretty unremarkable. some of whom became an integral part of his life as a biker. frOM BIkEr TO BIkIE 37 . His strict father and the constant trouble he had found himself in at school had given Robbo a strong dislike for authority. At this speed the adrenalin high was unbelievable. so watching the bikies having a punch-up with the coppers was his idea of fun. holding on for their lives? Or seeing how many people could fit on a motorcycle while passing a marijuana joint around? The three days of partying opened his eyes to a new world—the world of the biker. it didn’t extend to embracing their passion as a way of life. The ride was fantastic. Over that weekend he met many characters. he knew his mates would think he had gone over the top if he ever referred to himself as a biker. In 1976. when Robbo was 21. where the slightest error meant instant pain. He’d become cocooned in a world where there was only the rider and the machine. It wasn’t something he announced when he got home. as Robbo’s fellow bike riders did. Plus. In fact. It was more subtle. Those around him got up to the sort of daredevil stuff he loved as a kid. which would blow any car ‘into the weeds’.machines. The races themselves meant little to Robbo.

He started to dress and look even more unconventional than he had prior to the crash. Robbo hit the throttle and put what seemed a kilometre between him and the car in a few seconds. When he reported the incident to the police they couldn’t have cared less. Robbo pulled the bike violently to avoid the car and lost control. it swerved into Robbo’s lane. wore his riding gear to venues where he’d previously dressed ‘straight’. for no apparent reason. He also decided to become the most fearsome-looking motorcycle rider possible so car drivers wouldn’t dare run him off the road. 38 ThE BrOThErhOOds . he now felt he had a licence to be even more outlandish. but dressed as he was these days. But the car slowly edged up. He ditched the Japanese bike he’d been riding and replaced it with a Harley-Davidson. attending rallies and making more friends in the biker world. When the car was level with Robbo’s rear wheel. He couldn’t trust car drivers and cops. Even if he wanted to chase the car. just centimetres from his rear plates. He had always been a bit of a lad. Robbo was riding his motorcycle on a freeway in the early hours of the morning when. Likewise. he still wasn’t completely submerged in the bikie world. He rolled along the road. and the rear wheel buckled out of shape. got some rings and a tattoo. The bike went down. He was a biker but he was also still part of mainstream society. signalling to pass him. He was also involved in a relatively stable relationship with a girl from a fairly conservative family. His appearance began to change. He still had his mates who didn’t ride bikes. At the age of 25. Robbo decided the best defence was to ride with others. a loud. It proved a watershed for Robbo: all the stories he’d heard about car drivers and straight society discriminating against bikers were true. shocking his friends from the straight world. However. The bike was unrideable. He let his hair grow longer. he couldn’t. His behaviour changed.Robbo began to use his bike more and more. sustaining a few bumps and bruises. The front mudguard was twisted. a car approached him from behind. the police would have to be bloody serious to stop him. fierce machine that reflected his new outlook on the world. He was a qualified spraypainter with a steady job.

even though he doesn’t look for them. and we got into all kinds of shit. I know my mother says that I always was. . swimming upstream. the army was good but I hated all the orders. . He chose not to become a member when the club was patched over by the Coffin Cheaters. His values began to change from biking as a lifestyle choice within straight society to living life as a bikie and rejecting and simply not caring about the straight world. He is the thrill seeker who tries to do tricks and jumps with his bike. . . Being so big didn’t help either . If you look at Robbo’s life it seems he was always destined to become a bikie. . He is the kid in the classroom that doesn’t quite fit in. I’d have to agree with him. It was at that point that Robbo stepped into the world of the 1%ers. . He changed from being a biker to a bikie. Here are some of the responses from my discussions with bikies. loved to try the dangerous things . . . I can’t remember feeling like I fitted in to the citizens’ scene.He also found himself drawn more and more into hanging out with a local outlaw club. A bit rougher . Satan’s Cavalry. I can’t say exactly when I knew I was different. Former US Hell’s Angels president Sonny Barger once defined a Hell’s Angel as: . After years of research. you know. I worked as a car mechanic for years and couldn’t take the boss. being born and not made . didn’t really fit in. . you know. Bandido frOM BIkEr TO BIkIE 39 . Finding the club was the best thing that ever happened to me. I had my share of friends and that but I gotta say that I knew I was different. I could find a few good mates who had a similar view to me. . But even before that. Hell’s Angel From the start. It just seemed like I had this voice in the back of my head saying ‘this is bullshit’ about the whole fucking school thing. He is often in fights. which contained some of the fiercest-looking bikies in Melbourne. man. I tried though.

It’s just that I felt the need to have a more enriched life than what’s offered by the straight world. He must take the steps from being a social rider to a committed biker. By far the most common excuse given by the car driver at fault is. In Australia. while the bikies play down the numbers to back up their argument that they are no threat to society.Look. bikies and bikers strongly believe car drivers are out to harm them. When talk turns to bikes and bikies. These are rough estimates. They’re likely to grab anything that affords them some defence. Those who become outlaw club members do so for many reasons. For many bikies the menacing image gives them some protection. The truth is somewhere in the middle. with about 2500 in Australia.’ Bikers get pretty sick of this one because 40 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The police overestimate the numbers to make it seem like there are bikies everywhere. Rebel Very few bikers become outlaw club members. whether real or perceived. I did very well in school and university. ‘I didn’t see him. That’s the lure of the club. I hold down a good job as a [professional]. One of them is image. A biker cannot simply become a bikie. I’ve got a great marriage and good kids. It’s easy to see where the persecuted-minority feeling comes from. The proportion of motorcycle accidents caused by cars is consistently 60 per cent. there being only about 14 000 outlaw motorcycle club members worldwide. then make the move to outlaw club member. it’d be significantly less. who hasn’t had the image of a Hell’s Angel or a Coffin Cheater come to mind? The rugged renegade taking on the law at any chance. thumbing his nose at society. you can’t go around being nasty 24 hours a day. even if it may be an exaggeration of reality—I mean. motorcycles account for about 2 per cent of all vehicle registrations yet motorcycles account for 7 per cent of all road fatalities. as the figures given by the clubs and the police fluctuate wildly. The clubs are happy for this image to be fostered. I’m making it in the straight world OK. If anything. As in Robbo’s case. The 1% tag given to the renegades in the Hollister incident more than 60 years ago still holds.

‘You fuck with me and you are in deep shit’. I was too shaky to do anything. For a while. leathers and colours are all saying. cruising at 110 [kilometres per hour] when two yobbos in a red Ford Falcon pulled up alongside me. I was riding my Harley along the Hume Highway one night. earrings.they can clearly see bikes when they’re driving cars. I still carry a spanner on my bike that I can throw through a car driver’s window if one tries to run me off the road again. Like if you fucked with me. thank God. generating the brotherhood of the clubs. but I did for some time. So I decided to only run in a group. Many seasoned riders have tales of cars intentionally forcing their bike off the road. I was getting pissed off. They were looking at me and I looked back at them. But that is why I dress the way I do. they simply pulled over straight into my lane at a bend. Couple that with a strong feeling that punishment meted out to car drivers responsible for accidents with bikers is weak and you have the ingredients for a major grievance across all sectors of the biker community. I was thinking about giving up riding. I stopped and tried to collect myself as the car sped off. Lone rider frOM BIkEr TO BIkIE 41 . Club rider Biker magazines are full of similar stories. I had no choice but to go onto the shoulder of the road. I don’t know how long I kept the bike up. road-warrior look to scare car drivers. Within two months I had two near misses with car drivers who didn’t see me and an experience where a car just seemed to run up my rear in an attempt to literally kill me. The tats. Then I got back on the bike for a short run and knew that I couldn’t do that. All of a sudden. It also prompts many to take on a heavier. I went sliding straight along the shoulder. But that wasn’t really practical either. In many cases the feeling of being in a minority has forced riders to ride in groups. My solution was to start to look heavy. you were in the shits. Then I lost it.

Lone rider Police hassles seem to be concentrated on the committed HarleyDavidson bikers. The second time. I then spent the next hour being thoroughly searched and checked. as well as being asked questions about my residence. although the ‘rice burners’ describe similar problems in the biker magazines. The Volvos and Mercedes were ripping by us going well in excess of what I was doing. While outlaw motorcycle clubs are most likely of all riders to be subject to police scrutiny or harassment. then a Harley-Davidson and finally a modified or chopped Harley. As Daniel Wolf wrote: A biker who has been victimised easily develops a hostile attitude towards other ‘assholes who drive cages’ . Most outlaw motorcycle club members find that two to three hours of police interrogation is not unusual when the heat is on. I don’t know what it is. the cop pulled me over as a vehicle was overtaking me. the average biker also feels targeted by police. arduous process of admission and members must 42 ThE BrOThErhOOds . In five years I was run off the road three times. . they find the police become an increasingly larger problem. It’s particularly true of bikers who have modified or chopped their machines. The bikers believe police are more likely to protect car drivers over bike riders. man. There I was getting booked for going 113 in a 110 [kilometre] zone. there’s another road hazard that might—the police. who I knew in the bike scene. I managed to catch up to the cars twice.If the antics of car drivers don’t turn a person away from a biker lifestyle. In fact. . Most clubs have a long. As bikers graduate from riding the first scooter or chook chaser. affiliations. the driver pulled alongside a police car when he realised I was following him. so I was searched and warned. The police listened to his version of events. while he chuckled and drove off. It’s not easy becoming an outlaw motorcycle club member. to a rice burner. but the cops are just like that.

The first criterion in becoming an outlaw motorcycle club member is to become associated with a biking lifestyle. He is. Once a biker is deemed by outlaw motorcycle club members to be a committed biker he’s then invited to ‘hang around’ with the club as a friend of the club or an associate. so he’s not allowed to vote. Equally. for example. frOM BIkEr TO BIkIE 43 . even a requirement to commit an illegal act. which is unusual—he’d be one of the relatively few ex-members still accepted by the club after departing. An associate who wants to join a club is expected to attend as many functions open to them as possible.adhere to strict rules to maintain their membership. If a club member rejects the presence of a non-club member at a club function he must leave immediately. attend club meetings or become involved in club business. Some associates don’t want to join the clubs. nor is he privy to club business. the editor of one of Australia’s top motorcycle magazines is a former member of the Hell’s Angels and has maintained good contacts and friends within the club even after quitting it. The person must then commit to the biker lifestyle. impeccable credentials as a biker and. This is vital because the associate must be nominated by a full member in order to move onto the next stage—that of the nominee. invited to parties at the clubhouse and to rides or runs where initiations and other club business are not on the agenda. in certain circumstances. Take Terry. He’s a friend of the club. becoming what the American bikers call a ‘righteous biker’ and Australian bikies call a ‘staunch bikie’. He’s not a member. The member who invites an outsider to a function or even sits with them at a hotel for a drink is responsible for the behaviour of the non-club member. To become an outlaw motorcyclist can require years of scrutiny by fellow club members. but has never applied to become a member. so hanging around with the club is a time when friendships between the club and prospective members are forged. to prove they are fair dinkum. He’s been in and around the outlaw motorcycle club scene since the 1970s. He can hang around only if the entire club agrees. He has a lot of mates in the club. Hanging around the club is always by invitation only. however. Usually associates want to become members.

so I want to be a nominee. Loyalty. one night he got very upset after a lengthy drinking session at the clubhouse.Enthusiasm is one of the key elements clubs look for in associates. If someone doesn’t demonstrate these qualities they won’t be admitted. Not long after. however. discipline.’ he demanded. No one really knows what proportion of people invited to befriend an outlaw motorcycle club actually end up joining the club. This is a rare case. when he finally realised membership wasn’t going to be offered to him. If they do. JD didn’t pick up on the fact he should kick back and let others warm to his courage. While JD had good biker credentials. I’ve found they’re usually unwilling to talk about their experiences. The more established. Very few of those invited to join get knocked back. masculinity. bravado and up-front ways. Of those who do get knocked back there’s a certain amount of shame associated with the rejection. Consequently. ‘Tiny [not his real name] has agreed to be my sponsor. he judiciously decided to leave and never return. independence and courage are the principles of brotherhood. he wasn’t well respected by everyone in the club. Rejection of someone who’s gone through the process of applying is.’ Any hope he had of joining disappeared at that moment. The outburst was seen as a sign of disrespect and proof that he wasn’t a suitable candidate. I know of one bloke who was very keen on joining Satan’s Cavalry. larger clubs 44 ThE BrOThErhOOds . It would vary widely between the clubs. It is. The repercussions for the club member who sponsors someone who is knocked back are also severe. and even the sponsor’s faction of the club. The process of slow assimilation into the club means that any person who isn’t likely to make the grade simply won’t be asked to apply nor will they be able to find a sponsor. ‘Let me in. Certain members of the Satan’s Cavalry were ambivalent about him. Nevertheless. rejection of the sponsor. He was the kind of guy you either loved or hated. only one of several qualities. He’d been hanging around for a while and thought he’d done enough to warrant an invitation to join the club. So he stood up and put the question outright. to say the least. rather than be threatened by him. in a sense. they’ll be invited to apply and will be sponsored by a full member.

It’s been known for clubs to set up prospective members by tempting them to violate club rules such as injecting speed or heroin or stealing from a club member. If he succumbs to temptation he’s out. he’d be kicked out of the club. The now defunct Satan’s Cavalry used to force nominees into a situation to see how they would react when called on to defend a fellow member. failed to get involved. or worse still. If the nominee jumped in and helped his mate. Clubs might also test a nominee to see if he will break club rules. An applicant must present an argument. on why he’d make a good member. The nominee stage is a time to test the prospective member. frOM BIkEr TO BIkIE 45 . It’s different from the associate stage when the emphasis is mainly social. It usually involved a full member taking the nominee out drinking. Sometimes the club will set a serious test to see how the nominee reacts. The member would start a fight and intentionally start to lose. He must demonstrate that he’s willing to be part of a brotherhood and be disciplined enough to follow club orders. He’d probably also receive a thumping into the bargain. he passed the test. If a friend of the club is acceptable to the majority of members and wishes to become a member. he’s unlikely to receive the vote for full membership. The vote in favour has to be at least 51 per cent before he becomes a nominee.would have many friends who’d never be considered as membership prospects or offer themselves for club membership. while most other clubs call it the nominee stage. while smaller clubs looking to expand would be more likely to extend an invitation. The set-up fight is disappearing as a testing tactic because the attention it draws and the subsequent arrests put too much heat onto the clubs. Nominees are usually required to perform mundane tasks to prove their commitment. The club must approve his application with a unanimous vote. The Hell’s Angels call this the prospect stage. if asked to do so. If he tried to resolve the dispute peacefully. If the nominee doesn’t perform well or refuses a request. For major clubs with a number of chapters the application goes to the full membership. The nominee soon learns the club rules are sacrosanct. It’s now a case of the nominee proving he can be a worthy member of the club. he moves to the next stage.

such as the Hell’s Angels winged death’s head or the Bandidos fat bandito wearing an oversize sombrero and brandishing weapons. I know of at least one Australian club that has used voice-stress testers when interviewing nominees. Gypsy Jokers MC. depending on the club. The bigger clubs will also conduct a thorough background check of each nominee. Since clubs have gained public-enemy status. The checks are non-negotiable hurdles for the nominee. for example. on average. which states the club name. The colours. California. sometimes by a private investigator. the nominee period has lengthened to. A nominee is permitted to wear the bottom rocker—revealing the club name and the location of his chapter—on the back of his riding coat. It would say. Sydney. 46 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The patches on the jacket are not complete.It used to be a relatively informal process to become a nominee. and the process to become a full member has become much tougher. and the club logo. In some cases. Rebels MC. To weed out police infiltrators. a year. which includes the upper rocker. or any other information is brought to the club’s attention. it hasn’t got to that stage in Australia. Only with full membership does one receive the full colours. South Africa. Luckily. however. however. some clubs in the United States now require a nominee to commit a crime to gain membership. And those police who do manage to infiltrate the clubs invariably quit the force after they complete their undercover work. while the strain of undercover work often results in marriage breakdowns. or Hell’s Angels MC. normally a sleeveless denim or leather vest. undercover policemen have developed a taste for speed and other drugs and have a hell of a time adjusting back into the straight world. but can last up to four years. San Francisco. Law enforcement agencies admit it’s become almost impossible to send undercover police into the clubs with such odious and lengthy entry requirements. Australia. a stage that lasted about three months. the application is immediately rejected. On the front of the jacket will be a patch to indicate that the member is a nominee or prospect. If he fails a background check or stress test. Many cannot readjust to the humdrum of police paperwork.

Anything less. for example.m. Receiving the bottom rocker means the nominee must become submerged in club politics. The nominee process varies from club to club. either with the same chapter. Part of the commitment required of the nominee is to attend runs. though. the term has no religious meaning. The vote must be unanimous before the nominee can become a full member. Other clubs may require the vote of the state membership. The rejected nominee can try again in about six months. so members generally pay a nominal sum for their use. be privy to committee meetings or earn certain badges. or with another chapter of the club. merely that it is a weekly observance everyone is required to attend.30 a.or three-piece patch. Noms must also participate in weekly general meetings. yet they have no vote and must be willing to do anything for a full member upon his request. Ordering a nom to deliver a pizza at 3. In some of the major clubs the nominee must also complete a probationary period before being granted full membership. pay dues and attend any event they’re told to. (The Bandidos. runs and meets are extremely important events for members of other chapters to meet the nominee. The nominee must get more than half the vote to achieve full membership. and the application is immediately terminated. the probationary frOM BIkEr TO BIkIE 47 . but is not yet allowed to vote. Some clubs. The noms can often be treated as servants by full members. To hear a burly bikie talking about going to church is a bit incongruous. For clubs that require a unanimous vote of members to admit a new member. Smaller clubs may only require the vote of the chapter. These clubs go to great lengths to ensure a nominee is made of the ‘right stuff’ before they hold a final vote of the national governing body. is not unusual. The full member is also permitted to wear the 1% patch. or ‘church’. have a 12-month probationary period. require members to have a full-on commitment to their lifestyle. remain the property of the club. The nominee has limited membership privileges. hold office. such as the Hell’s Angels and Gypsy Jokers.) Though able to almost fully participate in the club. if the club wears that patch.

How ironic that one of America’s most notorious clubs would adopt a phrase from one of the US Constitution’s founding fathers. If the split is downright ugly. Hudson was shot in the face and back by an Adelaide Fink. So the Finks. eight Finks broke through security at a Hell’s Angelspromoted kick-boxing match in Queensland and hunted down former member Hudson. As if that wasn’t bad enough. the tattoo remains the property of the club. If he leaves on good terms an ex-member can have the exit date inserted on the tattoo and continue to bear the logo. or ‘We are the people that our parents warned us about’ for the Bandidos. tracked him down to remove the Finks tattoo that covered his entire back.) In most clubs.member’s standing means his votes at club meetings and contributions to decision making are regarded as less important than those of full members. Some clubs provide members with a motorcycle. the Finks believed he was trying to recruit other Finks to join the Hell’s Angels. armed with acid and knives. Another piece of the membership jigsaw puzzle is the tattoo. Like the colours. ‘God forgives. mind you—with chairs and glasses used as projectiles. In 2006. which also remains the property of the club. The full member is permitted to have the club logo and motto tattooed on their body—for example. the club can demand the tattoo be removed—now! There has been the rare case of a tattoo being violently removed. A vicious fight broke out between the rival clubs—amid 1800 people. (I especially like the Hell’s Angels tattoo: ‘Three can keep a secret if two are dead’. If things are not so amiable the club will usually demand it be covered with another tattoo or removed by laser. a full member is expected to acquire a club tattoo—usually including the date they were admitted—within a year of joining the club. who had travelled to Queensland 48 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The saying is attributed to famous American inventor and statesman Benjamin Franklin in the 1800s. But getting both tattoos and motorcycles back can cause a problem when a member leaves a club or is told to get out. who had recently defected from the Finks to the Angels. Shane Scott Bowden. such as that of Christopher Wayne Hudson. Outlaws don’t’ for the Outlaws.

spread-eagled on the ground. received 18 months for assault. You can usually tell a new member by their clean colours. axle grease and other foul substances. shat or urinated upon. indicating they’re unlikely to have been soiled through an initiation ceremony.especially to remove Hudson’s tattoo. (As for Hudson. I haven’t noticed any club members I’ve dealt with in recent years smelling as though they’d been vomited. they may have been stripped of their clothes for the rites. All outlaw clubs have an initiation rite or ceremony. was present at an initiation ceremony where the nominees were stripped of their clothes and staked out. who rode with the Rebels in Canada so he could write about the club. to laying on the ground face down while your fellow bikers urinate. Of course. More on him later. defecate and vomit on your original colors. he was splashed across the nation’s headlines the following year when he gunned down and killed an innocent man in front of hundreds of horrified onlookers in Melbourne’s morning peak hour. To top it off. From my experience this seems a pretty far-fetched notion. One US police training document titled An Inside Look at Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs states: Rituals range from stopping a woman in public and demanding she take off her underpants and hand them to you. Some clubs just pour grease and oil over you while others may require you to submit to the sexual pleasures of the club mascot. Daniel Wolf. Another Fink. which in most cases is a dog. Bowden was later sentenced to six-and-a-half-years’ jail for the attack. Nicholas ‘The Knife’ John Forbes. frOM BIkEr TO BIkIE 49 . as the club would hardly want to desecrate the colours.) The final step in the admission process is the initiation ceremony. This includes relatively new members who would have been through such alleged initiation rites. The club members then smothered the nominees with sump oil. it’s the degree of extremes and the form of the rites that are hotly debated. put out by an organisation keen to portray outlaw motorcycle clubs as demonic groups.

In my experience. as they put it. The source of many of the myths about the initiation ceremonies is the clubs themselves. The central goal of the club. I find it highly unlikely that the mother chapter would allow these initiation rites to occur in one country but not another. He’s an equal among equals in the club. Many people who hang around the club choose not to become members. it’s actually a fundamental part of the bikie value system to cause outrage or. while many nominees opt out of the process before they get to the voting stage. The idea is ludicrous. The flow from biker to outlaw bikie is not always seamless. and then threw them into the river. Having sex with dogs may be some club members’ idea of acceptable behaviour but I’ve yet to meet them. there’s been no reported incident of a woman being asked to remove her underpants and hand them over to members of outlaw motorcycle clubs in Australia. Although they say they don’t care what mainstream society thinks of them. There is even a sizeable drop-out rate of full members when many realise the scope of the commitment needed to be a member of an outlaw motorcycle club. no self-respecting outlaw motorcycle club member would vote such a person into membership of their club. urinated on them. after all. Although the person attracted to the outlaw clubs in the first place has a pretty good idea of what they are letting themselves in for.they poured beer on the victims. What better way to show class than to create a distorted image of an initiation? Once the initiation ceremony is out of the way. and take responsibility for organising runs and other activities. Denmark. As for having sex with the club mascot. is to develop a brotherhood with whom you can identify and upon whom you can rely for support and back-up. Germany or Canada. ‘show class’. the new member can run for office. Perhaps this is peculiar to the United States. With most major clubs having some connection with the United States. having sex with a dog would be grounds not only for expulsion from the club but also to receive a damned good flogging. New Zealand. or personal circumstances change. some prospective members shy away after being exposed to alleged 50 ThE BrOThErhOOds . South Africa. As far as I know.

Former social rider If this is called riding motorbikes and having fun. All a bit heavy-duty for me. we were into alligator boots and smart leather—not the outlaw look or game. They want the rebel lifestyle without the law-breaking. After all. it was too much fun for me. They either shift their sights back to a biker lifestyle or head for a non-outlaw club.criminal involvement of the clubs and their members. Former club rider frOM BIkEr TO BIkIE 51 . One of the reasons I gave up riding is that some of the group I knocked around with at the time were starting to party extra hard—read ‘smack’—and in doing so started to play around with the likes of the Coffin Cheaters.

Diablos. Branded Few.Chapter Five ThE CLuBs There are only two causes I’d die for—my family and my club. Hell’s Henchmen. Barbarians. Dirty Dozen. Ghetto Riders. Crossroads. Club Deroes. God’s Garbage. Drifters. Anderson Confederates. Helter Skelter. Fink So. Blonks. Fifth Chapter. Celtic Brothers. Boanerges. Brothers Regime. Coven. Bandidos. Dead Men. Blagards. Devil’s Disciples. Comancheros. Hell’s Outcast. Forbidden Wheels. Brothers Fast. Bro’s. Free Wheelers. Chosen Ones. Confederates. Bravados. Barons. Gypsy Jokers. Circle of Pride. Derelicts. Hell’s Angels. Cobras. Heaven’s Angels. Devil’s Henchmen. Free Spirits. Bad Bones. Apollos. Epitaph Riders. Finks. Descendants. Backdoormen. Evil Ones. Avengers. Bikers United. Brothers. Hangmen. Galloping Gooses. F-Troop. Freedom Seekers. Grave Diggers. Fourth Reich. Brothers Speed. Cossacks. Coffin Cheaters. Brotherhood of Grey Ghost. Ghost Riders. Brothers Rising. who are the outlaw motorcycle clubs? How’s this for a sample: Accretes. Devil’s Breed. Broke Brothers. Axeman. Heathens. Boozefighters. Breakaways. Black Uhlans. Grim Reapers. Henchmen. Annihilators. Flaming Knight. Blue Angels. Gladiators. Freedom Riders. Fates Assembly. Foolish Few. Free Wheelin’ Souls. . Chosen Few. Aesthetes. Arms. Drivers. Donald Ducks. Free Souls. Custom Riders.

No Rule Riders. Wheelmen. Pagans. Militia Riders. Tribesmen. Rude Brothers. Vagabonds. Last Chance. which in Australia include the Ambassadors. Knights. Poor Boys. Odin’s Wrath. Nordic Henchmen. Monks. Nordic Knights. Steel Stallions. Statesmen. Wind Tramps. Iron Cross. First there are the Christian clubs. Longriders and Saint George. Iron Pigs (which is also open to fire fighters) and Wild Pigs. although not all of them wear the 1% badge. Sons of Satan. Sons of Odin. Strangers. Iron Horsemen. Warlocks and Warlords. the No Rule Riders and the No Name Riders have no patch at all and are 1% clubs. Pharaohs. Rare Breed. Ravens. Smokin’ Skulls. Outsiders. Zbeers. Restless Few. Misfits. but not 1% clubs. Righteous Ones. Storm Riders. There are also a number of clubs that hang around the edges of the 1% clubs. Iron Riders. Undertakers. Swords of Justice. Resurrection. Windwalkers. Vendettas. and ThE CLuBs 53 . Rum Pot Rustlers. Satan’s Serpents. The Men. Lucifer’s Legion. Mongrels. Renegades. Outcasts. Odin’s Warriors. Vikings. Outlaws. Holy Ghost Riders. Reapers. Lone Wolf. Immortals. Psychos. Violaters. Pranksters. Balaam’s Ass. Lords of Iron. Mandamas. Spartans. Wheels of Soul. Satan’s Riders. Huns. Suns of Darkness. Lions of Judah. Then there are the law enforcement member clubs in the United States such as the Blood Brothers. Sons of Silence. Shifters. Many of these clubs are found in Australia. Life and Death. Brotherhood. Thugs. Iron Axe Men. Kingsmen. Lobos. Satan’s Soldiers. Mercenaries. Mob Shitters. Nomads. Remaining Few. Some of them are defunct. Mongols. Tribes. Sarasons. Sindicate. Tramps. Saddle Tramps. Satan’s Choice. Wingmen. Limited Few. Righteous Brothers. Road Toads. Satan’s Sinners. as clubs are set up and disappear all the time. Zudmen and Zulus. Sidewinders. Road Barons. Iroquois. Queensmen. Loners. Vigilantes. Rebels (California). Rock Machine (an odd name that has always struck me as ‘new age’). No Name Riders. Mad Dogs. Rogues. Tyrants. Vermins. Scorpions. New Breed. God Squad. Satan’s Tramps.Highwaymen. Mother Fuckers. Matadors. Iron Coffins. Iron Wings. Road Pirates. Rebels (Australia). Road Saints. Sadists. War Pigs. These clubs are 1% clubs. Satan’s Cavalry. Night Riders. In fact. Road Angels. All are patch clubs. and this list is by no means complete. Red Devils. Thunderguards. Satan’s Slaves.

We pose no threat to any other club. There are another 60 or so 10% clubs. including the United States and New Zealand. but they lack the intensity and commitment of the 1% clubs. Bikers Against Child Abuse (Australia). The Ulysses Club is another 10% club. Veterans Motorcycle Club (which is open to serving and ex-armed service people) and the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club. which is not a patch club. There are many more clubs on the fringe of the scene such as Shed Six (named after the industrial shed from which it started in Adelaide) and Notorious in New South Wales. never have been. Harley Owners Group. The Firefighters MC has chapters in many countries. Nor are we about drugs. with a fantastic slogan: ‘Grow old disgracefully’. including the South Australian Police MC. Bikers United Against Child Abuse. Junior membership is available for those aged over 40 years. There are about 40 1% clubs in Australia. with full membership granted to those aged over 50. Most of the Harley women’s groups would also fall into the 10% category. but not in Australia. as does membership of the clubs. They’re also a bit less naughty. Before a club can start. There are other law enforcement clubs in Australia. Hartwell. As the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club website says: We aren’t about territory. (Notorious is a 200-strong ethnic-based gang that wears the patches and colours of an outlaw motorcycle club. but does not require its members to own or ride a motorcycle. which are considered patch clubs. To the outsider. these clubs appear to be hardcore bikies with the colours. Ten percent clubs include the Atujara. Blackhall Range. But be assured that we do take our colours very seriously.all have chapters in Australia. Celtic Warlocks—Brotherhood and Sisterhood. Brisbane Biker. I will look 54 ThE BrOThErhOOds . never will be. Then there are the 10% clubs. Taking into account those large clubs with multiple chapters. it must gain the approval of the dominant club of the region for its patch design and colours. there are about 100 chapters of 1% clubs. The number of clubs in Australia rises and falls. Ton-Up-Boys. We are not a 1% MC.

This has produced a wave of anti-authority publicity. as we shall see later. There are about 1200 outlaw motorcycle clubs across the globe. We do know. as they’re constantly taking over small clubs and. there are four major outlaw clubs identified by police as organised crime problems—the Hell’s Angels. Pagans and Outlaws. since the late 1990s. have been expanding into Asia. Africa and South ThE CLuBs 55 . but there are more bikies per head of population in Western Australia than anywhere else in the country. I estimate there are about 2500 outlaw club members in Australia today. with about 14 000 outlaw motorcycle club members worldwide. It must be something about the isolation of Perth. that in the past few years Australian club memberships have surged. As with political parties. factional warfare causes massive problems for clubs. Another is the recruiting drives launched by many clubs involved in territorial battles—clubs lower entry standards to bolster numbers for these wars. Western Australia takes the prize for having the greatest concentration of bikies. One reason is the increase in returned servicemen from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Clubs are paranoid about the police and other clubs knowing how many members they have.) While New South Wales has the greatest number of outlaw clubs. The membership numbers of these four clubs are hard to pin down. Internationally. much of the club violence and inter-club warring has taken place in that state. as we will see in Chapter 11.at this club—and its pivotal role in the landmark events in Sydney in early 2009 that changed the bikie landscape forever—in more detail in Chapter 16. so they guard their membership figures with fierce secrecy. They can’t sustain any more members without factions forming within the clubs. attracting new members to some clubs. Another reason for the surge in member numbers. Over the last few years. up from about 2200 members in 2003. as each chapter has between four and 25 members. however. can be directly attributed to government attempts to rein in the clubs. I find it ridiculous that clubs guard their membership figures so tightly—it’s easy to work out. Bandidos. ironically.

what’s the difference between a club and a gang? The New Oxford Dictionary of English defines a gang as: ‘An organised group of criminals. the Pagans 500 members and the Bandidos 900–3850 members (the Bandido numbers fluctuate wildly because of the volatility of the club). The motorcycle clubs argue that. the Outlaws had about 900 members. then the police can get all the support from the citizens they need. The argument is whether it’s perpetrated as a club or by individual club members. Hell’s Angel So. as do the media. A group of young people involved in petty crime or violence. Once a club becomes a gang.’ Age. The last proper attempt to count their members internationally was in 2007: it was found that the Hell’s Angels had approximately 2000 members.America. they have a legitimate purpose—to pursue an alternative lifestyle through motorcycles. in fact. activity and motivation seem to be the differences. Plus. conjures images of a group up to no good. unlike the apparent crime orientation of modern ethnic and street gangs. It may seem like semantics. something I’ll explore in Chapter 12. which feel they’re branded as gangs to imply something sinister. after all. academic and journalistic sources.’ That same dictionary defines a club as: ‘A formal voluntary organisation or society which is convened to explore mutual interests and activities. clubs. they are. it’s rare for someone to be admitted to an outlaw 56 ThE BrOThErhOOds . You may notice I use the word ‘club’ rather than ‘gang’. It’s a huge issue with the clubs. It pisses the clubs off no end. but despite the widespread use of the term ‘bikie gangs’. The word ‘gang’. The outlaw motorcycle clubs are also quick to point out that they don’t allow members under the age of 18. In fact. The police freely refer to them as gangs. It’s a law enforcement term. the numbers come from different law enforcement. It’s used to try to make us worse than what we are. Yet the bikie clubs can’t deny crime occurs within the clubs.

If the club is large enough to have what you might call branch offices. to clearly distinguish between themselves and the outlaw clubs. It stands for motorcycle club. The chapters refer to it as the ‘usual place we gather’. but it’s something that concerns the clubs greatly. a notion that appears to be catching on with some of the Australian chapters. I’d have thought that a more military term. considering the military background of many of the clubs. Coffin Cheaters. although I have to admit that the only real bodies they can be compared to are gangs such as street gangs or possibly religious cults. If the police want to seize a club’s assets (including the club building) the club can deny they have a clubhouse. Perhaps their strongest argument is when members point to the ‘MC’ on their patches. these are called chapters of the club—the Gypsy Jokers Adelaide chapter. the club is the organisation—Hell’s Angels. I suspect chapter was just the appropriate word that someone started to use in the early days.motorcycle club before they are 25. which now refer to themselves as such. The US Hell’s Angels sometimes refer to ‘charters’. It’s probably a moot point to outsiders. would be used. it has assets. It’s easy to get tripped up. for instance. The argument is that if a club has a clubhouse.) I refer to them as clubs. It’s part of the strange world in which the clubs exist. due to its legal implications. It does have academic and religious connotations but I don’t believe these have had any influence on the choice. The other clarification that needs to be made is the difference between the words ‘club’ and ‘chapter’. many MRA-affiliated motorcycle clubs are more than happy to see the outlaw clubs referred to as gangs. with some Australian Hell’s Angels chapters no longer referring to their ‘clubhouse’. It’s unclear why the clubs chose the word ‘chapter’. The average age of motorcycle club members is mid-30s. yet it’s just one of the anomalies that attract men to the outlaw clubs. Many police reports start out referring to gangs and then revert to the term ‘clubs’ a few pages in. It’s hard to believe. they ask? (Incidentally. such as regiment. how could anyone argue the point. Simply. The clubs are also known to engage in semantics. ThE CLuBs 57 . Gypsy Jokers. If it’s part of their official title.

Finks. which changed its name after Hollister. The best-known club. The club later discovered there were two other clubs in California with the same logo also using the Hell’s Angels name. becoming the Hell’s Angels in 1948. In recent years they’ve started to move away from wearing the 1% badge because they believe 58 ThE BrOThErhOOds . internationalisation and commercial activities. there are about 40 Hell’s Angels and associates sprinkled among three million people. and the biggest internationally. says that in 1957 a club he was riding with in Oakland adopted the death’s head logo and called itself the Hell’s Angels. a reflection of its size. The Hell’s Angels are always keen to separate themselves from the other clubs. is the Hell’s Angels. The club was incorporated in 1966: ‘Dedicated to the promotion and advancement of motorcycle riding. is a bit shaky. motorcycle clubs. Worldwide. The club is sometimes referred to as the Big Red Machine. Bandidos. and in the United States it is increasingly referred to as the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Corporation.To my mind. Sonny Barger. in San Bernardino. Rebels. The number of Hell’s Angels in Australia is pretty small considering it’s the club the public most associates with bikies. Sydney and Melbourne. Coffin Cheaters. There are only seven chapters in Australia with a total of about 120 members nationally. motorcycle highway safety and all phases of motorcycling and motorcycle driving. There is one chapter in Darwin and Brisbane and two chapters each in Adelaide. In Melbourne. where the club is most active. the Hell’s Angels have about 100 chapters—65 in North America and 35 in countries outside the United States.’ The death’s head logo was patented in 1972 and the name trademarked in the mid-1980s. Gypsy Jokers and Nomads. The origin of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. Their reputation probably precedes them locally. was formerly the Pissed Off Bastards From Berdoo. One of these. the major outlaw motorcycle clubs in Australia are the Hell’s Angels. It’s not a high ratio. to show they are the leaders. This chapter is generally acknowledged as the first Hell’s Angels chapter. The man who should know. the former US national president. as we know it today.

bringing a stepmother into Sonny’s life. again to get away from the stereotypical bikie image set by Marvin and Brando in The Wild One. Along the way he made a name for himself as a tough. with Sonny in at least one fight a week in both primary and early secondary school. so he forged his birthdate on his birth certificate and joined the army. He’d finally found a family. making the Hell’s Angels as we know the club today. it was left to an older sister to raise Sonny. She died when he was eight years old and. unrelenting leader. He found men bound together by a true sense of brotherhood. but this only made his life more miserable because he now received regular beatings. In the neighbourhood where his family lived. But before this happened he had made another major discovery. It was a terrible start to life.too many clubs are wearing it. His father eventually remarried. In line with this attitude. Any profile of the Hell’s Angels must include Sonny Barger. His father and stepmother kicked him out of home when he was 16. fighting was considered a normal way of life. Following basic ThE CLuBs 59 . there has also been a trend towards wearing loud Hawaiian shirts. Sonny and his sisters found themselves shunted from his grandmother’s house in East Oakland to various motels and hotels on California’s highways where his father worked as an asphalt layer. as is often the case with the most hardened club members. with the discipline he’d been missing throughout his life. and then back to his grandmother’s. Sonny’s birth-certificate forgery was discovered. He was abandoned by his mother when he was four months old. Born in Oakland in 1938 to a German–Dutch father and an Italian mother. The army was a godsend for Sonny. Sonny managed to get himself expelled from high school for attacking his teachers. leaving Sonny with an alcoholic father unable to hold down a steady job. Things were no better at school. he was nicknamed ‘Sonny’ according to the tradition for a first-born Italian son. It’s long been possible to find some Queensland Hell’s Angels getting about in these shirts. when she ran off with a bus driver. He actually enjoyed a fight. He was given an honourable discharge and sent back to Oakland. Fourteen months after he enlisted. with his father never home. He’s the most influential bikie of his time.

Unbeknown to Sonny and his club. In particular. each becoming chapters of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. The early years of the club were marked by turmoil between the various chapters. He’d bought his first scooter when he was 13 and had formed at least one street gang by the time he was 14. It was called the Earth Angels and comprised friends from his neighbourhood. After some conflict. Through Sonny’s leadership. just like he had experienced in the army. but he found himself wondering how he could recapture the experience of belonging that he had felt in the army. 60 ThE BrOThErhOOds . he was stationed in Honolulu where he came into contact with some hard-partying veterans who were into motorcycling in a big way. He started riding with a loose-knit group of mates in Oakland. there were already other Hell’s Angels motorcycle clubs on the scene. It became a family as he understood a family to be. He dropped out of the Oakland Panthers when he found it didn’t hold the brotherhood values he was looking for in a club. He was no stranger to gangs or motorcycles. Sonny liked what he saw. there was a major dispute between the San Francisco and Oakland chapters over who was going to call the shots. the various clubs amalgamated. By 1958 Sonny Barger was president of the Oakland Chapter of the Hell’s Angels. He even tried to re-enlist but was rejected by a psychiatrist who felt that his tattoos and attitude indicated potential aggression problems. Upon his discharge.training. Sonny turned to a local motorcycle club. One of them came across a patch from a defunct North Sacramento club with the now infamous World War II Hell’s Angels death’s head logo. Sonny and his mates thought the emblem was ‘really cool’ so they named their group the Hell’s Angels. power shifted to the Oakland base. the Oakland Panthers. The Hell’s Angels gave Sonny what he was looking for—a sense of belonging and meaning. he held a succession of unskilled manual jobs. including the former Pissed Off Bastards From Berdoo in San Bernardino. Local gangs of this sort were common in the working class and underclass of US cities at the time.

The early club was a far cry from the modern Hell’s Angels. Recreational drug use soon became a feature of the club. time spent in jail is not considered time out of action. It was a time when the Hell’s Angels were mainly interested in partying. So the story continued. Weapons. Through technicalities and appeals. By 1978 the Hell’s Angels had grown to be the world’s most dominant outlaw motorcycle club. At that time. injuries from bike-riding and conflicts with other clubs. As a Hell’s Angel. women were allowed to be full members. there were even some female office bearers. On 13 February 1965 he was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and convicted of assault to commit murder. He successfully plea-bargained for a sentence of 15 years to life. when he was arrested and convicted on a variety of charges including kidnapping and narcotic distribution charges. and petty crime to support relatively nomadic lifestyles soon became part of the Hell’s Angels way of life. The charge landed him in prison for three years. Later that year. Sonny was released in 1977. On 30 April 1964 he was arrested for possession of marijuana and spent six months in prison. marijuana. As it was the early years of the drug culture people had a different view of such things than society does today. All that time. It had changed from being an ad hoc club of society misfits to a finely tuned multinational organisation. Sonny’s first encounter with the law came with his arrest and conviction in 1957 for drink-driving. arrests and hassles with the law. he had maintained his leadership of the Hell’s Angels—in the outlaw clubs. Along with that came the drug overdoses. On 10 March 1966 he was charged again with assault with a deadly weapon and scored six months in prison. he was charged with assault with a deadly weapon but the charge was withdrawn. with 10 more formal scrapes with the law until 1973. cocaine and heroin were illegal but LSD and designer drugs such as Peyote and methamphetamines were legal. and building and riding their motorcycles. By this time he was hopelessly addicted to cocaine. his charge sheet grew with predictable speed. For a start. Sonny was the pivotal character in its growth ThE CLuBs 61 . fighting with other clubs. As national president. On 13 November 1963 he was arrested for possession of narcotics.

He had finally purged his cocaine addiction by the time he was released. He looked like a rough customer to me. not the club. It’s most active in New South Wales. prompting the removal of his larynx. Sonny served his final prison years in Arizona. The club has gained national prominence in Australia in a relatively short time. with 62 ThE BrOThErhOOds . the jury found the Hell’s Angels’ raison d’être was not to commit crime. but that hasn’t kept him from the spotlight. Noel. I’d love to catch up with him again. although he had some sort of charisma. I fleetingly met Sonny in a restaurant in Oakland years ago. She raises horses and he rides motorcycles and runs a motorcycle shop. By the late 1970s the authorities had defined the club as an organisation whose primary purpose was to commit crime. in Arizona. He now speaks through a mechanical voice box.and management. as a social club consisting mainly of wharf workers who wanted to ride as an outlaw club. Texas. Clubs repeat Sonny’s mantra from that case to this day—‘Members commit crime. with multiple chapters in all states and a total of about 250 members Australia-wide. With Sonny orchestrating the Hell’s Angels’ defence. The Bandidos club was started in 1966 by Don Nichols in Houston.’ Sonny soon had to switch his attention to his health. The Bandidos is an extensive global outlaw motorcycle club. opening its first Australian chapter in Sydney in 1984. In 1987 he was convicted of conspiracy to bomb a rival outlaw motorcycle club and sent to prison for five years. These days he’s considered an elder statesman of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club. As the club grew so too did the attention of the police. When a Hell’s Angels chapter was formed in Arizona in 1995 he packed up and headed for the desert. In 1979 the Hell’s Angels became the first organisation to be prosecuted under the Racketeer Influenced and Criminal Organization Act. before he’d made a name for himself. falling in love with the climate and wide-open spaces. He found his third wife. He was blessed with excellent organisational skills and leadership abilities that would have served him well in the straight business world. In 1982 he was diagnosed with throat cancer. They took their name from a television commercial at the time for Frito Bandido.

Sydney and Perth. which is based in Sydney but floats all around the place. According to other clubs. it has a racing bent—mainly dirt racing. Melbourne. The Rebels have made rapid inroads into the Australian outlaw motorcycle club scene since the late 1990s. although this has never been proven.’ Other clubs claim many of these new members have little real commitment to the bikie lifestyle. Shepparton. Pakenham. This name has its origins in Texas. Launceston. Geelong and north-east Victoria. The Rebels is Australia’s largest club in terms of membership. Devonport. now?’ or ‘The Rebels start at least 10 new chapters in the school holidays. As its name suggests. the Outlaws also often refer to themselves as the Outlaw Nation. While it could take years to become a full member of a hardcore club such as the Hell’s Angels or Gypsy Jokers. where the street gangs often put ‘nation’ after their title to indicate they’d moved beyond being a mere gang. There was also an Adelaide chapter until a war with the Gypsy Jokers forced the Bandidos to leave town in 1998–99. Hobart. it could take as little as three to six months for an applicant to join the Rebels. the Hunter Valley. Mackay. prompting the Australian Rebels to affiliate with the now-defunct West Virginiabased Rebels MC. Racing Club. The Bandidos are sometimes referred to as the Bandido Nation. into something much bigger and more complex. with 43 chapters across Australia and about 600 members. Jokes abound about these lower standards—for example. They’re the most successful of the new-age outlaw motorcycle clubs. three in Queensland—Brisbane. originating in Sydney in 1969. It’s also a home-grown club.chapters in Sydney. ‘Did you know you can join the Rebels by Internet. central New South Wales and the oddly-named chapter. Cairns and the Sunshine Coast. the Rebels’ rapid growth has meant lower membership requirements than other outlaw clubs. There has also been police speculation that the Bandidos adopted it as some sort of Ku Klux Klan affiliation. the mid-north coast. In a similar vein. The Outlaws first formed chapters in Australia in 2000 and currently has chapters in Brisbane. There are three chapters in Victoria—Ballarat. The Rebels and the Hell’s Angels waged a war in the 1970s. ThE CLuBs 63 . and one in Perth.

respectively. which has six chapters in the Toronto region. Brisbane. the club may have taken over other local clubs as part of the war. Cairns and the NSW south coast. they invariably grant full membership immediately. in turn. Interestingly. or it was looking to boost numbers to strengthen itself against rival clubs. Some hardcore clubs believe the Rebels and. although a few years after it was formed it became an affiliate of the US club of the same name. It’s extremely unusual to have that many Hell’s Angels chapters in such a small area. It took its name from a reference to the Coffin Cheaters in Hunter S. with a number of clubs in a constant territorial war (prior to them being declared illegal organisations under Canadian legislation). The Gypsy Jokers is another local club. The Canadian bike scene is extremely volatile. South Australia and New South Wales. followed by Victoria with two chapters—Melbourne and eastern Victoria—and they have affiliate clubs in New South Wales and Queensland—Sydney.These sources say if the Rebels take over a club. don’t respect other clubs and their colours. with about 120 full members across Australia. Australian police believe the Coffin Cheaters are affiliated with the Outlaws. I often hear clubs refer to the Rebels and Bandidos as the Rabble and the Band Aids. The Coffin Cheaters is another major Australian outlaw motorcycle club. to a degree. and a number of violent incidents have occurred 64 ThE BrOThErhOOds . respect is rarely shown to them. It’s that sort of sniping between clubs that leads to violent confrontations and turf wars. the Bandidos. The club is a home-grown Australian club with about 300 members. prompting accusations from other clubs that the Hell’s Angels have ‘gone slumming’ in a chase for members. The club has chapters in Western Australia. The Gypsy Jokers have the highest profile in South Australia and Western Australia. the same accusation is being levelled at the Hell’s Angels in Canada. but that’s not the case. Their biggest presence is in Perth where there are three chapters and several more in regional areas of Western Australia. But. Hell’s Angels. Thompson’s 1966 book. The club has about eight chapters located in Western Australia and Victoria.

including shootings and clashes with police. 10 of its members were accused of raping a woman. the Fourth Reich. The Gypsy Jokers have been instrumental in the formation of a couple of other outlaw clubs. the Hell’s Angels argued. the Mandamas. The Mandamas ThE CLuBs 65 . Not long after the Fourth Reich was established in Wollongong in the early 1970s. The clubs shared many things. the Black Uhlans’ patch colours were the same as the Gypsy Jokers’—gold. including their constitution. The Gypsy Jokers soon began to spread. One new club. The 10 men fled to Queensland. The friendship between the clubs was not to last. The Gypsy Jokers flatly refused. After all. and were even using their red and white colours on the 1% badge of their jackets. The club was formed in 1969 with the help of the then Sydney chapter of the Hell’s Angels. The Hell’s Angels even took the extraordinary step of giving the fledgling club permission to wear the red and white 1% badge that was part of the Hell’s Angels’ colours to demonstrate the Gypsy Jokers had approval from the Hell’s Angels to fly colours in their territory. and the animosity lasts to this day. Some Gypsy Jokers still defiantly wear the red and white 1% badge the Hell’s Angels gave them. black and red—a symbol of the brotherhood between the clubs. with chapters established in Mount Gambier and Adelaide. The Adelaide chapter was the result of a friendly patch-over of a local club.in both states. the Jokers had used one of their members to set up the club. A Hell’s Angel prospect who’d helped start the Gypsy Jokers opted to leave and become a fully-fledged Gypsy Joker after the Hell’s Angels told the Jokers to disband and instead become the West Sydney chapter of the Hell’s Angels. forming a club called the Black Uhlans. The Fourth Reich and Black Uhlans used the Hell’s Angels’ rules and organisational structure passed on by the Gypsy Jokers. Again. putting them under the spotlight. were using the Hell’s Angels’ constitution. It split the clubs so badly that they became sworn enemies. shared colours with the Gypsy Jokers as a sign of solidarity and comradeship. The Gypsy Jokers’ rules today remain identical to the Hell’s Angels’. No charges were ever laid over the rape.

The thirteenth tooth of the skull is missing which stands for the thirteenth letter of the alphabet—M for marijuana. Representatives of each Australian chapter—Sydney. in the middle of the barren Nullarbor Plain. both calling themselves by the same name. The parties were sometimes designed to test the mettle of the Australians and invariably they ended in a planned fight to see how the visitors handled themselves. In 1976 the eastern Australian Gypsy Jokers learned of another club in Perth calling itself the Gypsy Jokers. The Australians were well looked after by their American counterparts. But it has since been changed to a skull of indeterminate ethnicity. earning the Aussie club the final nod to become official affiliates. so they met halfway between the two cities. Adelaide. which had become aware of the Australian club. The WA chapter took on the main patch and colours of the eastern club—a triangle representing the idea that one went places in life but always returned to the same spot. to iron out the details of becoming one club. ultimately. handled the task easily. the next step was to handle relations with the US Gypsy Jokers. The crack in the skull stands for violence and the earring for a gypsy. the Barbarians. Mawson. surrounding a picture of an Asian with a fractured skull. There are a substantial number of other home-grown Australian clubs with chapters nationally. The trouble arose because both the Mandamas and the Undertakers wore the same colours. The Mandamas decided to join a larger club—the Gypsy Jokers—to stand up to the Undertakers and Barbarians who. It is believed this referred to the Vietnam war and represented the Vietnamese people. an earring and a tear in his eye. Perth. which include the Black 66 ThE BrOThErhOOds . supplied with motorcycles and invited to a succession of parties. These clubs. The final test was a fight between Australian founding member Phil ‘Ugly’ Mawson and the president of the US club. Following the consolidation of the club.were having trouble with the Undertakers and their sister club. became collectively Hell’s Angels. Newcastle and Mount Gambier—were invited to the US Gypsy Jokers’ Seattle headquarters. a retired light-heavyweight boxer and combat-hardened Vietnam veteran. The clubs realised they couldn’t have two independent clubs with different patches and colours.

And since I have had a fair bit of contact with the Hell’s Angels the Finks regard me with some suspicion. It’s from these clubs that the Comancheros members are chosen. with most in South Australia. Odin’s Warriors and. Incredibly. one in Victoria and one forming in Queensland. After a week of trying to think of a name for their club. The Comancheros have 15 chapters and are rapidly expanding at the time of writing—to date. I’ve only recently been able to make any meaningful contact with the Finks. I just can’t seem to crack it for a discussion with any of them. where the main character. The Finks club was founded in 1969 in rural New South Wales by a group of farmers’ sons who were ineligible for combat duties in Vietnam. gets around calling out. The club’s Brisbane clubhouse is reputedly the finest in Australia. arguably. but about ThE CLuBs 67 . There are Finks in Western Australia. New South Wales and Victoria. It’s a national club with three chapters in New South Wales. They’ve had a very public war with the Hell’s Angels dating back to the Sydney club’s Outlaw Run in 1971—the battle came to a head in 1972 when a crew of seven Finks shot and killed the Hell’s Angels president at the Hell’s Angels clubhouse at Mascot. with a set of ‘sub’ or feeder clubs that hang around them. However.Uhlans. The club has a more complex structure than most. as they like to keep to themselves. The Finks is quite an odd club because it has no office bearers except a sergeant-at-arms. there are about 150 full Comancheros members. are strong clubs and unlikely to join or affiliate with the larger clubs. sources tell me the Perth Coffin Cheaters have the best digs. ‘The king is a Fink’. There are about 150 members nationally. I know the club is in Queensland. the war between the clubs has raged for 38 years. There are 70–90 members nationally. Bung. but they do not seem to have a clubhouse there. The founders thought it was a pretty good name for a club. Prospective members prove their worth in the lesser club. so to speak. The Finks is another home-grown Australian club. the Comancheros. two in South Australia. The Black Uhlans are hard nuts to get any information on. someone came across the Wizard of Id cartoon strip. but I cannot say where the chapters are within these states.

most never to return. Rebels and Finks are all what I call hardcore clubs. meanest outlaw motorcycle club in Australia? It’s not an easy question to answer. The Finks’ attendance rules for weekly meetings. I really respect their name—Odin was the ancient Nordic God of War—as it shows such flair for an outlaw club. I believe it has two chapters in Queensland and another one in Melbourne. These clubs are focused. they didn’t recruit any new members for 10 years. These are the bad arses that often find themselves accused of violence and 68 ThE BrOThErhOOds . well armed. Then there are the single-chapter clubs that successfully survive patch-over threats from the larger clubs. or robbed by a Fink’. It also has servicemen as members. Hell’s Angels. and the normally strict outlaw club codes of behaviour are much more relaxed than those of other clubs. I haven’t been able to penetrate them. including two SAS divers. the dissident group preferred a more ‘hardcore name.half the members refused to ride with a club named the Finks and left the meeting. According to one of the club’s founders. onioned. The war with the Hell’s Angels made the club introspective. or ‘church’. like the Outlaws’. the club began taking on members and now has a balance of young and old. heavily committed to their survival and relatively cohesive. Bandidos. The Finks have no desire to associate with international clubs or create chapters internationally. Nomads. with its calling card once declaring. The club also seems to run on family lines. bashed. It doesn’t appear to be aligned with any other club. The Finks has been described as ‘the most disorganised but most violent’ of the Australian bikie clubs. It’s by far the most multicultural club in Australia with several Aboriginal and Muslim members. with a surprisingly high number of brothers joining. There is one question I am asked more than any other: which is the baddest. so information is hard to come by. and a Native American was a member for many years. ‘I have been visited. The Comancheros. demanding high levels of commitment from members. By the late 1980s. Odin’s Warriors is another secretive club. these include the Fourth Reich and the Descendants.

All outlaw motorcycle clubs. Simply. Comancheros and Bandidos were firmly in the spotlight. I’m inclined to believe the cops here. as with the Australian scene. For many in the straight world. these few scare the other clubs. Gypsy Jokers. as explained to me. the NSW Gang Squad and Organised and Serious Crimes Unit do not list them as a ‘high risk of crime’ club. the Hell’s Angels immediately spring to mind. are hard units. The Black Uhlans is reputedly Australia’s wealthiest club. and say their secretiveness is not due to criminal activity. the Hell’s Angels. Yet. The Nomads were a real force in the early 1980s. By 2009. the police pressure it experiences. because the scene continually changes. If I were pushed on the issue. Personally. You could say the most notorious club is the one getting the media coverage. he allegedly gave the speed formula to two members of different clubs. One reason for this wealth. one of these clubs is believed to have been the Black Uhlans. is that when Peter Hill was thrown out of the Hell’s Angels for manufacturing speed (I’ll tell you more about him in Chapter 13). when the word bikie is mentioned. I asked him how I could get to talk to the Black Uhlans. The Gypsy Jokers have been in the spotlight in recent years. by virtue of its size. and the amount of consistent media coverage it receives. however. allegedly owning a significant number of retirement units in inner Melbourne. the Hell’s Angels. and have probably earned the mantle.’ he replied sternly.’ Internationally. ThE CLuBs 69 . which varies from year to year. I consider the Black Uhlans club to be notorious. I’d have to give the nod to the biggest club. By 1984 the Bandidos and Comancheros were on the scene as the baddest boys. but reflects their particular style as a club. Odin’s Warriors and Galloping Gooses. purely because it’s virtually a secret society. ‘You don’t. while most clubs scare the straight community. There really is no most notorious club in Australia. While being shown this supposed stretch of real estate by a rival club member one day. there is no most notorious club.crime. Some are just harder than others. ‘You leave them alone. Those other clubs include the Coffin Cheaters. Black Uhlans.

It was a little social thing. but also its territory. don’t patch over other clubs and make little effort to recruit. The clubs that get into patch-overs. such as the Fourth Reich in Melbourne. Saturday we partied and on Sunday we went back to work. it has to expect the larger club to launch a violent takeover. with about 15 members. On Friday we got together. such as the Gypsy Jokers. To have a large hardcore club roll up on the doorstep and declare it is taking over a territory is very frightening for many smaller clubs that are basically social clubs. ‘The club was only just the club. feel they must amalgamate with other clubs in order to defend themselves against other predatory clubs who will confiscate their patch—eat or be eaten.Prior to the arrival of clubs such as the Hell’s Angels the Australian clubs were basically individuals riding together with little or no restriction on membership. The club that has been patched over not only loses its patch. or the much more romantic term ‘patch-over’. Former Iriquois president Then the large American clubs moved in. taking over the small clubs. It’s one hard mother of a club to get into. and the Descendants. or they may become a chapter of the more powerful club. Other clubs. so it’s not in the business of taking over small clubs. The small club usually has no choice—if it refuses. The clubs call it an amalgamation. We were just hell bent on having a good time and not doing any harm to anybody. However. and its members are usually absorbed into the larger club. These clubs contain some of the hardest bastards you’ll ever meet. which many small clubs cannot sustain. have both successfully defended their patch against the big clubs. To patch over means the club literally puts its patch over another club’s patch—you can’t get a much more definite act than that. with only eight members. whether the larger clubs or the ones being patched over. some small Australian clubs.’ said the founding president of one club at the time. 70 ThE BrOThErhOOds . based in Adelaide. particularly when they hold a party and burn the conquered club’s patches.

was the takeover by the Rebels of the Central Upper Northern Tourers at Roxby Downs in South Australia. In 1997 the club held a bike show to raise funds. The new name was a reflection of the attitude of the club at the time. started a motorcycle-touring club called the Rum Runners in 1986. a pretty hard town. this was. They had no choice: the Coffin Cheaters took their patches and the small club effectively disappeared. because members didn’t wear patches and were only distinguishable by a badge on the front of their riding vests. It wasn’t a 1% club.’ said Gypsy. 30 fully-fledged Rebel members showed up in town to support the nominees. Five minutes before the show. worked for the local mining company. like everyone in town. ThE CLuBs 71 . a small club in country Victoria. three local Rebel nominees arrived at the show and informed the CUNTs they were taking the profits of the show. who. The club grew to about 15 members by 1996. ‘But there was shit we could do about it. however. Remember. playing the local mine politics.’ Gypsy and his members fought back.Patch-overs are not the exclusive domain of the big US clubs. and still is. It turned out these three had a charter to start a Rebels chapter in Roxby Downs. The CUNTs members also threatened to resign if the three Rebels nominees were not dealt with. who worked in the uranium mines at Roxby Downs. the CUNTs president at the time. when it became the CUNTs. Soon after. Three mates. The three Rebels. I believe the company decided it was easier to get rid of three relatively junior employees as opposed to 15 more senior and established employees. notwithstanding the acronym of one of the clubs involved. were portrayed as being a risk to business. Just like that! ‘We were fuckin’ stunned. That was the end of the club. faced a dilemma a few years ago when its members were told it was to become a chapter of the Coffin Cheaters or be disbanded. I suspect it was made very clear to the company and union that an outlaw motorcycle club was not a good thing for the town. Australian clubs are not averse to throwing their weight around when it comes to forced amalgamations. The CUNTs were told they didn’t have permission to ride as a club in Roxby Downs. Satan’s Cavalry. Another interesting case.

it can trigger a territorial war. 72 ThE BrOThErhOOds . In these cases. or run the risk of having the shit beaten out of them by entering a territory wearing rival patches. the Angels can take their time to see if a club is worthy of wearing the death’s head. As soon as the Rebels left. Usually only one chapter can fly the colours of the mother club in a town. cover their patches while they’re in another club’s territory. as dominance of territory is a condition of joining the mother club. the Rebels pulled out of the town. Indeed. It was a rare victory for a small club.Two years after they took over the CUNTs. I’ve asked the Rebels for their version of events in this patch-over. In fact. which can cause a bit of friction with other local clubs who want to become chapters of the larger clubs. many small clubs are keen to become a chapter of a large club such as the Hell’s Angels. There can also be strife when two small clubs in an area each want to become part of rival clubs. A club that wants to enter the territory of a larger club has three options: ask the dominant club for permission to wear their colours in the territory. but they have failed to respond to my requests. Prospective members from the smaller club still have to undergo a trial period with the mother chapter but they have a lot more freedom than if they had been patched over against their will. the CUNTs got together and had a huge party—and they are still happily riding together to this day. Patch-overs are not always violent.

For example. women. how to leave the club. conduct at the club and on runs. Anyone could do what they wanted without fear of punishment. Most clubs have a rule that no members are to talk to the media unless authorised by their executive. not having your motorcycle in running condition for one month of the riding season is considered grounds for expulsion from some clubs. and even how to deal with the outside world. It’s apt I introduce a chapter on outlaw motorcycle club rules with this notion. treatment of fellow members. even they need rules to survive. The former president of one club had . The outlaw motorcycle clubs consider themselves to be among the last bastions of free people. from whom I’m not sure. drugs and weapons. that if there was complete freedom there’d be no freedom at all.Chapter six ruLEs. they loom large over everything the club does. Think about it. Yet. BLoody ruLEs God only gave us 10 rules. even to deny something is considered an interview and is grounds for instant dismissal. If society had no rules our lives would be in disarray. There are rules for most things—how to become a member. These rules are sacrosanct. free from the straight world. While the clubs try to keep the rules to a minimum. the amount of time to devote to the club. How many does a bikie club need? Former Comanchero There’s a saying.

so they jumped on their bikes as a group and went to the supermarket. which means all business is subject to group decisions. one of the group realised he’d forgotten his smokes. No member can ride alone. complex affairs. The meeting.) The outlaw motorcycle club is a participatory democracy. Protocol can dictate basic issues. One major club’s rules state that if members are together they must ride as a group. I’m not sure why someone couldn’t spare him a smoke. with everyone putting in their two bob’s worth. with heated debates about anything and everything. It’s also guided by a very simple philosophy: everyone gets their say but not necessarily their way. The meeting format is pretty much 74 ThE BrOThErhOOds . the outlaw heroes of the Wild West. It’s the fundamental conundrum that I face with the clubs: I keep hearing the terms individuality and freedom of expression when bikies describe their way of life. fire up the Harleys and escort him to the local shop for the cigarettes. The rules prevented him scooting down himself.’ It’s the greatest anomaly of the clubs. The agenda is usually set by informal discussions among members around the club or at social gatherings. is a formal affair. One day a group of members decided they needed some supplies for the clubhouse. etc. such as how and where to ride to a certain location. but invariably their conversations are full of rules. The club meetings are generally held once a week during the active ‘riding season’ and once every second week during the off-season. (It wasn’t the Outlaws—they have a no-smoking rule in their clubhouse. Upon returning. or ‘church’. Many club members see themselves as modern cowboys. The outlaw motorcycle clubs may like to think they’re cohesive units but when it comes to club business they’re just like any organisation. Yet they require the structure and coordination of the group to achieve that individual lifestyle. in favour. With that come the politics inherent in any structured gathering of people. It’s irreconcilable. so everyone had to suit up again.an interesting view of this rule: ‘You can say anything you want as long as the cops already know about it. politics and drama. for and against. guided by Robert’s Rules of meeting procedures—motions. It can make club meetings drawn-out.

BLOOdy ruLEs 75 . with many friends and associates hanging around. The club meetings are an important part of the outlaw lifestyle. This number refers to full members. Only full members are allowed to attend church. usually about $20. generally a new chapter will be created. The FBI estimates there are 10 associates for every full member of an outlaw motorcycle club—so. The executive is comprised of office bearers and two or three other full members. and as long as everyone has their say. any unfinished business from the previous meeting is dealt with. In a club or chapter of 15 members. it seems to work fine. and prevents fracturing of the club through factions. Thus. It differs a bit from a normal meeting in that drinking is allowed. This is generally followed by a report from the executive committee that acts as a kind of brains trust for the club. apologies are important. The smallness of clubs means most members must be active in the club’s political life. Following the rollcall.. They start about 8 p. as is acceptance of the apologies.m. Chapter memberships are usually kept below 25. but also allows the bond between members to remain strong. The president calls the meeting to order and a formal rollcall is taken. Given the raucous and assertive nature of both biker and bikie culture it’s often difficult to make out whether the rules are in operation at meetings or not. This not only ensures meetings run smoothly.standard across all clubs and chapters. a club with as few as 10 members can still be a busy place. Once a chapter reaches 25. there is then a beer break. The meeting is again called to order and new business is discussed. possibly ruLEs. Then. the minutes of the previous meeting are voted upon as acceptable or unacceptable. The notion of everyone having their say means chapters cannot be too big. Any bigger and the decision-making process would become unworkable. Consensus is the key. Intoxication at church is a fineable offence. so missing three meetings in a row is generally grounds for expulsion from the club. where issues are informally discussed. If a member is too pissed they are usually kicked out of the meeting and cop the fine. usually on a Wednesday. Following the executive report and discussion of the report.

which are attended by bikies from all countries in which the clubs have a presence. All positions are democratically elected. called ‘world runs’. which has only eight members. each club would have a president. with candidates asked to leave the room while members debate the qualities of each applicant. 76 ThE BrOThErhOOds . It’s unusual for someone to challenge for a position. secretary. treasurer and sergeant-atarms. While there is some behind-the-scenes lobbying for positions. While there are no restrictions on who can stand for office. vice-president. One such club is the Descendants. the candidates are called back into the room and informed of the outcome. These large clubs have monthly executive meetings and yearly conventions. Clubs such as the Bandidos and Hell’s Angels have international office bearers. Its office bearers are reduced to a president. The major clubs. Once the final vote is taken. which stretch across the globe. if there are three or more members running for the same position. For instance. treasurer and sergeant-atarms. by the end of the party often no one can remember who won or lost the elections. The candidates are usually experienced members who’ve already held minor positions. would have these positions at each level. or will be next in line for the top job. national office bearers and chapter office bearers. Elections are usually held annually for national and chapter positions. A huge party to clear the air normally follows each election. If it comes to a vote it’s by secret ballot. which is where most of the national business takes place. a preliminary vote is held to reduce the field to two. These clubs will also have a national run. as it’s usually worked out well in advance.five would hold an executive position. the person who loses out in the pre-election manoeuvring will often be promised another position. Smaller clubs may have only a couple of office bearers. As these parties last for at least three days. as long as they’re a full member it’s unusual for a relative newcomer to put their hand up. In some clubs. Each chapter must elect a member to represent them at the national or international level. such as president.

One such president was Jock Ross. Some presidents seem to be born to the position. Two such club presidents are Alex Vella of the Rebels in Australia and Sonny Barger of the Hell’s Angels in the United States. by and large. Even some of the smaller clubs have a national president.) In most clubs the president’s role is to execute the decisions of the club. and takes the occasional year off to step back from the pressure. have the right to tell everyone to shut up and put the matter to a vote. This restriction on the president’s powers reflects the fact that. The president has a very stressful role. The president does. (The Odin’s Warriors. not to autocratically rule the club. He’s not autocratic like Jock. has a national president. however. The larger clubs.PrEsidEnT The primary role of the president is to preside over meetings of the executive board and the club or chapter. Conversely. He held the reins of the Comancheros even while serving time in prison for the Milperra murders. These are generally the presidents who rule the club with an iron fist. such is their leadership skill. which has only two chapters. Barger was president when the Hell’s Angels grew from three chapters ruLEs. the president of the Hell’s Angels South Australian chapter. Mick. BLOOdy ruLEs 77 . I remember one former Hell’s Angels chapter president who resigned when the pressure of the presidency got too much for him. some thrive on the pressure. has been at it for about 12 years. He’ll make minor decisions and resolve inconsequential debates among members. Constantly liaising with police. This pair has led large national clubs with hundreds of members. I’ve seen people who have accepted the president’s role being forced to step down after a few months in office because of the stress of the job. He’s generally the liaison for all club business and serves as spokesman. but the heavy stuff has to be decided by the entire group. such as the Bandidos and Rebels. the weight of having to refer virtually everything back to the members and the overall leadership role can place a lot of strain on an individual. the clubs are fully participatory democracies that require members to be involved in governing the club. have a national president.

Considering that the Hell’s Angels is a voluntary organisation with a turnover of about 75 per cent of their members every 10 years. a leader of men but head of a club that is universally disliked and disrespected in the hardcore bike world. That’s because of Vella’s achievement in creating Australia’s largest motorcycle club. it’s been known for them to be thumped and dumped from the position.’ Steve Williams. Generally. and the Rolls Royce cars and battalion of Harleys in his garage. but he’d feel good reading it. he’s now a millionaire through making wise investments. He was able to force the NSW police to give back seized personal property because he had an impeccable paper trail to prove it had been bought legitimately. ViCE-PrEsidEnT The role of vice-president carries little power or responsibility apart from the times when the president is absent—if the police are on the club’s case. because of the club rivalry. It really is a case of making the man. Often the vice-president’s most important function is to quell factional conflict within the club. the president is the leader of a major faction of the club. or even black-marked and kicked out of the club if he really mucks up. One former club president told me that often the leadership is foisted on the most ‘problematic’ people in the club.’ he said. It was a case of seeing how well he would perform as the leader of the club. Alex Vella has been called Australia’s answer to Sonny Barger. He’s a unique creature. 78 ThE BrOThErhOOds . ‘Self-discipline is instilled by the responsibility of leadership. that may be more often than not. which says: ‘If a member can neither lead or be led. a Gypsy Joker who was charged with assaulting a policeman in early 2001 during a major bust-up between the clubs and the cops. A former champion boxer. If presidents chosen in such circumstances fail to prove their worth. that’s no mean feat. and moves to expel him would cause a very serious split within the club. in an attempt to make them responsible for their actions. was later elected president. though. they should be expelled. He’d never say it. It’s the led-or-be-led principle.in the United States to more than 110 chapters internationally.

While nowadays largely ceremonial. Again. the role is no different from any other club or society. so it’s the secretary’s responsibility to ensure they are kept in a safe place.The leader of a faction is often appointed vice-president to keep the peace. while another theory has its origin in the Tower Guards in London. sECrETAry The club secretary fulfils the standard functions of any club secretary— recording and maintaining meeting minutes and policy changes. sErGEAnT-AT-ArMs This is perhaps the most peculiar and interesting of all the positions in a club. The position holds little power and certainly no budgetary authority. The secretary must endeavour to capture the essence of what’s happening to record the minutes. One of the few places to find a sergeant-at-arms is in the Westminster system of government. it once served the same role as the bikie sergeant-at-arms—to keep the peace. Sometimes ruLEs. Imagine trying to take minutes for a club meeting with everyone ignoring the rules of the meeting. these minutes are highly confidential. strongly arguing their point of view. The police often refer to this position as the ‘enforcer’—the person who ensures the rules of the club are observed. the vice-president is someone who aspires to become president. For an outlaw motorcycle club. It’s also one of the most influential. TrEAsurEr The treasurer’s functions include collecting the dues and fines and monitoring income and expenditure. The highly democratic nature of clubs ensures financial decisions are closely scrutinised. Every Australian outlaw motorcycle club has a sergeant-at-arms. BLOOdy ruLEs 79 . as in politics. It’s believed the grand title was actually pinched from the Freemasons. or going off on a tangent. keeping an eye on meeting procedure. Or simply. It’s no easy task. and corresponding with outsiders on behalf of the club.

He often has his work cut out. He’s usually a communicator and a thinker. Most run without a lot of the procedural bullshit. however. An example of the sergeant-at-arms’ duties would be during meetings when discussion gets heated and the procedures start to falter. He’ll have a forceful personality. including the three that follow. with terms of five to eight years. but that’s pretty rare. What cannot be overstated. Yet at the end of the day he has only one vote like everyone else. That sometimes means they rebel against club rules. but usually he’ll act as a ‘quality controller’. sober habits and his wits about him. He’s the only club member allowed to use violence towards another member in meetings. The stable personality of these people allows them to stay in the job longer than the type of personality required for the high-pressure role of president. The sergeantat-arms will usually be chosen because he’s the sort of bloke who can diffuse a situation before it gets to that. are the rules. 80 ThE BrOThErhOOds . he’s responsible for maintaining the standards of the club or chapter. It’s common for the sergeant-at-arms to be a relatively long-term position at the club. His duties even extend to ensuring tattoos are end-dated—or removed—if a member is expelled. Only a few club constitutions have made it into the open.the sergeant-at-arms will have to ‘enforce’ the rules when members step out of line. He’ll levy fines and make sure colours are returned. and these remain largely unchanged to this day. Without rules the clubs couldn’t function. Most Australian clubs adopted the Hell’s Angels’ rules outlined below. All clubs have rules set down in the form of a closely guarded constitution. The president might signal to the sergeant-at-arms to restore silence and order. That is. He’s expected to enforce rules for a bunch of fiercely independent people bent on rebelling against society norms. ThE ruLEs It’s easy to overstate the organisational aspects of the clubs.

For California votes. Anyone using a needle for any reason other than having a doctor use it on you will be considered a hype.m. One patch and one membership card per member. • Guns on California runs will not be displayed after 6 p. prospects same as members. • No explosives of any kind will be thrown into the fire where there is one or more HELL’S ANGELS in the area.By-laws • All patches will be the same on the back.m. two no votes to kill a new charter and if a charter goes below six they must freeze or dissolve on the decision of California officers meeting. FINE: $100 for breaking above by-law or possible loss of patch. When making deals. in a predetermined area only. Prospects will wear California rocker on back and prospect left front where top of pocket is on a Levi jacket. two no votes instead of a majority. BLOOdy ruLEs 81 . FINE: Automatic kickout from club. FINE: Asswhipping and/or subject to California President’s decision. when any HELL’S ANGEL fights another HELL’S ANGEL it is one on one. Rule does not apply to anyone with a gun in a shoulder holster or belt that is seen by another member if it is not being shot or displayed. fine goes to California Treasurer. City patch is optional for each charter. • One vote per chapter at California officers meetings. ruLEs. Fines will be paid to that charter’s treasurer to be held for the next California run. FINE: $100 for breaking above by-law. No use of heroin in any form. FINE: Automatic kick-out from club. • All HELL’S ANGELS fines will be paid within 30 days. If members are from different charters. FINE: $100 for breaking above by-law. • No narcotic burns. • No hypes. • Brothers shall not fight each other with weapons. person gets what they are promised or the deal is called off. nothing will show on the back except the HELL’S ANGELS patch. Member may keep original patch if made into a banner. They will be fired from dawn ’til 6 p.

medical or jail. Any fuckups are on his shoulders.• If kicked out. • No leave period except hospital. Blonks Rules • No colours to be worn when a member is in a motorcar. • Runs are on the holidays. • Colours to be worn on your bike or when a pillion. a club based in Darwin. Look after them they are for the rest of your life. The Blonks. three mandatory runs are Memorial Day. HELL’S ANGELS tattoo will have an in-date and outdate when the member quits. • $1000 to be kept in the club account for bail at all times. • Once a set of colours have been received. HELL’S ANGELS tattoo will be completely covered or a ½ inch X through the tattoo. that is the only set to be issued. give their rules a distinctively Australian flavour. so consider carefully before accepting. • Due to past circumstances no colours to be worn when shafting gins (Aboriginal women) and no gins to be brought to the house ever. • In the interests of peace among members keep your hands off another woman if she is a member’s woman. • If in your opinion another member is too pissed to have adequate control over his bike relieve the keys from him. that person becomes the responsibility of that member. If kicked out. • When a person nominates a person. must stay out one year then back to original charter. • $5. • Colours to be worn at every meeting. Labor Day. July 4. 82 ThE BrOThErhOOds . backing down after you have received them is serious. Of which of these is left to the discretion of the charter. • A minimum period of six (6) months is required after a person has been nominated.00 fine for anyone late to a meeting without a reason.

He is then a prospect or hanger on. But break enough of the minor rules and it turns into a major issue. If a good reason it will be decided on at next meeting. or social matter. The colours are usually put in the club safe and the former member given time to prove he can obey club rules. It’s not a weekend thing. I’ve often heard someone ruLEs. As you can see. I expect the Bandido who put forward membership for two undercover policemen who infiltrated the club would be a good example of the sort of behaviour that would earn a black mark. such as using stronger drugs than alcohol at church or bringing police heat onto a club. Black marks are usually given for serious misdemeanours. perhaps for the rest of their life. BLOOdy ruLEs 83 . work and friends. • A member must have a good reason for having his bike off the road for more than three (3) months or else he gets demoted to nominee and must do 3 months nomineeship to get his patch back. Prospect’s names don’t go in book (finance book) but some record kept. so he’s not cut off completely. there are major rules that result in expulsion if broken. and minor rules that attract a fine. It can be a battle being a club member. Members are allowed five black marks in three years. Any more and they must hand in their colours and/or resign from the club. The club is expected to take precedence over family. The time and social commitments place enormous strains on personal and professional lives. If after a certain amount of time a member of the club wants to nominate the prospect and only if the nomination is 100% then he gets top rocker. • When a bloke wants to join the club he must come to every meeting (if no fucking good reason) and pay $5. The commitment expected of a club member would make a high-powered executive wince. It defines that person.00 a week. Out stabbing and shooting. It’s based on the concept of the black mark.• Up to $50.00 fine for member slugging or fighting with another member.

Former club president The responsibility of when you decide to wear a patch. I’d run into people who I knew. Being a true club member is a whole lifestyle. we talk about old friends and associates and wish we could find the time to see them now. It got down to the point where I just couldn’t be bothered seeing anyone outside the club. On occasions. and we are not supposed to speak about club business with ‘cits’ [citizens]. Hell’s Angel 84 ThE BrOThErhOOds . away from mainstream society.referred to as a former bikie or former Hell’s Angel long after his association with the club has ceased. Bandido I could see it. they just want to talk about the club anyway. that’s great but in other ways. It’s a life. But you can’t. leading to the bikie becoming cocooned into the world of the clubs. I’d really only maintained one friend and he lived a fair way away. In these cases the people were either shit scared of talking with me or so intimidated about what I was wearing on my back that there was just nothing really to talk about except what had happened to so and so and trivial shit like that. the club is my life now and I’ve accepted it. No. it’s a way of life. The more I participated in club activities. I guess I was about six months into being a full member when I noticed that I really didn’t have friends from outside the club anymore. If you do go to see them. It’s like the club takes on complete ownership over your time and life. Former club president Outsiders don’t understand the commitment. when I’m with my ol’ lady. the less I had in common with my old set of friends. In some ways. You can’t really have another life.

did they expect their pound of flesh . After a lot of crying and my carrying on. he agreed to quit the president’s job. Former Comanchero The commitment places an incredible strain on families. Then I was a club member. It’s a real pain. It’s why many club members end up with partners who have some association with the clubs—a sister of another member. BLOOdy ruLEs 85 . Some members accept that sort of discipline as necessary for the club to survive. Being in hospital or prison may be a valid excuse. It was worse when he was president. We still enjoy going out riding together but all the hassle and absences are just gone. Others soon decide the commitment is just too much. In particular. Some accept it. Wives and steady girlfriends also find they’re cut off from old friends. yet a child’s illness is not considered significant enough to prevent a member from being fined or expelled. where the only social occasion is a trip to the clubhouse or a night out with other club wives or girlfriends. he decided to quit the club. sucked into the world of the club. missing major meetings or runs for family reasons is not tolerated. the president]. . This wasn’t acceptable to Jock [Ross. Wife of former Bandido ruLEs.Under some clubs’ constitutions. Even from this background it takes understanding women to be partners. or someone who has grown up in a club family. And the club. I didn’t obey all the rules. like maybe half his non-work time was devoted to club events. It got to the point where our youngest child called him ‘uncle daddy’ one night and it brought the whole thing to a head. Later. I associated with members of other clubs. First and foremost I was a bikie. while others soon let their man know that he must decide—it’s either her or the club. . Sometimes he’d be gone for days and I’d worry about him like crazy. God. At that point he was gone at least five nights a week and working during the day.

I finally took off the rocker and handed it back to Alex and told him I didn’t want the fuckin’ thing. All the rules. Many bikers choose not to become club members because of the politics. The rules are there. all the factions.It’s one of my greatest fascinations with the bikie clubs. Don’t go crying that you didn’t see the sign or didn’t realise what would happen. it’s pretty well known before you do it. They tell you in no-bullshit terms what the bottom lines of the club are. Look. Yeah. . Former club president Many members leave the clubs when they realise they can’t cope with the demands and structure of a group. I just couldn’t hack the politics. all the bullshit . It’s also completely at odds with the reasons bikers become immersed in motorcycle culture—the freedom of it all. Former Rebel prospect However. The incredible discipline imposed by the clubs on their members is at such odds with the public image of the clubs. If you fuck up. In many cases the most respected members 86 ThE BrOThErhOOds . the rules are important. Some of the blokes in the club need this kind of clear picture of the world. within the clubs there’s a view that those who opt out because of the rules were never cut out for the bikie lifestyle in the first place. you know? Club member There’s a much stronger code of decency in the clubs than in the outside world. There are very few but they are administered very strongly. and no technicality will get you off. . You wouldn’t have got past being a prospect if you didn’t know. I was a prospect for the Rebels. They want to recapture the impetuousness of biking rather than worry about having to do everything en masse. The simple reason is the punishment comes harder.

together. They may not have the patches.are those who leave the clubs. ruLEs. form the greatest enigma of the outlaw bikie world. yet they actually live the lifestyle they want to live. free from the rules and the commitment that. BLOOdy ruLEs 87 .

territorial defence is considered a necessary evil. When members call each other ‘brother’ they actually mean it. If you look at the rules in the previous chapter you’ll notice many of them are based on doing things together and standing up for fellow members. If it were. . Club member Bikie life can be hard. Brotherhood is no fanciful notion for the clubs. Take brotherhood. I don’t want to present too harsh a picture. territorial defence and partying. though. For many. But brotherhood can’t be manufactured by rules. It’s not all rules and commitment. Members are drawn to the clubs to associate with like-minded people who enjoy a laugh and a party and offer some camaraderie. My friends just do it from the high dive board. the club becomes their family. Members must be genuinely committed to each other. particularly if they’ve come from dysfunctional homes.Chapter seven fun And GAMEs Everybody has friends who piss in the pool. The others are really what the clubs are all about. Of the four. brotherhood. with a huge commitment required from even the most junior members. Outlaw biking is built around four tenets—riding. It’s hard for outsiders to understand that there is a notion of family among the clubs when all they see is an unruly and violent image. for instance. the clubs wouldn’t survive.

as that’s why many people are introduced to motorcycles in the first place. Coffin Cheater He [the father] was brutal. Most Australian outlaw clubs have multiple members from the one family. India and the United States. . Hell’s Angel Three brothers from the same family were founding members of the Bandidos club in Australia. He was a total pisspot by that point and couldn’t look after us . [you] know straightaway what the rules are and you [sic] got brothers there to help you. Nevertheless. we were all sent to an orphanage when it got to be too much for Dad. the intergenerational associations are not so obvious. When I was little. there are cases of gang membership spanning many generations. I wanted to know what was so good at the clubhouse that Dad wanted to be there rather than home with us. I was 15 and I took a baseball bat to him that first time and stopped the bashings but it made the house pretty tense. Me and my sisters were split up and sent to different foster families. . . The club seems much more relaxed and homey than that place ever did. A bunch of guys that has a ‘real’ family feel to it . By the time I was eight. where the outlaw motorcycle club phenomenon is less than 50 years old. In Australia. Club member Then there’s the bond of real family ties.. There were also three brothers in the Hell’s Angels in Melbourne in the mid-1980s and currently the Finks fun and GaMEs 89 . the club is excellent. . it was shithouse. In the street gangs of New Zealand. Bashed the shit out of me and the family till I was big enough to stand up to him. . I couldn’t wait to join up to find out. which stands to reason. Many join because an older brother is a member. it’s not unusual for a son to want to follow in his father’s footsteps or for younger brothers to want to follow older brothers and join an outlaw motorcycle club. .

Coffin Cheater As well as this notion of brotherhood. Conversely. nice women and the company of my mates. but nothing about community work. You know you’ve got blokes backing you up in any situation. there is the concept of community good within the clubs.have a number of brothers. There’s a strong outlaw motorcycle club presence in all aspects of motorcycle political life. self-advancement interests and motorcycling sports and politics promotion. charter or by-laws. But most members are not looking for a substitute for their families. for instance. For example. donate any profit from their fundraising to charities at the end of each financial year. Last year it went to a charity supporting leukaemia sufferers. They’re after the traditional camaraderie of any club. There’s reference to social interests. It gives you a sense of identity and the camaraderie of like-minded blokes. I can’t speak for others but I joined the club because I like riding motorcycles. The Finks. who was a member of a rival club. tattoos. I’ve also heard of a case where one biker joined a club because he didn’t want to associate with his brother. outlaw motorcycle clubs do not include social goals in their constitution. Hell’s Angel The club’s a bit like a working man’s Masons or Foresters. It sounds hard to believe when we only ever hear about bikies when they’ve been arrested for crimes involving violence or drugs. The women’s club Dykes on Bikes has held runs to raise money for breast cancer research. But there’s good inside there somewhere. I was surprised to once find 90 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Finks associate The club really helps us out. Unlike the street gangs of the United States and their push for minority rights.

so they’re not inclined to become involved. Franko (not his real name) opened the door and this bloke introduced himself as the local ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ coordinator.a senior member of the Hell’s Angels folding leaflets and stuffing envelopes for the Motorcycle Rider’s Association during a campaign to scuttle a plan to put small yellow bricks on major Melbourne roads to separate cars from trams. Imagine his surprise—not to mention that of the car occupants—when he discovered they were police casing the place suspected of dealing the drugs. It was feared they’d only serve to separate bikes from riders. He started to get sick of cars turning up at all hours. man. It’s not to say the clubs aren’t neighbourly. so he decided to tackle the issue head-on. That’s how most community work is carried out—as an individual. not as a club. he headed outside to prompt them to move on. One evening a car full of blokes was sitting outside for longer than he thought necessary so. One US Hell’s Angel actually carried the Olympic Torch in the lead-up to the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics. There’s one story of a club member who suspected the people in a house across the road were dealing drugs. He then asked Franko if he was interested in joining Neighbourhood Watch. One club grew sick of skinheads hassling a Jewish business down the road from the fun and GaMEs 91 . Franko. It’s not my thing. It was around about the time of night when every loony seems to want to sell something. Others do that little bit more. replied: ‘Nah. He was chosen for his community work. The clubs are not averse to a bit of vigilantism. What if Franko had said yes and a Hell’s Angel joined the committee? It’d certainly make the neighbourhood patrols interesting. The bikies sometimes get involved in charity events such as Christmas toy runs and blood donation drives.’ Imagine if the Neighbourhood Watch man realised that behind the door was a Hell’s Angel. although I believe it was done outside any club involvement. A few years ago I was chatting to a senior office bearer of the Hell’s Angels Melbourne Nomad chapter at his home when there was a knock on the door. armed with a baseball bat. so I was interested to see what would unfold. The clubs want to be out of straight society. totally deadpan.

the Finks rented a bus to drive from Adelaide to Brisbane for a bike show. aptly known as Bluey the Grot. A few years back. he threw it in his pack. so they went to the shop one day when the skinheads were up to their antics. This bloke breaks down in the middle of nowhere and gets down to look at his bike. which was led by a bloke called Filthy Fred.clubhouse. the Finks were on a run to meet another club when one of their members. you’re Filthy Fred. He then handed the brush to Filthy Fred and said: ‘Now. Needless to say. and promptly beat the shit out of them. bikie humour is raucous and raw. they cut a hole in the bottom of the bus. But the clubs don’t only get their kicks from beating up skinheads. They love a good laugh. but he had the good sense to decline. Q: What turns a 9-stone weakling into a 16-stone man of steel? A: Polio Q: Why don’t blind people go parachuting? A: Because it scares the hell out of their guide dogs. Here’s a sample of the sort of jokes you will hear in bikie circles. and proceeded to brush his teeth with the toothbrush. Despite it being decayed and gangrenous. it’s your turn. let’s see how filthy you are. came across a dead fox. he is alleged to have said: ‘So. even if the humour is pretty gross. When Bluey met Filthy Fred. He pulled it out covered in rancid goo. Another time. Try this for size. ‘It’s the spark 92 ThE BrOThErhOOds . To save time on toilet stops. the rental company didn’t return their deposit. A voice just behind him says. As you can see.’ Bluey grabbed the decaying fox by the tail and stuck a toothbrush up its arse.’ Fred may have been filthy. I believe the club they were meeting was called the Savages.

‘I’m screwing my girlfriend. the bloke thinks.’ A biker is making love to his girlfriend by the side of the road when a cop car pulls up. Sure enough. ‘Yeah. In town. ‘I’m next then!’ ‘Sounds good to me. ‘A brown one and a white one.’ the bloke replies. He fixes it and heads into the nearest town for a beer. and continues to work on his bike.’ This can’t be happening. ‘Why?’ ‘You’re lucky.’ says the cop. mate. ‘It’s the spark plug. The biker looks up at the cop and says. The barman looks at him and asks: ‘Were there two horses in the paddock?’ ‘Yeah.’ says the barman. He stares at the horses when one of them appears to move its mouth and say. he tells the barman what happened.’ says the biker. Q: A: What’s the difference between your wife and your job? Your job still sucks after five years. ‘Just what do you think you are doing?’ asks the cop. fun and GaMEs 93 . the problem is the spark plug.’ the bloke replies.plug.’ ‘Great.’ He looks around but there are only two horses standing in the paddock near the road. ‘I’ve never screwed a cop before.’ ‘Was the brown one near the fence?’ the barman asks. ‘The white one doesn’t know anything about bikes.’ Q: A: What’s the difference between a porcupine and a carload of cops? The porcupine has pricks on the outside.

Landlords have to be pretty tolerant. reinforced doors. members from the different clubs know each other pretty well and occasionally socialise together. the clubhouse is a major investment for a club. Hang around a clubhouse long enough and you’ll hear worse than these. not far from the Hell’s Angels and Finks clubhouses. This means reinforcing it to protect against unwelcome guests.Q: A: What’s the difference between a pair of women’s knickers and a cop car? The knickers only hold one cunt. 94 ThE BrOThErhOOds . It makes the mind boggle. It’s located in an industrial area of Adelaide. it’s time to establish a clubhouse. both financially and administratively. Once the locals see what’s going on there’s usually a hell of a ballyhoo and objections lodged with the local council. Australian local governments have little power to prevent the sort of changes the clubs make. The club was taken to court by the local council for breaking a by-law on keeping exotic animals. such as the police or other clubs. It’s a common theme across the world. security cameras. which had a 220-kilogram lion patrolling its clubhouse. The Gypsy Jokers asked me to come over to their clubhouse at the time to see what all the fuss was about. having a clubhouse is vital to the life of the club. such as concrete-reinforced walls. As you’d imagine. Most rent before they can afford to buy. Yet. The clubhouse is a central part of bikie life. Adelaide is a tightknit scene. Like any headquarters. it’s where the heart of a club lies. The City of Montreal was powerless to stop a Bandidos bunker being built in its city at the same time an Adelaide council was being asked to explain why the Gypsy Jokers and Rebels were able to build fortress clubhouses. perimeter fencing and even dogs to patrol the perimeter. even if the club’s philosophy is based on riding motorcycles. Most clubs start out meeting at members’ houses and garages. if the club looks like continuing. because most clubs want to modify the property to bring it up to ‘bunker status’. I’m not quite sure what a council here would make of the Loners club in Canada. After a couple of years.

The gates and perimeter fence are under constant video surveillance. Members are expected to remain in prison to await their trial rather than waste funds—you need a pretty good reason for the club to pay your bail. for instance. Members punch in the code and the gates swing open. such as keeping the lights and gas on. You must remember. these places may look sinister but they’re places for social gatherings. couches. Part of the reason they’re found in industrial sites is not only because councils don’t want them anywhere near residential areas. There’ll be pool tables. Only when you’re deemed acceptable do you get the go ahead to enter. Surrounding the perimeter is an almighty wall. about 3 metres high and built out of railway line and sleepers. so four-legged storm-troopers are not very practical. On top of the basics. It’s expensive to establish and run a clubhouse. and a back-up generator in case something happens to the main power supply. bars. such as security cameras and radio scanners to alert them to nearby police. but so they can have their noisy parties without disturbing anyone. fun and GaMEs 95 . although the latter is not paid lightly. There are also hidden costs. there were no guard dogs. tables and beds for members who need to crash. such as bail money. such as me. Visitors. You have to say who you are and why you are visiting. video equipment. Despite the tight security.The first thing I noticed was the size of the block: it’s about a half an acre in the old measure. there are strange little things clubs must have. push the call button and wait for an answer. A bikie clubhouse certainly gives the appearance of being party central. costing between $30 000 and $50 000 annually to keep a chapter going. has a large entertainment area beside the clubhouse. It’s incredible how tight the security is. The Gypsy Jokers. only a superfriendly cattle dog. or about a quarter of a hectare. The only break in the wall is for two large electric gates at the front of the clubhouse. chairs. On the gate is a keypad. The coffers of the clubs will generally pay a retainer for lawyers and bail. with another large area reserved for members to work on their bikes. fridges. There has to be a safe. which costs a few bob. a stove. It certainly wasn’t built for its looks.

The clubs also hold fundraising parties. The chapter also owns the 25-hectare Broadford property where it staged its annual concert. while other investments are a bit more down to earth. They just grin and bear it because they’re required to attend. Members must also pay for patches and other paraphernalia such as cards and club stickers. Many clubs own their own clubhouse. In its heyday it would attract up to 9000 people. where 96 ThE BrOThErhOOds . such as being late for a run. Ponde. (I suppose if someone asks too many questions they can simply throw them out. however. The money was subsequently invested in property and a tattoo parlour.The clubs need to get income from somewhere. near Adelaide. and also rented out to campers to generate income. Membership dues count for little. also a victim of insurance costs. Most members don’t like these parties. Each club usually holds a couple of fundraising parties a year that are open to outsiders. using nominees for labour. Australia’s second-largest outlaw club concert. with a lot of outsiders asking about club business. Beer and bike parts are sold to members at prices slightly below retail. Some of the well-organised clubs have financial investments in legitimate businesses that supply income. The Melbourne Hell’s Angels own a 15-hectare beachside property at Eden in southern New South Wales. The bulk of a club’s income comes from the sale of alcohol. usually as ‘bouncers’ to keep the peace. but falling crowds and the cost of public indemnity insurance going through the roof saw the club pull the pin on the concert in 2003. such as the case of the Black Uhlans and its alleged retirement homes in Melbourne.) Another fundraiser is the field day. that doesn’t go far. with a maximum of 25 full members. It is said the Hell’s Angels Melbourne chapter specialised in making fish ponds. wound up in 2001. Club fines do their bit. The club treasurer always hopes for a few undisciplined members. which is used by club members for holidays. with some of the large clubs owning extra holdings. A full member pays dues of about $500 a year. with an average $50 fine for violations of club rules. Some clubs have invested in tattoo parlours and brothels. so it started a gardening business. The largest and bestknown bikie fundraiser in Australia was the Hell’s Angels concert held in Broadford each December.

however. dope smoking and strippers. The clubs approach the field days with a lot more enthusiasm than the open parties because they generally only attract fellow bikers. but usually done in town and is open to outsiders. Another popular event that has become a major fundraiser for some clubs is the poker run. swap meets and word of mouth. These are get-togethers out of the city to either celebrate an occasion. I’m not sure why. Another opportunity for outsiders to socialise with the clubs is at swap meets. lack the intensity of the runs. such as an anniversary. which would also include a gymkhana with prizes for the best and worst bike. of course. There are some great stories about the runs. Members ride from pub to pub. Instead of a wet T-shirt competition they’ll have a stripper. The runs are for members only because there is usually a fair amount of club business at these events. The biggest and most anticipated social events.strippers and the bike competitions feature. which is open to the general biker community. with plenty of grog. or group rides. however. The outlaw clubs like to go that step further on runs. In recent years the swap meets have been less prominent. They’ll party harder and longer than at the biker rallies. and often do so under police surveillance. but they are also an occasion for a huge party. and usually a double act to boot. These open nights are advertised through bike shops. I believe there were a few injuries involved as well. where the club bar is open to anyone who wants to come along—except the police. For several years on their runs they had a boxing ring where the top rope was barbed wire. The runs are full-on parties. The clubs also have open nights at the clubhouse. The Finks pride themselves on their toughness. Folklore has it that the wire had to be removed and replaced by a conventional rope after too many sets of boxing gloves were ripped on the barbs. These are generally where motorcycle parts are bought or traded. fun and GaMEs 97 . It’s a chance for chapters to get together and thrash out politics and make inter-chapter decisions. It’s similar to a run. are the runs. A similar event is the biker rally. or just to party. although I suspect it may have something to do with amalgamation pressures. and are held close to a pub so the clubs can kick on afterwards. The rallies.

These companies recognise the bikies as valuable customers. the Hell’s Angels frequented the hotel as a standard watering stop on runs to their property in Eden. or a place for a weekend visit. Clubs soon saw the pub as a convenient place to either stop between Sydney and Melbourne. The Hell’s Angels poker run in Adelaide attracts up to 400 people. considering they must devote so much time to the clubs. and the names and addresses of friendly mechanics. good repair shops. Interestingly. It’s common for these clubs to have an unspoken agreement with the pub that while it may have its own security staff the club will be responsible for its own members and look after bike-related disturbances at the pub. which I spent some time observing. At the end of the run the person with the best poker hand wins. the Hell’s Angels are known to ride tight and fast on these runs. good rides. The Ducati club used it as a destination for runs from Sydney and the BMW club used the hotel as a stopover on their runs from Melbourne. which can make them targets in territory wars. They can do good business out of being known as a place to stop. spirit manufacturers and motorcycle companies. Pubs on major highways that welcome bikers and bikies are highly valued. One such pub was the Genoa Hotel on the Victoria–New South Wales border in eastern Victoria. Incidentially. when new owners took over the Genoa.collecting cards along the way. naturally enough. The first year. A few hotels are hangouts for particular clubs. prizes are offered by some corporate heavyweights—major breweries. The focus of the rally was. Unfortunately. the pub. and don’t mind being associated with them. In some cases it seems as if they spend most of their time 98 ThE BrOThErhOOds . A stripper or two is not uncommon. the Motorcycle Riders of Australia rally attracted about 1200 people. They are like any other pub except the conversations usually focus on biker traditions. the hotel lost its place as a biker hotel. mechanical advice. Another question I’m commonly asked is how the hell do members support themselves. Notably. Many of the pubs visited on a poker run would generally be classed as biker pubs. These hotels are known to be friendly to all bikers. Genoa hosted a major bike rally from 1984 to 1987. invariably beating any other clubs or the public who join in.

Eddie Withnell. which would be the case across the world. they still must find time for work. a Gypsy Joker has a senior management position in a major Australian company. while Derek Wainohu. has a Masters Degree in literature. and runs his own nightclub. had a $100 000 per annum job as a technical expert on vehicle and industrial safety equipment with the Roads and Traffic Authority NSW. making it difficult to hold down a meaningful job. including the Rebels and Coffin Cheaters. The only detailed study of bikie occupations was done in Canada. there do seem to be many more disabled pensioners among the Australian clubs. Lawyers can be found in clubs. a position he was suspended from when the club scene exploded in 2009. While bike riders in general come from a broad spectrum of society. The analysis of the Alberta members’ jobs was: Ken Caveman Steve Blues Larry Raunch Gerry Mike Whimpy Clayton Snake Dale Jim Part-owner of motorcycle shop Truck driver Part-owner of motorcycle shop Machinist (plastic/metal) Labourer (auto body shop) Welder Foreman in house construction Truck driver Motorcycle mechanic Carpenter Labourer (oil rigs) Butcher Auto body repairman Full-time Seasonal Full-time Seasonal Full-time Seasonal Full-time Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Full-time Full-time 99 fun and GaMEs . the Sydney Hell’s Angels president.at the club. I’ve heard of a Brazilian Hell’s Angel who’s an accountant and a Canadian Hell’s Angel who plays first trumpet with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. with the clubs almost exclusively made up of working-class men. The 1981 study found most members had blue-collar jobs or were tradespeople. However. within the Rebels Alberta chapter. There are a few professionals and middle-class men in the clubs. A Coffin Cheater from Perth. the world of the bikie is much narrower. these men are exceptions. Strangely. With office bearers not being paid.

It’s rare to find someone called by their real name. While perfectly legitimate. Biker saying Riding. means a bikie must not only have a bike. as one of the tenets of bikie life. With many clubs 100 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Lucky Keiser and Barry Bullshit. Some great old nicknames from the ’70s Adelaide club scene include Metho Tom. Blacktown Harley. Remember that you will be judged by the horse you rode in on. these businesses are blatantly aimed at growing dope indoors. Terry the Tramp. Robbie Roadrunner. They’re dished out based on personality (Rowdy for the quiet type). It can prove a financial burden for some members who hold down low-paying jobs.Onion Saint Danny Yesnoski Voodoo Armand Killer Crash Terrible Tom Wee Albert Ed Indian Labourer (oil rigs) Mechanic/tech student Electrician Machinist Truck driver Labourer (oil refinery) Labourer (construction) Labourer (oil rigs) Heavy equipment operator Pipe fitter IBM technician/bouncer Truck driver/bouncer Seasonal Full-time Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Seasonal Full-time Full-time Full-time Full-time Popular occupations of Australian bikies tend to be in bike maintenance and the tattoo industry. but a bike he can be proud of. because it means the club has accepted you. or an adaptation of their real name. physique (Tiny is common for the biggest blokes). Nicknames are an important part of biker life. In recent years. many bikies have also become involved in hydroponic businesses. especially when a new standard Harley costs about $30 000. with nearly everyone attracting some sort of moniker. The other interesting aspect of the above list is the nicknames. It’s important to be given a nickname. such as the good old Davo or Robbo.

But times have changed.stipulating the bike must be modified. The bike represents the bikie himself. perhaps the most crucial issue when considering the image of not only the bike. there’s the paint. Finally. Not all club bikes are gleaming show ponies. This ‘hard tail’ gives the bike a lower radical profile. but means a bit of the personalised nature of the bikes is lost. but it can be a pain in the arse. including the Gypsy Jokers. Satan’s Slaves. motorcycle to its barest essentials and dramatically rebuilding it to the owner’s personal specifications. Bikers take great pleasure in keeping these mechanical and visual nightmares on the road. The process of heavily modifying a bike is known as ‘chopping’. The suspension is sometimes removed. which gives the rider the appearance of an ape hanging his arms in the air. Customising a motorcycle is more than just producing a special machine. or factory. Ape hangers get their name from their extra length. giving the bike a greater power-to-weight ratio. One long run on a bike with no suspension is usually enough to convince a bikie to forego looks for comfort. with most bikies deciding to leave the suspension alone. The look and details of the bike send a signal to other bikies about the type of person who owns and rides it. In the bikie world. Chopping a bike involves stripping down a stock. The paint job must produce a machine the club is proud to be associated with. making it the only acceptable form of transport. The motor is then bored and stroked. it’s awarded to the roughest or rattiest machine at the rally. There’s a trophy given at every rally for the ‘Rat Bike’. It’s a testament to the bikie’s fun and GaMEs 101 . but also its rider. literally. The standard exhaust system is next to go. less-muffled pipes giving the Harley its distinctive trademark sound. Modifications include extending the front forks to change the angle and replacing the standard handlebars with ‘ape hangers’ to compensate for the fork extension. In the mid-1960s many US clubs. with new. It cuts the costs for members. the member is required to spend even more. embraced the chopper. with many outlaw motorcycle clubs allowing stock Harley-Davidsons these days. it’s class to have a rat bike. Satan’s Sinners and Jokers Out of Hell.

brotherhood. but I’ve really only touched the surface. The Tasmanian club the Donald Ducks took particular pride in the shoddy appearance of their bikes. others like the opulent lifestyle with flash bikes and smart headquarters. Everything else plays second fiddle. The elements I’ve explained in this chapter are just some of the aspects of club life. It’s also a symbol of the loyalty and devotion the biker has for his machine. 102 ThE BrOThErhOOds . each adheres to those four basic tenets of outlaw club life—riding. territory and partying.mechanical abilities and skills to be able to keep it on the road. All clubs are different. However. Some run on the smell of an oily rag.

The notion that the clubs are huge organised-crime outfits is largely a myth for most clubs. at first glance. Take God. The clubs do little to counter the legends that surround them. . Yet some aspects of club life that may. The outrage of regular citizens also makes life difficult for many members. but once the myth has been established it’s almost impossible to dispel.Chapter eight hiT And MyTh The world of the bikie is as much about myth and fantasy as it is about bikes and territory. their families tarnished by the clubs’ reputations and their job prospects diminished. They create outrage among the straight citizens. I know the clubs would love to rein in this myth. something the clubs revel in as a sign they’re no longer part of the normal world. for instance. However. I was keen to find out if religion was in the same boat. as the clubs are contradictory in so many ways. yet it puts incredible pressure on them from the police. appear to be myths are in fact true. It’s an area I’ve been interested in for a long time. perhaps even more so than the clubs themselves care to admit. They provide the aura of invincibility that encourages many likely enemies to give them a wide berth. They find themselves shunned by former friends. Religion plays a bigger part in club life than many realise. I’ve found the legends also create problems for the clubs.

while 23 per cent claimed to be agnostics. One of the main reasons for this is the work of the Christian motorcycle clubs. None claimed to be agnostics. while another member is a Jewish Talmudic scholar. where they could get their shit together or stop getting into further trouble. Many bikies steer clear of the Christian clubs because they fear having religion shoved in their face. with respondents from Motorcycle Riders Association clubs and outlaw clubs. is a Baptist minister. 52 per cent said they had no religion. so it’s not as if they’re rank amateurs. A former president of the God Squad. But. and jumped over to the Christian clubs. The members of these clubs see themselves as having a calling. The surveys were not exactly scientific. yet they want to express it through motorcycles. However. When I looked at outlaw club members only. They were no different from any other clubs. The majority (78 per cent) claimed ‘none’ as their religion.From 1986 to 1990 I conducted a survey on religious orientation within the Australian biker scene. for instance. Christians accounted for a respectable 20 per cent and the Satanists came in dead last at 5 per cent. but they give a reasonable snapshot of the place of religion in the biker world. with colours. christenings and funerals. these camps offered ‘chill out’ zones for bikies who’d drunk or smoked too much. as some Christian club members are prone to do. with signs out the front of the camp having the bikieesque ‘Show us your tits’ scrawled on them. so to speak. In many ways. the tattoos 104 ThE BrOThErhOOds . You would presume religion is a part of mainstream society the bikies would want to reject. conducted mainly at runs and parties. They had a mountain of beer cans any outlaw club would be proud of. hanging around the fringe of the bikies. yet religion is never far from the surface. tattoos and slogans. They also see themselves as counsellors for outlaw bikies. Many of them know their stuff. They perform the role of traditional holy men in the biker world. conversely. They’re such an anomaly. the Christian motorcycle clubs are identical to the outlaw clubs. Of course. I remember coming across the camps of the Christian motorcycle clubs at Broadford one year. many outlaw bikies have seen the light. officiating at marriages. 11 per cent claimed to be Satanists while a meagre 7 per cent nominated Christianity.

There is then a vote to allow you to be an official prospect of the club. The largest Christian club in Australia is the God Squad. which has four Australian chapters—Melbourne. but a 10% club. Melbourne and Perth. Ambassadors. with about 50 members. and they ride identical bikes. At any one time it has up to 150 members. hIT and MyTh 105 . he’s been involved with outlaw motorcycle clubs for many years. has chapters in Murray Bridge (SA). Sydney. which puts him firmly on the edge of the outlaw clubs. They attend church once a week. Then someone from the club has to agree to be your sponsor in joining the club. due to concerns about the quality of applicants. prospects are required to complete a 24-page questionnaire and are subjected to oral exams on their religious beliefs. and have fines for infringements such as not spending enough time on their bikes. And you have to know your stuff. Saint George. They also must know certain parts of the Bible. while the Pilgrims. I’ve known Smithy for many years and count him as one of my good friends from the biker world. You have to be dedicated to be a Christian biker. His club is not actually a 1% club. you must ‘hang around the club’. The chapters are also roughly the same size.and patches have Christian themes. ride in similar formations and have outlaw organisational structures. As part of the application to join the God Squad. Prospects are also required to keep a log of the kilometres ridden and the number of club functions attended. Balaams Ass and The Brotherhood are single-chapter clubs. as the outlaw clubs do. John Smith was the bikies’ preacher. Holy Ghost Riders. Brisbane and Launceston—and two international chapters. The patch can be taken back by the club for various offences. The prospect period is several years. First. not the usual Satanic images of the bikie clubs. The Longriders. Admission as a club member involves roughly the same process as for an outlaw club. They’re relatively guarded and secretive about their colours. Retired as international president of the God Squad. They act like outlaw motorcycle clubs. The average membership age across the clubs is late 40s to early 60s. He’s in a unique position.

It was magic. Smithy even went so far that night as to confer upon me the title of ‘tribal elder’. Smithy and I bought reams of grog tickets and got down to the business of chatting about his life. I was actually glad to get away after Smithy showed me something that shook me up. Incidentally. the clubhouse had recently been re-zoned so the club could establish a brothel. I’d hauled my sick and sorry arse out of there. What shocked me more than the image were Smithy’s words. We were chatting about his place in the biker world when he pulled out a photograph. The shock that someone of such spirituality could be seduced by such a violent notion really jolted me. . That night was an incredible reminder of the bizarre world in which the bikies exist. with Smithy pointing out the background of some of the people at the party. As I said. and some full-on preachers like Smithy. let alone take notes.The last time I caught up with him was at a Coffin Cheaters’ party. that this was how he saw himself in the biker world. Something about going to the sinners . I’d known Smithy for many years. . His greying beard and piercing eyes only added menace to the picture. By the time he conducted the service the next day. a sprinkling of graduates from the staid and conservative University of Melbourne. His arms were crossed over his body so the barrels of the guns rested at shoulder height. Our interview plan soon flew out the window as I became too pissed to string two words together. he can make all the decisions and shoulder whatever responsibility comes with the title. I’m not sure what that means. yet I was shocked when he showed me a picture of himself wearing a long Kentucky coat and holding a 357 Magnum pistol in one hand and a long barrel Colt 45 in the other. Smithy didn’t seem too phased about doing a sermon there. 106 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Among the hardcore club members were several God Squad members. We did have the sense to agree to sit down after a service he was holding the next day at the campground outside the Coffin Cheaters clubhouse. Smithy was drinking two or three whiskies to my one beer or whisky. but as a fellow tribal elder who is four years older than me. some converted 1%ers.

His father was one of three children. These extended bouts of illness meant Smithy was older than his peers at high school. obtaining his Higher School Certificate. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts he moved back to Melbourne. enrolling at the Melbourne Bible College where he learnt the fundamental Methodist religious traditions. He headed to Kedron Teachers College in Queensland. It was here his life changed. His family’s approach to religion had made Smithy a very conservative young man. ‘love at first sight’. ‘Have you read Martin Luther King?’ hIT and MyTh 107 .John Smith was born in 1942 in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Reservoir. After graduating from Bible college. His grandfather was a working man who underwent a religious conversion upon meeting Smithy’s grandmother. a parishioner confronted him with the question: ‘Have you heard Martin Luther King preach?’ Smithy was forced to admit he hadn’t. She persisted. coupled with his fundamentalist religious upbringing. Glenda. instead turning to his religion and spiritual experience for strength. Smithy was a sickly child. They were soon married. He even participated in right-wing political activities. and remain happily married today. It was. Following a sermon where he denounced Martin Luther King Jr as a ‘womaniser and Communist’. He had few friends to protect him from the cruel taunts of the other students. He also persevered with his studies. including rallies in support of the United States during the Vietnam War. He also preached at the local Methodist church. as Smithy says. he got a job as a teacher at Wonthaggi High School in country Victoria. becoming a fitter and turner with the railways until he also underwent a religious conversion and became a Methodist Minister when Smithy was seven years old. Smithy chose not to lash out. which hospitalised him for another two years. His grandfather quit his job and became an evangelist and missionary based in the suburb of Preston. made high school ‘possibly the worst experience of my life’. and he suffered a severe burn injury at a very young age that saw him spend more than a year in hospital. The age difference. At the age of 11 he contracted rheumatic fever. Upon leaving school he wanted to get away from the unhappiness of his childhood. where he met his wife.

Almost immediately he saw the folly of his ways in supporting the war. The moment he came across the outlaw motorcycle clubs he found his calling. At that point. he was forced to answer ‘no’. He realised he must devote himself to helping others. His eyes were suddenly opened to what was going on around him. initially to see about the Victorian Christian Motorcycle Association becoming its Melbourne chapter. having ‘a calling from God’. Smithy watched the film and was mesmerised by what he saw. and began moving in their circles. One night the members were sitting around watching television when The Mod Squad burst onto the screen. It was a revelation. but he soon heard of the Hell’s Angels. particularly those on the edge of society. ‘a Mother Teresa type of experience’. but soon found himself being offered the club colours to form the club himself. ‘I would devote my humble talents and abilities which God had given me. Gypsy Jokers and other clubs. But before their excitement translated into actually adopting the name. Smithy got in contact with them.’ he declared. particularly the importance of earning a patch. He suddenly saw his missionary path. to work with these people who were outcasts and estranged from mainstream society.Again. The club he first came across was a now-defunct club called the Drifters. Smithy knew the way clubs worked. an account of King’s life. He had. 108 ThE BrOThErhOOds . and how he had taken an almost uncompassionate view of minorities. this club had run out of steam and was in the throes of disbanding. they learnt of another club in Sydney with the same name. or those who rode them. First of all he had to learn to ride. Smithy and a few of his mates formed a club called the Victorian Christian Motorcycle Association. It seemed a bit hollow to be merely given a patch. in his words. He began to question many of his conservative beliefs and attitudes. In an attempt to immerse themselves into biker culture to carry out their missionary work. What a great name—the God Squad. the parishioner handed him a copy of the film Strength to Love. which included the legendary ‘I have a dream’ speech. as he had little experience with bikes. formed a few years earlier. Ironically.

He then devoted himself to working with Australia’s outlaw motorcycle clubs. He could now say he had earned the right to wear the patch. The Longriders later established a chapter in Melbourne. behaving more like an outlaw motorcycle club than traditional missionaries—hence the pile of empties outside the God Squad tent. Under Smithy’s leadership. Smithy found himself national president with the charter to form the Victorian chapter of the God Squad. it was expected. they soon had a clubhouse—a large warehouse in inner-city Fitzroy. He was voted in as a full member in 1973 and the Sydney chapter immediately folded. much to the annoyance of others on the Sydney executive who were keen to move on. ‘running a rescue shop just outside the gates of hell’. so agreed to keep the club going for the 12 months of Smithy’s prospect period. Like any club. Civil disobedience by members was not only encouraged. the serious outlaw clubs denigrated the patch-wearing Christian club. The break was partly ideological and partly personality driven. with dinner available at no cost to those bikers and bikies who couldn’t afford a feed. They partied as hard as any club. In the early 1990s the club split.So he politely declined the offer but agreed to become a prospect for the club. and a breakaway club. was established. the Longriders. the emphasis of the God Squad became strongly counterculture. They asked why the club dressed like an outlaw club when clearly it was not. It was part Salvation Army kitchen and part outlaw clubhouse. The Sydney president was keen to see the club continue. At first. cities where the ruling outlaw clubs had never allowed the God Squad to establish themselves. rather than merely accept it as charity. Smithy and the God Squad also began to change. hIT and MyTh 109 . After serving his year Smithy became a full member. It was also due to the God Squad’s Melbourne chapter exceeding 25 members. But the God Squad began to make inroads when the outlaw clubs realised they weren’t a bunch of wowsers or snitches. The Longriders moved west. establishing chapters in Murray Bridge and Perth. the upper limit a club can handle without becoming factionalised. The God Squad chapters remain along the Australian east coast in Melbourne. Sydney and Brisbane.

110 ThE BrOThErhOOds . the preacher summoned up the strength to visit the clubhouse for a third time to again request permission for the Christian club to fly their colours. After he recovered. although not many would have his determination to achieve it. then it’s going to be a different story. But other clubs refuse to use the Christian clubs for marriages and funerals because they regard them as rival clubs. The preacher called on Comancheros leader Jock Ross to request permission for the Christian club to fly their colours. This time Jock is said to have emerged. Jock allegedly responded by sending out a club member to beat him up. came on stage with a special announcement: Whoever stole the camera from the God Squad had better return the fucker. For some clubs the God Squad was the group they turned to. such as marriages. funerals.It soon became evident the outlaw motorcycle clubs and bikers required certain legitimate ceremonies. Even Jock had to acknowledge his persistence. along with a few other club members. and much prayer. Permission was finally granted. That’s not to say there isn’t respect among the outlaw clubs for the Christian clubs. No questions will be asked if it’s brought to the backstage area in the next hour. baptisms and. but not until Jock made the preacher sweat it out as the club debated whether or not to grant him his wish. If we have to find it. to be carried out by an authorised person. a Hell’s Angel. The preacher proved it was possible. to fly colours with the permission of the dominant group. even in the meanest territory. the preacher returned to the Comancheros clubhouse to again request Jock’s permission for his club to fly their colours. In the early ’80s a preacher wanted to establish a Christian motorcycle club in Sydney—in Comancheros territory. Following several months of recovery. and beat the preacher senseless. He woke up in hospital with a broken jaw and fractured ribs. The outlaw clubs can get particularly upset when a Christian club flies colours in their territory. most of all. I was at Broadford in 1987 when the master of ceremonies.

It was a very moving event. Jacko and Gillian had their eight-week-old daughter and 15-monthold son christened at Broadford in 1986. eventually helping her find a job and a nice place to live. Four years later it was discovered Jacko was allegedly bashing Gillian and their children—the club members’ godchildren. Most biker funerals are Christian ceremonies. He was in his early 50s when he met and married his second wife. organised by family and conducted in a church. working for a motorcycle shop in rural Victoria. Outlaw motorcycle club members. While this was going on. In desperation. The Saturday afternoon at Broadford was the annual baby christening for the outlaw clubs. They chose a lone rider and associate of the Hell’s Angels as the godfather of the youngest child. Gillian. The Hell’s Angels sergeant-at-arms was informed of what had happened to his godson and he was very supportive and helpful. Jacko disappeared. considering the relatively dangerous lifestyle bikies lead. who was also godmother to both children. particularly the Hell’s Angels. What always struck me about this was that the responsibility was not taken lightly. I was present at the christening of the children of one bikie. She had excellent bikie credentials. It’s not surprising. saying he no longer associated with the Hell’s Angels or any other outlaw motorcycle club. Another major religious event is the funeral. even though the sergeant-at-arms later told me that wasn’t the case. coming from an outlaw motorcycle club family. I always suspected he’d been seriously ‘counselled’ by the Hell’s Angels. their wives and associates often agreed to act as godparents to the children. hIT and MyTh 111 . The couple took Gillian and the kids in. About two years later he reappeared. whom I’ll call Jacko. For the more committed biker or outlaw motorcycle club member the experience can be quite different. He was a committed lifetime bikie who hung around the fringes of the clubs.I heard that the camera was returned. He refused to be interviewed about what had happened. They had some heavy hitters for the godfathers of the toddler—a Hell’s Angels sergeant-at-arms and John Smith. Gillian showed up on the doorstep of the Hell’s Angels associate and his wife.

The funeral is a major event for the clubs—afforded the same status as a run. which can cause some awful conflict between the family and club. A good example was in March 2009 when an estimated 300 Rebels gathered in Canberra for the funeral of senior member Rick Roberts. Jimbo (not his real name) would have liked the conflict. His coffin was carried on a sidecar from the Rebels clubhouse to the crematorium. with pick-up points for the various clubs along the way to the church or place of ceremony. After the service comes the standout feature of the bikie funeral—the procession of bikes that always follows behind the hearse. funeral runs can attract up to 500 riders. such as the Bandidos. They’re only human.Several clubs. Riders immediately behind the hearse often fly flags representing the different nations in which the club has chapters. The funeral runs are open to other clubs. bikies share the same biker beliefs. A deep hole was dug so he could be buried standing up. I’ve never heard of any actual coven worship or warlock activities at Satanic funerals. There’s also the occasional Satanic service. There’s no more powerful and dramatic 112 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The hearse is sometimes a bike with a sidecar attached to carry the coffin. with all club members required to attend in their colours. explaining that he was being buried feet down so that he’d meet the devil standing in the afterworld. In Australia. Depending on the club and the wishes of the deceased. The Australian bikie movie Stone provided an excellent example of an old-time Satanic burial of a dead member. as long as there’s not a turf war underway. although in recent years atheist funerals have come into vogue. the speaker called upon Satan to accept the body and spirit of the fallen brother. There have been cases of temporary truces among warring clubs so one club can attend the burial of its rival club’s dead brother. I attended a bikie’s funeral that was actually two services—a Christian service organised by the dead member’s family and an atheist service organised by the club. have entry clauses that give the clubs permission to bury their brother. After all. draped in the club colours. the funeral tends to be a variation of a Christian ritual. When the member was put in the hole. The funeral run usually starts at the clubhouse. The clubs organise the funeral.

It’s not just the bikies. It’s easy to see why. Then comes the wake.display of biker power and solidarity than the sight of 500 solemn bikers rumbling through the streets in a bikie funeral procession. Imagine if the clubs carried no reference to Satanism. particularly if the bikie died violently. The Hell’s Angels’ name came from military circles and has nothing to do with being a warrior for Satan. Many bikers wear them. agnostic. It’s often a bottle of the deceased’s favourite drop. Satan’s Slaves. The truth is. I’ve interviewed bikers and club members about whether there’s anything in the devil icons. It’s to put the wind up citizens. the names mean nothing. Christian. They made it pretty clear it was all for show. Pagans and Satan’s Cavalry for a start. If somebody tried that shit on for real they’d get straightened out real quick. his wife and everything. or a particular run badge. club members put various artefacts in the grave as a sign of respect. He ended up going nuts and leaving the club. Rings with the Devil’s symbol ‘666’ are prominent on the fingers of outlaw club members. Diablos. The Angels laugh at any suggestion that they’re connected with the occult. if the bikie is to be buried. You could scrub the Hell’s Angels. to outrage or distance them from society. the bikies mumble a few final solemn words to their mate. As they’re tossed into the grave atop the coffin. Warlocks. Satanic. The issue of Satanic worship has always dogged the clubs. with plenty of laughs and stories about the deceased. Once at the cemetery. Devil’s Disciples. Satan’s Sinner hIT and MyTh 113 . But a lot of bikies bear badges and tattoos reflecting Satan. Lone rider I can only remember one brother who went weird with the Devil stuff. it makes no difference—the bikie wake is one big piss-up. That [Satanic worship and practices] is just bullshit. and are chosen for their shock value more than anything. the wake is a sort of debriefing from an experience that may have rattled the club. In a way.

It’s shit, man. There is nothing there but showing class to citizens by having a righteous name for a club. I mean, what sort of name says that you are independent and FTW [Fuck the World]? Hell’s Angel

No undercover police who have infiltrated the outlaw motorcycle clubs have alleged to have witnessed or even inferred that the clubs are engaged in Satanic practices, and given the animosity between outlaw clubs and police we’d have heard about it pretty quickly if one of their moles saw anything of the sort. Outlaw motorcycle clubs are also riddled with racist slogans, badges and symbols. Nearly as popular as the ‘666’ and other Satanic signs that adorn the bikie patches is the swastika. It attracts more outrage than anything else because of its connection with Nazism. It’s not something that’s usually worn as mere decoration, so the wearer is presumed to have fascist beliefs. Not so, say the clubs. ‘Class, man. Nothing but class,’ is how one swastika-wearing club member described it to me, and that seems to be the general view. Wearing a swastika doesn’t necessarily mean holding the beliefs of Nazism.
. . . this is because I’m a fucking fascist [said pointing to the swastika tattooed on his arm]. You don’t believe me, do you? Truth is, neither do I. Club member It’s bullshit, man. Sonny [Barger] tried to get agreement not to wear the swastikas way back in the ’70s but the issue of whether to wear one or not was still left up to the individual. It wasn’t until the German chapters came on board that the wearing of swastikas was banned officially. Any club wanting to have a chapter in Germany fucking well better ban them because their legislation specifically prohibits the wearing of Nazi symbols. Hell’s Angel

But are outlaw motorcycle clubs racist? Since the earliest days they have nearly all been regarded as having some sort of racist overtones.
114 ThE BrOThErhOOds

I’ve read a mountain of literature and heard the police stories about outlaw motorcycle clubs being racist organisations. For instance, the FBI report Inside Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs states:
Their feelings strongly parallel those of the Ku Klux Klan and the late Adolf Hitler’s beliefs. This is seen by the tattoos, patches and pins worn by the members, such as Nazi Swastikas, White Power fists and pins that openly state, ‘White Supremacy’.

Yet, I’ve never been sure, so I set out to find the answer. I found it, of all places, in the Hell’s Angels clubhouse in Auckland. In 1987 my wife and I travelled to New Zealand to meet the national president of the Hell’s Angels. I didn’t even know his name, only that I was to meet him at the Hell’s Angels clubhouse. I was excited about visiting the New Zealand chapter because it’s historically important in the bikie world, as it was the first Hell’s Angels chapter set up outside the United States. Liz and I were a little nervous as we took a taxi to the clubhouse in the early evening. The New Zealand club and gang scene is much more hostile than Australia’s. Earlier that day there had been an alert on the radio for the public to be on the lookout for a member of the Mongrel Mob. The Mongrel Mob, along with its arch rival, Black Power, an exclusively Maori club, are the two best-organised and dominant street gangs in New Zealand. Even the bikie clubs regard them as bad bastards. The Mongrel Mob tried to open a chapter in Perth in the mid-’80s, but was quickly run out of town by the Coffin Cheaters, Club Deroes and Gypsy Jokers. The WA police were allegedly happy for the outlaw motorcycle clubs to prevent the Mongrel Mob from getting a foothold in a city that already had its fair share of racial problems. The gang member who was subject to the public warning had allegedly killed two people in a camping ground and could be easily identified by the name of the club tattooed on his forehead. How’s that for commitment to the club? The day before, we’d heard Black Power had trashed a hotel in Auckland.
hIT and MyTh 115

All of this had happened after Liz and I met a few of the Maori Lone Rider bike riders earlier in the trip. They were the scariest bastards I’d ever come across. Not only were they physically enormous but they carried sawn-off baseball bats attached to their belts. Their faces were fully tattooed (called a moko in Maori) and they all rode heavily modified choppers. You can imagine our trepidation as we made our way to the Hell’s Angels clubhouse. Surely, we thought, the Hell’s Angels would have to be pretty fierce to compete in such a hostile gang environment. We were immediately caught off-guard when we arrived at the clubhouse. It was a beautiful place in an upmarket residential Auckland suburb. (To give you an idea of the suburb, former Prime Minister Helen Clark lives there.) We were a bit early and only the large and imposing sergeant-at-arms and a few prospects were there. Nevertheless, we were greeted and invited in. On entering the clubhouse we were impressed by its neat appearance. The sergeant-at-arms appeared a bit perplexed as to why we were there, but graciously offered us a drink. We casually discussed the New Zealand club scene, while more members and associates showed up. The sergeant-at-arms and the vice-president kept us entertained after the president called to say he’d been delayed. I was pretty relaxed until a discussion about the Hell’s Angels’ experiences with the Mongrel Mob and Black Power became quite animated, with one heavy character getting excited about the ‘nigger street gangs’. Just as an uncomfortable silence fell on the conversation the national president walked through the door. You could have knocked me over with a feather. He was a strikingly handsome Maori accompanied by another Maori member and a white member. The national president was articulate, intelligent and sensitive. It turned out he was well travelled, worked as a law clerk, had a young family and was interested in migrating to Australia. We were stunned—we’d read the police reports about the totally white membership of the outlaw motorcycle clubs, seen the fascist emblems and tattoos, and read literature suggesting we were dealing with neo-fascists, yet here was the president of the New Zealand Hell’s Angels, a person of colour. Not only that, we learned there
116 ThE BrOThErhOOds

were other Maori members. Remember, under Hell’s Angels by-laws, a nominee requires 100 per cent of the vote of the national club and the endorsement of the mother club to gain entry. At that point I was forced to reconsider my views on clubs and racism. That reassessment was reinforced when I later came across the story of Big John. Big John, of African descent, was a full member of the Hell’s Angels Kent chapter in England. He’d even been an office bearer. He died tragically while in police custody in 1984. Again, the decision to admit Big John would have been made by the mother club, following a unanimous recommendation by the local club. I’ve also come across an account of at least one African-American member of a Canadian chapter of the Hell’s Angels, as well as many members of Polynesian, American Indian and Hispanic descent in US chapters, including presidents of several small US outlaw motorcycle clubs. The Wales chapter of the Hell’s Angels had a prospect of African and Scandinavian descent. Several Scandinavian Hell’s Angels are of African descent. There are plenty of all-African-American clubs in the United States, such as the Black Falcons Biker Club, United Riders and Imperial Bikers MC. Hell’s Angels president Sonny Barger was said to have awarded a 25-year anniversary plaque to the East Bay Dragons, an all-AfricanAmerican motorcycle club in Oakland. Closer to home, the Finks in Adelaide has a strong eastern European and European background, with a number of Muslim members, as I noted earlier. An Aboriginal Australian was involved in the club when it began. The Sydney scene has seen a heavy Middle Eastern influence in recent years, with the Comancheros, Nomads and the non-bikie club Notorious all having many ethnic members. In his study of Australian outlaw motorcycle clubs, Northern Territory doctoral candidate Terry Wright found 15 members of Aboriginal descent. The New Zealand experience and subsequent research taught me an important lesson about ethnicity in the outlaw motorcycle clubs. I realised I had to re-think stereotypes, and not assume the hype is right. I’ve made it a point in all my interviews to ask club members about ethnicity, and whether a non-white person could join their clubs. Invariably, ethnic background does not appear to be an issue.
hIT and MyTh 117

Yeah. We’d let someone prospect, no matter what colour. He might start with a bit of a disadvantage as some [members] are prejudiced; but if he was a good bloke he could turn them around, easy. Coffin Cheater No worries. We’ve already had an Aboriginal member and one who is Chinese, I think. At least the guy is Asian, I’m not sure if he’s Chinese. Hell’s Angel We’ve already got many ethnic members. Even the president’s a wog, for Christ’s sake! I can’t see why not. Rebel Let’s put it to you this way. I’m not in favour of the old meaning of nigger. Today, it’s not necessary to be black to be a nigger nor are all niggers black. We look at people for what they are and if they act in a niggardly [stingy, mean or cowardly] fashion, then we call them niggers whether they are black, white or in between. For our club, it’s who you are that counts. Hell’s Angel

Another myth surrounds many of the patches the bikies wear. In the next chapter I’ll look at the supposed wing patches that are meant to signify sexual achievement, but another controversial and hotly debated badge is the Hell’s Angels ‘Filthy Few’ badge. Police believe the Filthy Few badge refers to someone who has murdered for the Hell’s Angels. The club says this is bullshit. It says it comes from the early days of the Hell’s Angels, when the bikies who were the first to arrive at a party and the last to leave called themselves the filthy few. (After a few days partying they were a pretty rough sight.) It has stuck, with the Filthy Few patch a highly treasured award for service within the club. The outlaw motorcycle clubs are adept at fostering a few myths of their own. It’s no surprise that most of them centre on the police. The meaning the clubs put on any action by the police can be pretty
118 ThE BrOThErhOOds

The clubs also hold a similar view. as do many in society. The clubs often fear they’re being photographed by police at runs and public events. They foster many myths about themselves. ‘Surprisingly. saying their world is very real. police blame bikers for brawl’ and one of my favourites: ‘Sham FBI conference used as cover for party’. Without the aura they have built around themselves they would fail to exist in the form we know them today. and it’s the outside world that is living the strange existence. There’s certainly no love lost between the clubs and the police. ‘Spy camera blamed for false arrest’. You only have to read the websites devoted to biker news. of the media. hIT and MyTh 119 . the clubs are a myth. ‘New evidence shows whitewash of FBI role at Waco’. even funerals.over the top at times: if a bikie is stopped and his bike checked it’s victimisation. so it’s only natural they indulge in a few about their enemies. Some say they’re living in a boys’ fantasy world anyway. I’m not surprised the clubs take these views. ‘Suspected spy camera gone near biker club’. Here’s a sample from one major outlaw club site Outsider’s 1%er Biker News—‘FBI finds itself under scrutiny’. In many ways. The outlaw motorcycle clubs disagree.

sheep. I’m not a mutt I’m just the bitch you call your slut You like to ride me hard at night That’s when the moon looks just right ‘Say. I know the words But no is something I’ve never heard I know I’m here to keep him sane That’s why he calls me bitch by name By Name. Let’s consider the mainly American labels used to describe women—ol’ ladies. Certainly. That’s the way it is in the bikie world. although . have a seat and open wide’ These are the words you say with pride I know the rules. Sound crude and sexist? You’re right. generally referring to their partners as girlfriends and wives. mamas. broads and party girls.Chapter nine ChiCks And oL’ LAdiEs What I am is nothing more Than what you see down on the floor I’m not a man. it is. although I suspect you wouldn’t hear that sort of language in a bikie’s home. the Australian clubs are not as heavily into the labels. Kimberly Manning The treatment of women is one of the more controversial aspects of the bikie clubs.

even becoming office bearers. . I even recall one bikie constantly using the term ‘my bitch’. He argued women were unable to defend the club as successfully as ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 121 . According to outsiders. women are: . (She was killed when her handlebars came off on a run in the late ’60s. women participated as full members. arguably one of the clubs most adamant against women’s involvement these days. Yet. In return they have no rights within the clubs. was also a full Hell’s Angels member in the early 1960s.you do hear men referring to their ‘ol’ lady’ occasionally. are refused any say and effectively have to accept that the club rules their man. As one police report put it rather dramatically.) The elimination of women as full members of the Hell’s Angels appears to date back to the mid-1960s. Generally. the wife of the San Francisco Hell’s Angels president Frank Sadiliek. yet within the clubs it has long been accepted by all. When the outlaw motorcycle clubs were in their infancy in the United States. When Sonny Barger took over the national presidency of the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club in 1964 he immediately took the patches off the female members of the club. . when women were accepted as equals. sold. the hard-edged sexism has been subsiding since the late 1990s. Keata Zimmerman. To an outsider it sounds appalling and derogatory. little more than playthings. when referring to his wife. traded or given away within the club. The Hell’s Angels. to be played with and to serve the men when required. Women are generally victimized by forcing them into prostitution or street level drug traffickers and quite often physically abused. once had women as full members. Mirroring society. attitudes have a long way to go to get back to where they once were. including the women. particularly the police. the clubs treat the women as possessions. The US clubs are more into verbalising and making a big song and dance about these sorts of things. In the late 1950s Linda Sadiliek. humour or malice. was a full member and secretary of the chapter. the wife of the president of the San Bernardino chapter. they are bought. with no apparent irony.

An outlaw patch holder achieves a sense of personal satisfaction and authenticity by being able to stand up resolutely for club values. It’s highly unlikely that women will ever gain equality in the social philosophy of the outlaw motorcycle club subculture. 122 ThE BrOThErhOOds . women would make softer targets for rival clubs. In effect. I suspect. I’ve come across other arguments against women members. maintaining possessions and providing for the family. in general. The clubs are comprised of largely working-class and lower-class men who hold strong traditional warrior values. rebellion as a road to independence remains a male venture. meaning that a stare by a woman member might be interpreted as a sexual come-on rather than a warning to a citizen to keep his distance. Women. remaining true to these ideals under adversity. devalue this sense of accomplishment. The following interesting argument is. In the outlaw biker community. when bounties were often put on patches. The same stare from a man would be pretty clear in its intentions. by itself. maintain the home. closer to the mark. It meant members attracted to the clubs usually had a certain view towards women and the role of women. The fact that a woman could do the same would. look after the man and raise the kids. females as equals would shatter the image of a biker as a rare breed of male independence and courage. even one saying that eye contact with a female outlaw club member inferred different things to eye contact with a male member. specifically in relation to the colours. female membership in an outlaw club would blunt a man’s experience of being set apart by virtue of his having achieved a special goal.men. Daniel Wolf The shift from integrated clubs to male-only domains had enormous consequences for the outlaw motorcycle clubs. placing strong emphasis on the masculine roles of protecting women. He argued that during turf wars. making it difficult to protect the club. They’re more openly sexist. are expected to prepare the food.

as your time will be spent developing your personal relationship with your women and family rather than the gang. single club members believe marriage would mean the end of their membership. I mean.What has emerged from this is the strong view that marital relations represent the single greatest threat to the brotherhood and existence of the club. Club member In some clubs. you gotta keep these things in perspective. Women. The fact is that if Suzie [not her real name] put it to me that it was her and the kids or the club. nominees who have a developing or relatively new relationship with a woman are advised to wait until the relationship stabilises before becoming a member of the club. The clubs frown upon outside distractions. such as the Coffin Cheaters. he’d do so. Many members have told me privately that if his partner put the ultimatum to him. I’d leave the club. pose the biggest threat to the brotherhood. If there’s going to be friction between a member’s partner and club commitments he may not be admitted. particularly women with whom one falls in love. many of the younger. There’s just too much time required by the club to do a marriage justice. or an event occurred within his family that required him to quit the club. but that wouldn’t be me. then I’m going to quit the club. For most of us. we like to think that we would stay with the club. When I get married and settled down. I know ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 123 . Bandido It happens all the time. Daniel Wolf In fact. man.

which are approved by the major clubs. they are not permitted to attend club meetings or have a say in the running of the men’s club. If a woman is fortunate enough to be allowed entry into this sisterhood. Diablo However. the second three and this one is going to last forever. she. you know? Coffin Cheater I’m on my third marriage. however.I’ve got years invested in a terrific woman and kids that I love. I’d estimate 60 per cent are in a relationship of more than five years. For me. but women who fit into the sisterhood also exclude men from their clubs. have some rights. with 75 per cent of those having had children with their partner. I’d leave the club. There is a sisterhood of club biker women. In the old days she could hang around the clubhouse when given approval by the men or go riding with her man. Twelve years. A good example of this sisterhood is a friend of mine from the United States. A bit like a comfortable bike. Rebel The common belief is that a bikie has two possessions—his bike and his woman. These days. the women form their own riding clubs. in that order of importance. She does. She’s a great ol’ lady and I can’t imagine life without her. She also has to accept that the club has the right to call her man in anytime they want. 124 ThE BrOThErhOOds . A wife or girlfriend has to accept she is second string to the iron maiden. Okay. has an immediate extended family and a sense of camaraderie. and are able to balance club and family life. however. like her man. She’s due for a trade-in but I can’t find any of the newer models I like as much. The first lasted seven years. most club members are in long-term relationships. three kids with Carol [not her real name].

My parents had five children and I was the middle child. Both my husband and I became involved with the club. It was a fabulous party scene and my husband soon decided to prospect for the club.I was born in Kentucky in 1956. The only time children weren’t allowed at the clubhouse was party times. On their way back from Sturgis. My husband and I rode with friends who were riders. I was a black sheep in my family and my parents didn’t approve of him. Prospecting for the club meant doing menial tasks like cleaning up after parties and the like. When I was very young. we lived in Ohio. but we never really got involved in a club scene until we moved to Texas in 1998. He came from a motorcycle-riding family. My husband wanted us to go to Sturgis for the annual event. my husband and Frank (my son) decided to go. We had two children (boys) and it meant that. most of the time during the child-rearing years. they met up with members of the Boozefighters MC and had a great time. I found it impossible to enter the motorcycle world. for several years. ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 125 . Our lives revolved around the club. When I was 17 I met the man who would become my husband. So. There we met members of the local chapter of the Boozefighters and began a friendship that lasted several years. he owned a dirt bike and it was only after our marriage that he bought a road motorcycle. The Boozefighters invited the family to join them at their national party. In the meantime. My mother was a stay-athome mom. After his prospect period he became a full member and soon was put in charge of the bar of the club. my father went to jail for manufacturing moonshine. We went and had a fabulous time. It was here we became involved with the outlaw motorcycle club scene. We spent every weekend at the Fort Worth clubhouse. but I had just found a job and couldn’t get leave to go on the run. They were a great bunch of people who were very family-oriented. However. At the time we met. my husband was a construction worker and we moved around the United States following his work and general desire to keep ‘on the move’.

We stopped for gas on a run and as my husband was filling the tank I went inside to pay for the gas. I had such great times with the Boozettes and the Boozefighters. They were much less family-oriented. Soon enough. I knew before he did that he was going to change clubs and go with a much harder oriented. the Boozefighters didn’t seem to offer what my husband was looking for in a club at the time. .’ staring him straight in the eye. I guess you could say they redefined the position of family in the club. I told him and from that day on I was known as Ornery! It’s a source of pride or a kind of honor to have a club name and I guess I should have been grateful. So he did. It tipped people off as to who they were dealing with . I proudly wore the Boozettes patch because of the great feeling of camaraderie and the sense of sisterhood. not to know beforehand. the name stuck and that’s it. but for some reason. 1% club. I could see him being drawn more towards a 1% orientation. but the actual criterion for eligibility was being an ol’ lady of a Boozefighter member. So. Some of the women were riders in their own right. A customer in the shop made a comment about me being with that gang outside. my shoe’s untied—tie it up for me. As my husband managed the bar. ‘What was all that about?’ my husband asked when I came out.The women of the Boozefighters have their own club called the Boozettes. but I didn’t like the name because it gave people warning that I was a hard ass. I can clearly recall the day I got my club name. something that I liked them to find out. I spent many hours at the clubhouse and witnessed the occasional hardcore biker groupie coming through the door and the unfaithful husbands who gave these women what they came looking for. especially since the sisterhood knew everything that was going on. Still. But. it really wasn’t all that common. Well. The scene for ol’ ladies in this club was drastically different. I replied ‘Shit. the inevitable happened and he began his probationary period for a major 1% club. as the club was expected to be your family. rather quickly our marriage 126 ThE BrOThErhOOds . .

A big fight ensued and I never really figured out what the ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 127 . Needless to say. that caused a major drama. but the die was cast for me. and she was warning me about what she was allowed to say. I accepted the offer and still hang out with the Boozefighters and the Boozettes. One member of the club had some problems with this. I apologised for my husband’s sake. when out of nowhere came this punch. Look out if another member or an outsider tries to make a pass at her. clipping me behind the ear. my (now) former husband’s grandmother moved to Arkansas and invited me to live with her on her large property. At one of the club’s social functions. Club members are protective of their women. which I believe was actually aimed at her. Jealousy can be a vicious thing. Unfortunately. I told the president of the Nomad chapter of this club to ‘get fucked’. there are things I would do differently— hindsight is always 20/20—but I love the life I lived and had a blast doing it. it has been just great and I can say that I went out there and lived it my way. However. I scored a punch when I was apparently asking too many questions of one girlfriend at a clubhouse. Her boyfriend threw the punch. On the whole.’ I love the unconventional life I have chosen. simply inform them that you are my guest. Shortly afterwards.deteriorated. Of course. it caught her square on the head. We’d been speaking for roughly 30 minutes about the power she had in the club. I know from first-hand experience. I really didn’t want to be part of that scene. I refused to wear the ‘property of’ patch for this club. My husband asked if it was okay for him to give rides to other women and I agreed. his ol’ lady came up to me and said that even she couldn’t speak to him in this way. it soon became apparent he was giving them rides other than on his motorcycle! He moved out of our family home two weeks before he told me he was moving out. but the president of the club told me: ‘If anybody questions your being with us.

I’ve asked many club members about it. but for different reasons. Ultimately it’s in clubs’ interests for members to have a stable family home. . While there’s concern for the abused woman. and their first response is always to justify it. To abuse one’s woman in public is regarded as a sign the member doesn’t have control over his life and affairs.hell it was all about. Wives and girlfriends wear ‘property of’ patches. . The clubs argue that if the woman is carrying the club colours and her partner’s name. It’s pretty common for two clubs to get into a fight because someone has approached the wife or girlfriend of another club member. no other club member will touch her. Rebels and Bandidos heavily involved in groups such as Bikers United Against Child Abuse and Bikers Against Child Abuse (Australia). much of the focus is on the club member. with the Hell’s Angels. with the name of the biker they belong to on the bottom rocker. other clubs (have) got to know who they are messing with. which could threaten his membership. Citizens too. There have been cases where members have been asked to leave social functions because of the way they were treating their partners. Satan’s Cavalry Most clubs say branding their women cuts out any confusion within the club and also when the women come into contact with other clubs. Family violence is becoming a bigger issue in the clubs. Rebel 128 ThE BrOThErhOOds . I presumed he thought I was getting a little too familiar with her. What’s wrong with that? Bandido Yeah? They’re our women and should be marked as such. Physical abuse of females is viewed as taboo by the outlaw clubs in the same way it is in the straight world. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of clubs’ treatment of women is the ‘property of’ rocker worn on the women’s leathers. .

like the bike and tattoos. . I haven’t seen a ‘property of’ patch among the hardcore clubs since 2001. I happily got my ‘Property of the American Veterans’ patch. Girlfriend of Hell’s Angels affiliate In the harder-edge clubs. It just makes things clearer. . I decided to get three! The Harley and the tattoos made me highly distinctive in the world of the ‘straights’. which I liked. For Christmas 1993 I bought a new Harley-Davidson Softail Custom. My man became its first president. He wanted a club that clearly was closer to a 1% club. I travelled to Missouri to get my first tattoo. To complement the scoot. I wore the patch everywhere I could. I made a circle of friends with my significant other’s contacts in the biker-world scene. I think the whole thing is a joke. Sherry. My man wasn’t happy with the status of the club as a simple outlaw motorcycle club.We’ve found that it stops a lot of hassles. After this. . which he wanted to run as an outlaw motorcycle club. from the United States. Club member The clubs admit there is an element of trying to offend and shock outsiders by saying someone owns a woman. My man wanted to start an Oklahoma chapter of a motorcycle club called the American Veterans. which he found when the OK Riders Motorcycle ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 129 . restrictions are put on where and when a woman can wear the ‘property of’ patch—the result is that women stop wearing the patch. that’s all. And because I had to travel so far. as tattoo shops were illegal in Oklahoma at the time. I was a biker chick now. I found my identity. I rode extensively with my brother and friends. Eventually he was allowed by other clubs to wear the American Veterans patch. In fact. puts the case nicely. defined me as someone very special. it’s nothing really. It. But you know how much the clubs like to get up the noses of citizens.

referred to as ‘broads’ in North America. the Rebels in Canada. severe restrictions were placed on wearing my ‘property of’ patch. not all members become involved with party girls. The OK Riders placed conditions on where I could wear my ‘property of’ patch. She remains the first and only mama the Rebels have had. Some women. The club members thought it was a hell of a joke. Things got ugly when the wife assaulted the mama with a pool cue. Just as not all clubs have mamas. much to everyone’s relief. Now I was only able to wear the patch in the presence of my man. and refused to take her. had a mama who hung around for a few months until one of the wives heard she’d been trying to get her husband to have sex with her. but the Rebels had learnt their lesson. but the mama was soon given her marching orders. and then disappear from the scene just as quickly as they arrived. so they attend a party or two. However. One club. are sometimes found at the clubhouses. They’re not really closely associated with the club. They perform menial duties around the clubhouse. Few clubs have mamas or sheep attached to them. when my man joined the Bandidos. This was a severe blow. 130 ThE BrOThErhOOds . or ‘cuties’ and ‘party girls’ in Australia. The clubs certainly get up the noses of straight society when they start referring to women as ‘mamas’ or ‘sheep’. Some clubs permit mamas and sheep to wear the ‘property of’ patch. These women belong to the club at large and are expected to consent to sex with any member at any time. It turned out she was too much for the other club so they tried to hand her back. The OK Riders was a support club of the Bandidos. as the US clubs often do. They tend to want to take a walk on the wild side. but their rules were not that different from the American Veterans. She was actually palmed off to another club. so I rarely wore the patch after my man became a Bandido.Club accepted him into their ranks. yet are excluded from club meetings and club business. During the American Veterans years I was allowed to wear the ‘property of’ patch whenever I wanted.

Pass around Jane was not the same when she found her call in life Be a bitch. Some clubs also refer to it as ‘onioning’. If a member manages to persuade a girl to have sex with him. a biker’s bitch and learn to use the knife She took her beatings like a champ She learned to love and fight ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 131 . you don’t kick her in the teeth by riding by yourself. It’s called ‘pulling a train’. as this would bring too much heat on the clubs.I’ve got no time to be playing around on Barb [not her real name]. however. subtly coerced into having sex. and he doesn’t consider her a long-term proposition. a term also used by the armed services and even male university fraternities in the United States. if necessary. There’s a poem in the book Some Biker Bitches Poetry by Kimberly Manning that sums up the sexual abuse of some women involved with the clubs. I love her dearly and the last thing I need to do is have word get around to her that I’ve been playing with a party girl. She and I have been together for seven years and have three kids. It’s unlikely the coercion would extend to blatant rape. Therapists working in the trauma field frequently refer to females traumatised by these events. she’ll generally be asked to consent to having sex with other club members. And you certainly don’t kick her in the tail by packing someone else. The sergeant-at-arms or other club officials would generally bring an over-enthusiastic member into line when the woman is clearly saying no. As you’d imagine. Coffin Cheater When your ol’ lady is into riding. Former Comanchero Party girls are often seen by clubs as a target to be cajoled. what may seem like drunken fun at the time can soon turn into a traumatic experience for the girls. no official statistics are available. seduced and.

they enshrine sacrosanct rules and customs. you were fair meat. Kimberly Manning There have been some ugly incidents where clubs have been involved in rape. One US police report added fuel to the fire by describing each patch: 132 ThE BrOThErhOOds . degrading and depraved in the extreme. The incident occurred in 1972 on a major run. Red wings are said to be awarded for having sex with a woman menstruating and white wings for participating in group sex with a girl. One particularly nasty episode in the 1970s involved the Coffin Cheaters and the rape of the girlfriend of a rival club president. The case prompted the judge at the trial. past or present. the women had to wear a black armband if they were with a member. A simmering 30-year feud between the Hell’s Angels and the Rebels was sparked over the rape of one club member’s girlfriend. a code of conduct which is at its best puerile. Instead of wearing ‘property of’ inscriptions on their backs. A major issue was whether the girl was identified as belonging to the member. ‘If you didn’t wear a black armband. It was alleged the girl was cajoled into taking her armband off by members of one of the clubs.She even found a peaceful place to hide far out of sight Commitment comes in many forms how does one know what’s right Just ask Jane who felt the same until she took her life. to say of bikie clubs: They dehumanise their members. The notion of sex abuse has fuelled the legend of small coloured patches that are said to indicate sexual achievement. and those with whom they associate. Their attitude towards women and girls is at least as vicious and despicable as that of any cult. and then attacked by a number of the club’s members. and at its worst bestial. in which five Coffin Cheaters members were convicted of rape. Pass Around Jane. of which I’m aware.’ said one bikie who was around at the time.

• Wings—An emblem worn by 1%ers. Hell’s Angel ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 133 . . • Purple Wings—Earned when the wearer performs oral sex with a dead woman. To tell you the truth. I know Sonny [Barger] talks a bit about it in his book as something that went on in the old days. and woolly wings. Let’s put it another way. Imagine what must occur at parties to earn these badges! This is truly heady stuff—no pun intended. this shit [referring to the wings] has been around for years. if a guy wearing purple wings came up to me and offered me a joint. if a bloke were to do shit like that. • Green Wings—Earned when the wearer performs cunnilingus on a venereal diseased woman. In reality. All wing earning must be witnessed. Arthur. • Brown Wings—Earned when the wearer performs oral sex with a woman’s anus. If a person wearing wings or other patches earned these ways were to try to share a bottle of beer with any bikie. earned by committing homosexual sodomy with witnesses present. But it does beg the question: what are the patches really about? Yes. as a pin or patch [cloth] attached to the colours.• Eightball—Patch worn on colours. supposedly awarded for having sex with a sheep. . I’d definitely refuse it . Add to this the notion of yellow wings for drinking urine. but I honestly think these days it’s not on. • Red Cross—Earned by committing homosexual fellatio with witnesses present. they’d be lucky to escape with a simple bashing. and the outlaw motorcycle clubs would appear to be a depraved bunch of bisexual deviants of truly gigantic proportions. I wouldn’t vote for him to be a member of the club. there’s no way a nominee would gain entry to a club if they engaged in this sort of stuff. it’s cop and media fantasy and that’s all.

There wouldn’t be one amongst the lot of them that’s had to fix a bike on a road in the middle of nowhere. I’ve seen tit contests where the girls take everything off. She’d literally drag a woman up to 134 ThE BrOThErhOOds . heterosexual sex-related party behaviour is the norm. they are a closely guarded club secret that only the most senior members would know. for a predominately male audience. The best I can remember was the 1984 Tassie run held near Launceston. at clubhouses and in club bars. it’s not about the size or how much gear the woman takes off. They wear these trendy Harley gear and leathers that are a fucking disgrace. On runs. Sometimes there are macho competitions such as biggest penis contests—luckily I’ve never had the pleasure of witnessing such an event. The clubs see it as a parody of their lifestyle. Interestingly. whereas at others the excitement of the audience reaches fever pitch at the mere hint of flesh from the girls. not just the outlaw clubs. Homosexuality is definitely not encouraged among the outlaw motorcycle clubs or bikers. it’s a long shot that anyone would earn an eightball or red cross patch and then wear it around the club. The best contests become part of biker folklore. Bandido As you can see.The issue of performing homosexual acts is hard to fathom. but the mood of the audience that make these such popular events. Fuckin’ garbage-wagon poofters. If they’re out there. There was this one well and truly over-the-hill bird who really made that event. The wet T-shirt and tit contests are widespread phenomena in the bikie world. The clubs hate being portrayed by the gay community in displays such as the Sydney Mardi Gras with the leather caps and studs astride Harley-Davidsons. I haven’t come across anyone wearing any of the wings or patches. That applies to general biker culture. but the audience ignores them. It’s usually strippers or wet T-shirt and breast (or ‘tit’) contests. so I can’t tell you what they really mean.

explaining that the motorcycle club functions were among the least threatening. They were surprisingly calm and professional about it. Very tight. The girls were really explicit. I found myself backstage with the strippers at Broadford a few years ago. there was a stage full of naked women. Any girl would feel safe under the wing of a Hell’s Angel. it really kept the blokes’ attention. an Adelaide stripper I interviewed. ‘helping’ the woman remove her clothes. grab a woman to join in. It was a hell of an event. Pretty soon. the stage was packed with women stripped to the waist. That was certainly the best for me. Pretty soon. Security was tight. Then the woman who started the kidnappings removed the rest of her gear and proceeded to get the others to do the same. Satan’s Cavalry associate The best was. strangely enough. as a pack. which was enough to get us back to Victoria. I’d been told she didn’t like ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 135 . After she was able to get a few up on stage. Part of it was the atmosphere. and the audience generally appreciated what they were doing. Coffin Cheater associate Me an’ Sal [not her real name] were stuck in Cairns without enough money to get home. had to tackle the tricky issue of club politics in her work.the stage and then forcefully suggest that she join in the contest. some getting into the swing of things and some not. It was one of those situations where these rowdy girls and the blokes just seemed to hit it off. She picked up $100. at an MRA rally held in Mansfield. Michelle. so I asked how they felt performing in front of a thousand alcohol-charged men braying for them to get their gear off. Rebel Professional strippers usually supplement the contests. Not one of them had any clothes on at all and they were doing things like rubbing their crotches on stage supports and the like. Let me tell you. Sal entered the tit contest at a rally up near Cairns and really put on a show. they’d jump off and.

Some of these clubs have existed since the early 1900s. I’ve literally had no problems with the clubs. no. Motor Maids. She said it was ‘a respect thing’ with the clubs. And the Devil Dolls is a sanctioned club of the Hell’s Angels. Many become full members of the biker fraternity. These include Leather and Lace. including the Rebels. Ladies of Harley and Dykes on Bikes. they said they wouldn’t want their sister stripping for the Rebels either. My only problem is that I have a brother who is with the Rebels and it’d cause problems if I stripped for clubs which were not OK with him. participating in political associations such as the MRA and the Womens’ International Motorcycling Association. Recently we have seen clubs formed by the partners of outlaw motorcycle club members. For example. so I was keen to find out why. just under 50 per cent of those taking motorcycle lessons in Australia were women. I interviewed Michelle in an Adelaide strip club while she was wearing nothing but cowboy boots and a belt. although she thought they were all pretty good. I love stripping for the boys. the sister club of the Boozefighters. It turns out that wasn’t the case. It’s crap that the boys treat the women badly. when I explained the situation to the Gypsy Jokers.stripping for the clubs. It was a very difficult interview. A good example is the Boozettes. The wheels are slowly turning for women and the clubs. It’s OK for the clubs. The number of women riders is gradually increasing. Women on Wheels and Women of Harley. 136 ThE BrOThErhOOds . There are many all-women clubs across the globe. Modern clubs include Chrome Divas. Oh. [I’ve had] much more trouble with the suits and wog parties than the biker bashes. they understand. The Finks got the nod as the club that treats the girls best. In recent years. Michelle has stripped for six clubs. Finks and Descendants.

A point even Sonny Barger concedes: ‘There are lots of women who ride bikes with the club right now—but none will ever be voted in as members. with chapters in Sydney. While the strong sexist attitude still exists in the outlaw clubs. Another well-known club.’ ChICks and OL’ LadIEs 137 . more women are being encouraged to ride on their own machines with the clubs. Melbourne and Brisbane. The club was based in Wollongong and was active from about 1975 until the late 1980s. It claimed to be a 1% club. The only other reference to an all-woman club in Australia was a club called Against All Odds. is Dykes on Bikes—while members do not have to be lesbian to join. I haven’t heard of it since. with colours. Women in the Wind. most are. entry requirements and badges similar to other outlaw motorcycle clubs. which announced its arrival in the September 1989 issue of V-Twin magazine.Ladies of Harley has a chapter each in Sydney and Brisbane. There has been at least one all-women Australian outlaw club.

virtually all murders of and by bikies are due to bikie-tobikie conflict. with the stats fluctuating wildly. bombing or murder. shooting. who defined bikies as terrorists. alleged there had been 36 murders by bikies over the previous 10 years. a Melbourne Herald Sun article claimed bikies were involved in 23 national murders or disappearances over the previous four years. In January 2002. It’s difficult to paint the true picture of bikie violence.Chapter ten BoMBs And BAsTArdry Old age and treachery overcome youth and enthusiasm—but not violence. . And a United Nations analysis of the top 40 organised-crime threats found that only 10 deaths by bikies had occurred in the same time period (1996–2006) in Australia. by my analysis. Ozbiker. the way members live. there is no question that. I’d say 99 per cent of club violence is club versus club. protecting either a club’s territory or its honour. It’s implicit in the rules.org—the website for outlaw bikers in Australia—published a letter in 2006 in which an unnamed serving police member. The public usually only hears about bikies following a violent incident—a bashing. As different as these figures are. Hell’s Angel Violence is central to club life. and their interaction with other clubs.

were a hotbed of club violence in the early 1990s.The internationalisation of the motorcycle clubs from 1985 to 2007 saw a surge in amalgamations. Canada has been another hot spot. It came to a head when the Bandidos got their hands on an antitank missile. and five police officers and two innocent bystanders (one an 11-year-old boy) murdered from 1983 to 2008. with at least 163 bikie deaths. It was never reported in the media at the time because local authorities feared it would provoke further vigilantism and. After the missile attack. with violence increasing significantly at the same time. killing two and injuring 19. which they duly fired into a Hell’s Angels clubhouse (one of six Hell’s Angels clubhouses in Copenhagen). sparking more inter-club violence. with 60 people killed. is only discussed in law enforcement and club circles. In 1997 a lawyer representing both clubs in various court proceedings was nominated by police and the clubs to negotiate a truce. but they had a bigger fear that forced them into a truce. The lawyer was successful and the international presidents of both clubs ratified the peace treaty that held for several years until the Outlaws Motorcycle Club arrived from the United States. On the face of it. they bulldozed the clubhouse and ran the club members out of town. to this day. But the arrival of the Bandidos into the Hell’s Angels stronghold in Denmark in the early 1990s triggered one of the most violent and sustained club wars ever seen. when a gun battle between the Hell’s Angels and the Bandidos at a Copenhagen airport triggered a war between the two clubs for control of the territory. The first outbreak of lethal club violence was in 1991. The Scandinavian countries of northern Europe. For many years. It was the first recorded case of vigilantism against the clubs. BOMBs and BasTardry 139 . Outraged by the bikie violence. in particular. The missile passed over the heads of police guarding the building. the Hell’s Angels maintained complete control over these countries. the clubs and police appeared to have been spooked by the level the violence had reached. another 200 club members missing. an estimated 3000 citizens gathered outside the Hell’s Angels clubhouse that had been attacked.

The local chapters of the Hell’s Angels are extremely volatile. Loners. who cares? But that apathy quickly turned to horror and outrage when a prison guard was killed and another seriously injured in Quebec on 8 September 1997. Quebec and British Columbia. The massacre was the culmination of a factional fight between the ‘drug’ arm of the club and the ‘non-drug’ arm. Many of Gallant’s victims were Hell’s Angels. By the late 1980s. The violence came to a shocking climax in 2006 when eight Bandido members were found murdered in what was described as ‘the biggest mass killing in world biker history’. The murders effectively killed the Bandidos in Canada. with turf wars continuing in Alberta. Two years later they gave up their fight and pulled out of the country. were pretty apathetic towards the club violence—as long as it was bikies killing bikies. Hell’s Angel Yves (Apache) Trudeau was sentenced to life in prison in 1986 on 43 counts of manslaughter. Two of the victims were undercover American cops. Following a sensational trial. Bounty Hunters and Outlaws. while in 2009 hit man Gerald Gallant pleaded guilty to 27 murders and 12 attempted murders from 1978 to 2003. with many senior members trained in urban warfare by the French Separatist movement in the 1970s. like Australians. It was a time of incredible violence in Quebec. Rebels. At the same time. The Separatists at the time wanted to secede Quebec from Canada and re-align with France—this militant background has provided the French Canadian Hell’s Angels with a long history of violence and bloodshed. with the executions carried out on the orders of the Rock Machine. Canadians. a jury found that the prison guard was 140 ThE BrOThErhOOds .All the violence and death stemmed from amalgamations and turf wars between the Hell’s Angels and several other clubs including the Vagabonds. the sole remaining threat to the highly criminal Canadian Hell’s Angels was a street gang turned bikie club. All those killed opposed the criminal drug-making element of the club. the Outlaws moved into Canada to resume hostilities with the Hell’s Angels. The violence in Quebec is particularly bad. which then started fighting the Hell’s Angels. The Rock Machine was eventually patched over by the Bandidos. the Rock Machine.

the Hell’s Angels are still considered by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to be organisedcrime public enemy number one. But when you adjust for a smaller population. was a contender for the NSW light Heavyweight boxing title. Australia suffers about the same amount of club violence per capita as other Western countries. which they claimed were too close to their own colours. But it’s been alleged that BOMBs and BasTardry 141 . with support from the Hell’s Angels. The bloodiest period was between 1995 and 1999 when there were 32 club-related deaths in Australia. On paper. jailing the lot of them. the Rebels president. The police swooped on all known Hell’s Angels and their associates. Bombs were also found beneath seven police stations. The laws appeared to work—the violence stopped. it looked a no-contest—after all.killed on the orders of ‘Mom’ Boucher of the Quebec Hell’s Angels. In the late 1990s the Canadian government introduced legislation declaring the Hell’s Angels a banned organisation. It was a dispute between the Rebels and Hell’s Angels that led to the violence. 10 years later the Royal Canadian Mounted Police admitted the legislation had proven useless in preventing crime. However. compared with 24 deaths in the previous 10 years. it attracted more than 500 bikies from clubs such as the Nomads. There have been significantly fewer club-war-related deaths among Australia’s outlaw motorcycle clubs. All the crimes the bikies were alleged to have been the kingpins of—including methamphetamine manufacture and distribution—had grown since the bikies were locked up. and no innocent bystanders have been killed since the club members were locked up. The president of the Hell’s Angels Sydney chapter took on the president of the Rebels in a fight. Rebels and Gypsy Jokers. Organised by the Finks. The Canadian government had to act to stop a club war clearly out of control. the execution was designed to send a signal that the Hell’s Angels were not going to take a police ‘crackdown’ on the club lying down. Apparently. Alex Vella. The first violent death in the Australian outlaw clubs took place on the first NSW Outlaw Run in 1971 at a small campground about 30 kilometres south of Wollongong. The Hell’s Angels took umbrage at the red and white colours of the Rebels. Fourth Reich and Rebels. Yet.

It soon developed into a slanging match along club lines. At a party attended by a number of clubs. The Iroquois coalition arrived first and lined the road to the beach. it was all over ‘a stolen transistor worth 10 bucks and a couple of hurt feelings’. however. A 30-year feud ensued. An ugly fight broke out. and even today the clubs refuse to party together. one of the Undertakers club members was accused of stealing the radio from the house of the Iroquois member hosting the party. until the Undertakers got out with guns drawn. worth about $10. Another landmark conflict occurred in 1974 in Adelaide. Shots were fired and an Iroquois member. Old timers said the moment he was shot. The Iroquois enlisted the help of the Descendants. until the Finks and the Mob Shitters became involved.every time Vella started to get on top of his rival. rifles. with threats of violence. Reapers. but 79 people were charged over the fight. Undertakers members (some say it was the Wog Boys) arrived laden with shotguns. chains. mace. severely bashed with a baby’s pram. barbedwire whips and axe handles attached to chainsaw blades. Barry Bullshit. The Iroquois later 142 ThE BrOThErhOOds . which left the Hell’s Angels president lying on the front path of the house in a pool of blood. including the Iroquois and the Undertakers. The Mandamas. Wog Boys and Barbarians sided with the Undertakers. to settle the dispute. These clubs. an event seen as marking the arrival of inter-club rivalry in that city. As the former Iroquois president said. along with the Rebels. ready to attack. The bad blood between the clubs festered until they decided to meet the next Saturday night at Gawler Beach. Nothing much came of the incident. on Adelaide’s northern outskirts. Finks and Mob Shitters. was hit in the chest. the Hell’s Angels president received some ‘assistance’ from fellow club members. Rocks were thrown and bonnets bashed. It was all over a stolen radio. It was supposed to be weapon free. Barry survived. Vella got his arse kicked but it was clear who would win in a fair fight. the whole outlaw scene in Adelaide changed forever. went to the home of the Hell’s Angels president to settle the score. He died in hospital. according to the Iroquois president. arriving in cars. pistols. But the Undertakers took them by surprise.

where the Coffin Cheaters put a number of demands to the Resurrected. hitting two Coffin Cheaters. not the fights. A few months later the Coffin Cheaters attempted to mete out their revenge. The Coffin Cheaters then managed to break down the bedroom door but were greeted by an 18-year-old girl brandishing a gun. then they have no choice. The two clubs were at a hotel in Melbourne. Another vicious example was the confrontation between the Coffin Cheaters and a small club. It is unclear what name they wanted them to change to. wounding with intent. becoming its Adelaide chapter. brotherhood and notoriety. and handed out one of the most violent beatings imaginable. Some Coffin Cheaters jumped in a car and gave chase. six were convicted of charges including grievous bodily harm. One died on arrival at the local hospital. but when the Resurrected refused. killing the Coffin Cheaters president. But if it’s a club rule that they must jump into a fight. As one former president told me: ‘In turf wars. They travelled to the home of the Resurrected president. the Coffin Cheaters challenged them to a fight. including the strange request that they change their name. the car crashed. Pig. while the Mandamas went with the Gypsy Jokers. And when another major rule is that they don’t back away. not the people. She fired. Most club members are attracted to the clubs for the bikes. those in the house had been warned the Coffin Cheaters were on their way. In organised stoushes over territory. in 1976. However. It’s alleged that while trying to run the Resurrected president off the road. Pig’s 19-year-old girlfriend was repeatedly raped. The Resurrected again refused and left the hotel bound for Morwell. though. No one’s really gung-ho about it.prospected to the Hell’s Angels. When they arrived they bashed a Resurrected member while three girls hid in a bedroom. the Resurrected. they must keep slugging away until the sergeant-at-arms restores order. The pack then travelled to another house to dish out more punishment. the patches are feuding. many members approach it as something they must do. aggravated burglary.’ BOMBs and BasTardry 143 . malicious wounding. where the club was based. Eight Coffin Cheaters were charged over the attack. theft and rape.

or to dish out an insult. After a fight between clubs the respective leaders will work out a truce. After the violent blow-up between the clubs. There’s a lot more verbal aggression in the overseas clubs. They manage to get along very well at many functions. Many members tell me it’s often the nominees that cause the problems between clubs. I’m probably presenting a distorted picture here because bikies don’t spend all their time fighting. When the shit hits the fan it’s serious stuff. with their willingness to stand up and fight admired by the club. As one club member said: ‘I do not have friends because they are outlaw motorcycle club members. The way clubs approach violence is interesting. Sometimes it’s a successful tactic for the nominee. I have friends who just happen to be members of outlaw motorcycle clubs. It shows the level of the working relationship between the clubs. but be back conducting business the following week. and it’s on. while the Australian clubs 144 ThE BrOThErhOOds . with nothing personal at stake. It may take a few years but any animosity will generally subside. Sometimes two clubs can be involved in a heavy fight one week. but most regard it as a hazard of the club because it’s actually dangerous stuff. he’s seen as an overeager troublemaker who deserves to have his head punched in. the two leaders went so far as to issue a joint press release saying it was a few members from each club who’d been involved and not a clubsanctioned fight. They are there for a good time and will drink with each other. There isn’t constant warring between the clubs. It also shows how sensitive the clubs are about attracting unnecessary heat. Some guy trying to make a point to impress the full members will bring the whole club into the action. inviting each other to their field days without a hint of malice or a grudge. when the members can be fighting yet the organisations deal with each other on another level altogether. Other times. Many inter-club fights have an air of detachment about them.Some enthusiastically tackle the violence. The fight between the Hell’s Angels and Bandidos in Scandinavia is a good example.’ But it only takes someone to show a lack of respect for another club’s colours. The press release also said the members had been disciplined.

In 2001 the Bandidos in New South Wales were caught with rocket launchers. In mid-2000 police found more than a dozen guns—most reportedly in a wall cavity—in the headquarters of the Gypsy Jokers in northern Adelaide. so they tend to make a lot more noise. the politics of fear are used in the clubs just as they are in general society. The first is familiar to all students of politics: a group is more cohesive when there is a clear ‘enemy’. while in 2006 the Perth Coffin Cheaters were found with ‘street sweepers’ (semi-automatic shotguns altered to be fully automatic). as the alternative can be deadly. When the Jokers came across another club he was more than happy to start some pushing and shoving so it would develop into a full-scale fight. so they’ll just shoot you. A second factor is dominance—clubs want to be the biggest and baddest. The local club members watched in horror before they dragged him away. with its limited access to guns. One Gypsy Joker discovered the difference in club cultures on a visit to South Africa. particularly after the tightening of gun laws following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. So. There are more weapons in countries such as the United States. A crackdown of Sydney’s bikies in 2009 unearthed a number of guns. • The Milperra massacre.’ he was told. It seems guns and weapons are readily available if you know where to look for them.are more willing to get into a punch-up. It increases group cohesion and puts aside the divisive intra-club politics that cause factionalisation. There are some essential dynamics that produce a war mentality in a club.’ Australia doesn’t have the same level of gun activity among the clubs. if left seven BOMBs and BasTardry 145 . ‘Everyone is armed. But they’re certainly out there. ‘You don’t do that here. A third is the phenomenon known as ‘group think’: people in groups tend to make riskier decisions than when acting alone. Following is an excellent example of how these factors combined to spark Australia’s most notorious club war. Also known as the Father’s Day massacre. It’s a name now synonymous with bikie wars and violence.

making members undergo weekly combat training to prepare for fights with other clubs. The dispute began with a brawl in the Loners’ territory at the Lone Star Hotel. who were beaten and forced to surrender their colours.people dead on 2 September 1984 following a shoot-out between the Comancheros and Bandidos in the Sydney suburb of Milperra. In retaliation. The Comanchero Motorcycle Club of Australia was an outlaw club formed under the leadership of William ‘Jock’ Ross in 1973. 146 ThE BrOThErhOOds . a small city-based club. In late 1973 the Comancheros were involved in a series of fights with another local outlaw motorcycle club. due mainly to the aggressive recruiting style of Jock. when they got there they found two carloads of Comancheros armed with baseball bats. He sent a message to the Loners suggesting they meet in a hotel to establish a truce. Indeed. When police arrived. for to involve the police would not only have meant more trouble from the Comancheros. the Loners said they didn’t want to press charges. but the end of the Loners club. Prior to its inauguration with an official constitution the club was a loose-knit group of riders who frequented the pubs in their territory along the NSW coast. They promptly attacked the unprepared Loners. he ran the club as though he were supreme leader. The situation escalated so rapidly the NSW police strongly urged Jock and his members to leave the area or face the consequences. the Comancheros raided the Loners’ clubhouse. Once established. Handing over their riding gear with the club emblems meant not only the end of the battle. however. culminating in one of the Loners threatening several Comancheros with a shotgun. where three Loners were beaten. moving the Comancheros to Sydney’s western suburbs near Parramatta. It was a wise decision. the Kings. In June 1983 the Comancheros instigated a dispute with the Loners. just north of Sydney. Jock was determined not to let it rest there. The Loners agreed. who called himself the ‘Supreme Leader’ of the club. He took the hint. but possibly other clubs. the Comancheros rapidly became one of the more dominant clubs in western Sydney. The Comanchero name was chosen when Jock ‘heard the name in a John Wayne movie’.

who is this guy?’ asked one of the Bandileros after he’d been given his colours by Jock. The effective amalgamation of the clubs provided the Comancheros with the opportunity to expand their territory into the central city and enlarge the club’s membership base. ‘Fuck. It was not an easy marriage. the murder of a federal court judge in BOMBs and BasTardry 147 . relations between the two chapters deteriorated until communication between them was virtually nonexistent. It was a strong club. The new clubhouse was to be based in Lane Cove in the inner city. they were prime suspects in three cases involving the murder of an assistant district attorney in California. as enforced mergers often prove. with an offer to become a feeder club called the Bandileros. Meanwhile. It was a severe blow to Jock. office bearers of the Comancheros city chapter went to the United States. They had little choice but to accept. and the unusually formal ceremony of swearing in new members. After the club divided. while the former Bandileros wanted to move closer to their old city stamping ground. Throughout this process many Bandileros became Comancheros. ‘If I wanted to march around the fuckin’ backyard. allegedly with robust links to serious crime. The relationship between the original Comancheros and Bandileros never really overcame the previous bad blood that had existed between the Comancheros and the Loners.The Loners were effectively taken over by the Comancheros. Following several weeks’ consideration Jock announced he was splitting the Comancheros into two chapters: a city chapter and a western suburbs chapter.’ The tension spilled over during a dispute over the site of the Comancheros’ new headquarters after the lease had expired at the old HQ. with the new members prevailing. Under this arrangement members of the feeder club were scrutinised. Jock favoured a western suburbs location. If they made the grade they were offered membership of the mother club. I would have joined the fuckin’ army. 32 votes to eight. At the time. where they made contact with the national president of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. There was tension from the start over Jock’s military training methods. The issue came to a vote.

The Bandidos arrived. The Comancheros had got wind that the Bandidos would be at the meet. The Bandidos complied. led by Jock. It was the first time Australians witnessed mass killings between bikie clubs. Within minutes seven 148 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Scuffles broke out across the car park. Jock immediately demanded the return of the Comanchero colours. and a stand-off ensued.Texas in May 1979 and a police officer in Louisiana in 1979. It has been alleged the US Bandidos were keen on establishing an Australian chapter to get their hands on a chemical called phenyl-2-propanone. Also. then smuggle it into the United States. Within months the relationship between the Bandidos and Comancheros had deteriorated to the point where shots were fired at the Bandidos clubhouse. it gave them an opportunity to spread to another country. a move that would surely piss off the Hell’s Angels. but in the powder-keg atmosphere there was no hope. and then the first gunshot rang out. at that time it could legally be brought into Australia. It all came to a head on Sunday. a hotel in Milperra. a major ingredient in the production of amphetamines. The Australians liked what they saw in the United States and agreed to become an Australian chapter of the Bandidos. so they organised an armed group. complete with their own arsenal. It was the signal for an event that shocked the nation. While it was illegal to import P2P into the United States. one set of colours had been sent to the United States. to meet them. 2 September 1984—Father’s Day. These were serious outlaws. or P2P. The allegation was that the local chapter could get their hands on the stuff. A number of Comancheros were assaulted in return. An attempt was made by some Bandidos to defuse the situation and get everyone to put their guns down. However. the city chapter informed Jock it was no longer a chapter of the Comancheros. I believe the Bandidos were keen to move into Australia merely because the chance arose through a group of keen Australians. and these missing colours proved a very sore point with Jock. Upon returning to Sydney. but the first Australian chapter of the Bandidos Motorcycle Club. A swap meet was being held in the grounds of the Viking Tavern. I have my doubts on this theory.

Well. He spent three days building a guillotine and cut his head off last week. found life suddenly changed after the shooting. I’m a biker not a bikie now. Thirty-nine club members were subsequently put on trial. Too fucking right I quit the club. manslaughter and affray. It was clear the episode had had a profound and devastating effect on him. Naturally enough. The bikie clubs. I blame these three [pointing to a picture of Jock Ross and two associates] for all the trouble that happened in the club. and in Hollister before that. I caught up with a former Comanchero in late 2001. It culminated in a vote where 32 of the 40 members of the club went a different way to Jock. was so fucking petty. I feel like I lost six brothers at the Viking that day. The media portrayal of the event was similar to what I’d witnessed many years before in Monterey. Hotel BOMBs and BasTardry 149 . Since then many. many others have suicided. we started to talk amongst ourselves and figured out what he was up to. rules and power struggles—that’s what started the feud. There are only three of us left now. The whole thing. in the main. The most recent was Flash. That’s not true.people were dead—including a 14-year-old girl. to cut a long story short. So. Politics. three Bandidos and three Comancheros—and 21 had been injured. Jock used to rule by division. People think the Comancheros had three dead at the shootout. His tactics were to talk to each member and tell him what the others were allegedly saying about him. still mates with all the guys who decided to leave and eventually become Bandidos. The Milperra massacre had an immediate impact on the Australian motorcycling community. with all but two found guilty of charges including murder. Snoddy was the first to commit suicide. in Long Bay Jail. looking back on it. We were one club. which had a relatively low profile in Australia up to that point. But we were actually. I guess the last straw was the blue at the Viking Tavern.

In the pub that me and a few mates were drinkin’ in. They were talking like anyone riding a bike was a drug-crazed psycho who carried weapons in their bike’s handlebars and the like. I remember the stretch of road from Brisbane to Sydney took us days. Many clubs have had an unpleasant calling card arrive at their clubhouse. often refusing them entry.owners and caravan park operators were now wary of admitting any club member. It got so bad that I had my mates go outside and warm up the bikes while I told the pack of them a few home truths. The cops were everywhere. Basically. Getting back from Darwin was fuckin’ unreal. It was unbelievable what went on as a result of the media beat-up . Near Goulburn it was really shitful too. would not shut up about the whole thing. It was crazy shit. You’d just get on the road and a new set of cops would be on your arse. Club rider • Bombings are another popular calling card for the clubs. The police were a fucking nightmare to any two-wheel rider that didn’t look like a sports-type biker. Bombings are one of the most dangerous aspects of club life. . bottles and bullshit after reminding them about the truckie who’d recently gone crazy and killed several people with his truck at Ayers Rock. the truckies and their wives came in the early evening. . The Rebels in Adelaide had their clubhouse damaged 150 ThE BrOThErhOOds . particularly the bit about the alleged innocent 14-year-old girl who was killed by these mad bikie bastards. At the time I was riding in Darwin. Outlaw clubhouses need to be heavily fortified because of the constant threat of attack. anticipating a night’s stay-over. Same thing. I left in a hail of beer cans. either as a weapon to injure or to warn someone they mean business. the cops were just tyre kicking. particularly their wives. These guys. with most outlaw members realising they could fall victim at any time. But they’d tie you up for ages. We were just settling in.

While some Jokers attempted to revive Grierson. As with anything of such horrific consequences. who eventually turfed them out. with Hancock retiring under a considerable cloud after it was revealed he may have ‘verballed’ suspects in at least one case. After the stunned bikies realised Grierson had been shot. But Hancock once played on a much bigger stage. A former detective superintendent in charge of the WA Criminal Investigation Bureau. 65 kilometres north-west of Kalgoorlie. It was later alleged in court that the publican became angry when one of the men. BOMBs and BasTardry 151 . The club left the pub and headed to their camp about five kilometres north-east of town. respected by his colleagues for his no-nonsense approach and hated by crims who crossed him. killing two men.by a bomb. A later court case heard that three Jokers got into a dispute with the hotel publican. there was a significant trail of serious incidents that culminated in the detonation. chaos reigned. He was not only a major landholder in and around town. This story begins in the WA mining town of Ora Banda. naturally enough. The others back at the camp had no luck in finding the gunman. others ran for cover while trying to figure out where the shot had come from. The most infamous bomb involving an Australian outlaw bikie club exploded on a quiet street in suburban Perth in 2001. By early evening the club members were sitting around a campfire drinking. the Bandidos clubhouse in Geelong. Grierson died in the arms of his club brothers while being rushed to hospital. But all was not as it seemed. he was the publican who had turfed the club out earlier in the day. William ‘Billy’ Grierson. Grierson suddenly lurched forward and a split second later the sound of a gunshot was heard. the Gypsy Jokers clubhouse in Newcastle and the Hell’s Angels clubhouse in Sydney have all been damaged or destroyed by bombs in recent years. found their way to the local pub. Don Hancock was your typical tough cop. The story now takes a colourful twist. One of Ora Banda’s most powerful men was a chap by the name of Don Hancock. made obscene comments in front of the publican’s daughter. On 1 October 2000 the Gypsy Jokers lobbed into town and.

Reid agreed 152 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The brothers’ conviction in one of the state’s highest-profile court cases was later quashed by the West Australian Supreme Court after Lewandowski came clean. Shortly before Hancock’s retirement his family purchased land in and around Ora Banda. The explosion was heard up to 8 kilometres away. The court heard Hancock had been drinking on the day of the shooting with police mates. including Detective Senior Sergeant Kim Gage. a bomb blew their car apart. On 1 September 2001 Don Hancock and his friend. racing identity Lawrence ‘Lew’ Lewis. a view strongly supported by many Ora Banda locals. The Gypsy Jokers were universally blamed. The Jokers were convinced Hancock had killed him. Hancock was also accused of bashing Peter Mickelberg. Nearly a year passed with no arrests over Grierson’s murder. yet no one has been charged over the bombing.The West Australian Court of Appeal found there was sufficient risk that evidence from a confession by the Mickelberg brothers—who were stitched up for swindling $650 000 worth of gold bullion from the Perth Mint in 1982—may have been fabricated by Hancock and another detective. with the finger pointed immediately at the Gypsy Jokers. It was claimed Gage did not search Hancock’s home in the subsequent investigation.) Hancock was the obvious suspect in Grierson’s shooting. killing both men. As they turned into Hancock’s driveway. Tony Lewandowski. Lewandowski later committed suicide out of shame over what had happened. two Gypsy Jokers—Sydney ‘Snot’ Reid and Graeme ‘Slim’ Slater—were charged with the murders. his Ora Banda hotel and home were bombed a few weeks later. The bombing rocked Western Australia. About six months later. A high-powered rifle registered to Hancock was found to be identical to the type of rifle that killed Grierson. the officer in charge at Kalgoorlie. were heading home after a day at a Perth racetrack. But the subsequent police investigation was shabby. Although Hancock denied involvement in the killing. at best. (The word was that there was a large gold deposit under the family’s land. Bar staff testified in a later court case that Hancock had left the hotel to fetch his rifle after the altercation with Grierson.

as was the case in South Australia in 2004. about 60 police shadowed 30 club members as they rode from Perth to Kalgoorlie on the third anniversary of Grierson’s death. Penhall and Woodward were allegedly mouthing off and making fun of some of the Gypsy Jokers. Slater was found not guilty by a jury after an eight-week trial. is ‘bikie code’ for the Hell’s Angels. On 26 April 2006 the WA Coroner. in spite of Reid’s allegations that he and Slater planted the bomb at the races.’ The episode put incredible heat onto the club. entered a PIN and said: ‘Rest in peace. The Gypsy Jokers were on a run to the tiny hamlet of Wallaroo. Penhall later denied in court that he had any association with the club. which. It’s rare for outsiders to be caught up in club violence. ‘[But] much of that evidence is circumstantial and in my view is not so overwhelming that the only available inference is that Mr Hancock was the shooter. The killings created a multitude of rumours and theories about who had killed Grierson. None of the allegations has ever been proven. on the Yorke Peninsula. Reid was a dead man walking in the eyes of the club.to give evidence against Slater in return for a lighter sentence. which was closely monitored after the bombings. and the bombings eventually led to tough new laws targeting bikies. Reid told the court that Slater rang a number on a mobile telephone. Jesse Ray Penhall and Eric Mark Woodward. For instance. for both were tough customers who didn’t mind a fight. Two local men.’ The defence painted Reid as an unreliable witness and alleged police had planted evidence (a pamphlet with directions for use of a Nokia telephone with the detonation number written across the back page). Hancock and Lewis. found that Grierson died of ‘unlawful homicide by a person unknown’. Billy. They soon got what they came for: BOMBs and BasTardry 153 .’ Mr Hope said. Other patrons later said they were deliberately provoking and taunting the Jokers. had gone to the Weeroona Hotel. Alastair Hope. ‘There is a significant body of evidence which suggests Mr Hancock may have been the shooter. But it does happen. where the Gypsy Jokers were drinking. It appears Penhall was wearing a jumper bearing the number 81. For dogging. The Internet was abuzz with allegations that another club was involved in Grierson’s death.

drawn-out trial Penhall was found not guilty on 11 February 2006. The corner of Flinders Lane and William Street is not the place to expect trouble. but she wasn’t home. where Penhall shot Gypsy Joker Stephen ‘Fly’ Hyden twice. The ambush bore the hallmarks of a payback to preserve club honour. just one 154 ThE BrOThErhOOds . firing at least 60 rounds. That honour is reserved for King Street. on 14 February 2008. He testified he was kicked and beaten by the Jokers. Police would allege that a few hours later Penhall was driven back to the hotel by Woodward. While not carried out by a bikie wearing colours. and about 15 Jokers chased Penhall and Woodward as they jumped in their car and took off. He said he was surrounded by Gypsy Jokers as soon as he sat down at the pub. All eyes were on the Jokers as the shooters. he went to his mum’s house for medical treatment. To date. The charges against Woodward were dropped due to a lack of evidence. Melbourne during morning peak hour is like thousands of cities across the world. it reinforced the public image of bikies as reckless renegades with no regard for their fellow citizens. they ambushed him. city workers rug up as they shuffle from trains and trams to their offices. four men in a Holden sedan—later found burnt out—sat outside Penhall’s place of work. trying to shut out the world with their iPods. neck and shoulders 15 times. This next case of bikie violence shocked a nation and brought a city to a standstill. oblivious to events surrounding them. 18 June 2007. Penhall and Woodward were arrested later that night and charged with murder. Woodward had a similar alibi. that he was in good spirits due to the impending birth of his child. Mid-winter.a fight broke out. Penhall was hit in the face. receiving a serious shoulder injury. wrists. no arrests have been made for the attempted murder of Penhall. After a long. In court Penhall testified he was in no mood for a fight on the night of the shooting. When Penhall arrived. so he went to his house and didn’t leave for the rest of the night. Hyden died shortly after. According to Penhall. he survived. So it was on Monday. Two years later. While seriously wounded.

m. Let’s rewind this story to March 2006. Hudson then panicked. kicking her and dragging her by the hair. when the Finks crashed a Hell’s Angels-organised kickboxing tournament searching for Christopher Wayne Hudson. assaulting Daly-Holt in the bar. a fight that became known as the ‘Ballroom Blitz’. It was reported that she suffered a broken nose and eye socket as well as chipped teeth. The Finks arrived at the tournament determined to make him pay. performed a lap-dance for another man drinking with Hudson. After drinking heavily for many hours. which came when a stripper. was jogging to work when events unfolded in front him. He had taken to his new club with gusto. but she managed to escape outside. He caught up with her as she sat on the steps of the bar. Hudson was allegedly shot in the chin during the fight. Hudson. Hudson was on a three-week bender of amphetamines and anabolic steroids when he hit King Street in the early hours of 18 June 2007. 30. BOMBs and BasTardry 155 . where hundreds of solicitors ply their trade. Autumn Daly-Holt. allegedly shooting a Comanchero in Kings Cross as part of a turf war. calling his on-off girlfriend Kaera Douglas. All he needed was a spark. Many people now wish the Finks had sorted him out for good that day. the heart of the city’s legal precinct. By this stage he was brandishing a handgun. an already paranoid and moody Hudson was fit to explode with rage. 25. Hudson flew into a rage. herself a pole dancer who worked the King Street clubs. the Finks wanted their tattoo back from Hudson. and they came armed to get it. Hudson again erupted. the home of Melbourne’s strip and sleaze clubs. grabbing Douglas and marching her up Flinders Lane to William Street. She arrived at about 7 a. Within seconds Keilar was dead. had recently defected from the Finks to the Hell’s Angels. a gun he later said he started carrying after the Finks attack the previous year. three others were seriously wounded and a city was terrified that a crazed killer was on the loose. An almighty blue broke out. William Street is pure business. but managed to get away with his tattoo intact. One of those solicitors.block away. Specifically. and eventually underwent facial reconstruction surgery. Brendan Keilar.

Douglas had a kidney removed. In football-mad Melbourne. the media went into hyper drive when it was revealed star AFL footballer Alan Didak. had spent a drunken evening with Hudson six days before the shooting. just completely gone. When Hudson handed himself in to a country police station three days after the shooting. 26. He pumped another shot each into Keilar and de Waard before calmly running from the scene. it became public that he was a Hell’s Angel. And if the story wasn’t sensational enough. Among the crowd were two men who made a life-or-death decision and ran to Douglas’s aid. de Waard and Douglas.20 a. despite desperate efforts to resuscitate him. both rushed at Hudson. It was 8.’ Douglas said in a statement to court during Hudson’s subsequent trial. but the gun’s magazine was empty. who played with Australia’s most famous football club. It was also 156 ThE BrOThErhOOds . insane.. Hudson grabbed her by the hair and dragged her away. that development ensured the story stayed on the front page for weeks. Douglas broke free of Hudson’s grip and made a dash for a taxi. sparking a massive manhunt. Soon after Hudson’s killing spree. He then wrapped his jacket around the gun and threw it into a building site. He still has a bullet in his pelvis. while de Waard was rushed to hospital with wounds to his chest and abdomen. Their drinking session included Hudson firing his handgun from a speeding car as they headed to the Hell’s Angels clubhouse in Campbellfield.m. Keilar died where he lay. Hudson managed to escape the scene. There was media speculation the club would hunt him down and deal with him before the police got the chance. Witnesses report he tried to shoot himself under the chin. putting enormous pressure on the club. Without a word. He was just completely out of his mind. and Dutch backpacker Paul de Waard. Brendan Keilar. Hudson drew his gun and shot Keilar. ‘I couldn’t believe what was happening.’ As they approached William Street.‘It was horrid. the media reported that he only did so because he had heard that two Hell’s Angels were on their way from Adelaide to murder him. a 43-year-old father of three. But as she struggled to open the taxi’s locked doors. it was psychotic. Collingwood. the street swelling with people.

No one is talking. I’m not really concerned. It may still happen. I have to admit I have run into a dead end in my enquiries with club members over this one. but that stands in stark contrast to the very public show of support the club provided Hudson at his subsequent court case. But an outsider would have to be very unlucky or very stupid to get into trouble with the clubs— like the two clowns who decided to taunt and abuse a reported 120 Coffin Cheaters and associates on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry as it sailed from Melbourne to Tasmania in October 2001. I know of cases where an outsider has gone for the trigger on the basis they presumed the bikie was going to attack them. actually picked a fight with the club. As many as six Hell’s Angels members were in court. had a history of violence and would no longer be an active part of the club. The Coffin Cheaters were cleared of provoking the men and were actually praised by police for exercising considerable restraint. alleged to be off their heads on drugs. The club paid for Hudson’s father to fly to Melbourne to visit him in prison. Sometimes trouble starts because the outsider is so terrified of the reputation of the bikies that they make the first move. I’m often asked about the threat to my own safety because of what I do. It’s believed the pair. The captain wisely decided to return to Melbourne to eject the pair before the club took the matter into their own hands. I have heard many theories. This revolved around the club believing they owed Hudson their support due to an unrelated series of events in previous years that involved corrupt police. The question is why the club would continue to support someone who was in serious trouble. a drug deal that went wrong. and a lengthy prison term for another Hell’s Angels member. I’ve always expected that at some point I’d get seriously thumped. including a strong rumour that I cannot repeat in this book for legal reasons. It’s the fear of unprovoked violence that frightens most people when they come into contact with bikies. gesturing to him in support as he was sentenced to life imprisonment. Perhaps something BOMBs and BasTardry 157 .reported that the club attempted to remove the Hell’s Angels death’s head tattoo from Hudson’s arm by oxyacetylene torch in the days after the shooting as punishment for bringing the club into disrepute.

Before I could explain about the other bloke giving us permission. We then sat down and had a beer.in this book will get me into trouble. We were pushed into a room by the vice-president. so why wouldn’t he be defensive? Thank God the sergeant-at-arms arrived just at that time. We’d heard the club was expanding and we were keen to find out what was happening to the smaller clubs being patched over. and how much was about a bloke seeing someone pinching his beer. At a bikie concert I stumbled across a truck on which sat a coffin full of ice and beer. I managed 158 ThE BrOThErhOOds . I was threatened by a club after the second edition of this book was published. when I inadvertently offended a bikie. one of them was into it. That was the question that really got us into trouble. We asked what happened to the clubs that didn’t join and how many people had decided to leave the clubs. ‘Hey Arthur. such as the time Rudi and I showed up at a clubhouse uninvited. I guess the most dangerous time for me is when people don’t know who I am when I start asking questions. I told him what had happened. Geez I was happy to see him. what’s the problem?’ he asked. and have had many warnings from the police. He was only doing his job. not a club thing. then disappeared. I suspect the same thing would happen at a footy club.) The times I have got into trouble it’s been with individual members. threatening me with all sorts of things. ‘Who the fuck are you?’ he yelled. almost casually. The aggressive bloke realised there’d been a misunderstanding and apologised. There was one incident where it got pretty scary. So I got up on the truck and started taking pictures. I’ve often wondered how much of that incident had to do with being a club member. (In fact. The guy standing next to the truck gave me the go ahead. What made matters worse was that he had four other bikies with him. and I asked if I could take a photo of it. Some club members arrived on the scene as I was taking a picture of my mate Rudi grabbing a beer out of the coffin—not a good look in anyone’s book. We really overstepped the boundaries by not knowing the chapter members well. and that I’d fucked up. It looked like we were pinching his beer. stood up against the wall and grilled.

As a psychologist. a central focus of my studies is why outlaw club membership is associated with higher levels of violence. The president arrived soon after. Simply being a ‘club’ or ‘club’ member seemed to increase the propensity for violence. Volunteer teenage boys from the same school were divided into three groups. An advertisement was placed in a local newspaper asking for paid volunteers to take part in a three-week psychology experiment. he knew some people who knew us. Aggression levels rose significantly among the members of the two groups. I’d have to say we deserved it. untreated. This group was given a clubhouse and encouraged to be competitive and to view the other boys as inferior. Why do the clubs feel they have to do it violently? A study conducted on violence and aggression way back in 1955 may give us a clue. Fortunately. But why must they use violence to defend their territory? We must each defend part of our world every day. compared with the untreated boys. The experimenters were shocked at what they found. Rudi was able to do some straight talking to get us out of the fix. The experiment aimed to analyse how authority relationships developed in two groups of people. but nothing permanent. One group was called the Blue Devils. Volunteers were randomly assigned to one of two groups—either as prisoners or guards. BOMBs and BasTardry 159 . We arrived uninvited and were asking some pretty sensitive questions. and managed to calm everyone down. Another classic study was of prisoner-guards. was also given a clubhouse.to score an elbow in the eye in the jostling. in psychological parlance. The experiment had to be terminated after two weeks because of the degree of cruelty being displayed by the guards and the apparent psychological trauma both guards and prisoners were experiencing. with a clear connection to territory and its defence. The second group. We know clubs are violent. The third set of boys was not assigned to a group and were left alone or. the Red Hornets. They had to pull the pin on the experiment when aggression levels rose to the point of violence. encouraged to view the other boys as inferior and had their competitive behaviour reinforced.

. Men. a Viking [Tavern] is always likely. can lead to bikie club war. and to enjoy a close relationship and bond with others. and a propensity for violence. Another reason why club members are more likely to be violent is the ‘risky-shift’ effect. The ugly side of loyalty seems to demand enemies against whom the loyal can be united. in conflict with one another. can be readily understood. these can be carried to excess. We’ve all seen the bravado of young men in a group yet know that on their own they wouldn’t say boo. Put simply. people in a group are much more likely to make extreme decisions than they would as individuals. and mateship can lead to cronyism. It’s exactly what Justice Roden was getting at in his address before sentencing those convicted of the Milperra massacre. But. a need to belong. . like most admirable qualities. so bikie club loyalty. When you have two groups like these. a message that strikes at the heart of outlaw bikie club violence. So too can a pride in physical strength and courage. And the ugly side of physical strength and courage is seen when violence is unleashed against these enemies. As patriotism can lead to jingoism. which rightly or wrongly typify the popular image of such clubs. who join groups and defend their lot against outsiders feel they increase their chances of survival. it seems. A fierce loyalty. are clearly indicated by the evidence in this case . in particular. 160 ThE BrOThErhOOds .These are just a few of the classic studies that illustrate what we now call the ‘in’ and ‘out’ group effects—the tendency for those who belong to a group to defend the ‘in’ group’s values or attributes against those not in a group.

Chapter eleven ThE WAr It began. After buying their grog. taking the back roads home to Perth to avoid trouble. factionalism. they headed to the local campground for a party. about 30 kilometres south of Perth. but some bikies forced the publican to open the bottle shop. Coffin Cheaters. all played out in a no-holds-barred 10-year war that outraged a state. with a single incident involving one man. and used that power accordingly. those clubs were entitled to their Outlaw Motorcycle Club (OMC) 1%er status. Of course. But four clubs decided to stay and face the law—the Club Deroes. Many bikies decided they didn’t want the police heat. From that day. so they left town immediately. revenge and violence. saw 38 killed or injured and rewrote the rules on police power and human rights. God’s Garbage and Gypsy Jokers. as it so often does. You can actually pinpoint the date and reason for this. the publican was on the phone to the police immediately. It was a moment that defined the club scene in Western Australia to this day. What followed was a cacophony of defection. something the clubs knew was inevitable. stopping at the small town of Murdoch. As it was a Sunday the hotels and bottle shops were closed. On 22 February 1972 all Perth’s clubs were returning from the infamous Outlaw Club Run to Albany. Western Australia was ruled by four bikie clubs for many years. The clubs .

The night before his trial. the member attempted to convince the club to let the matter pass. and still is. In the early ’90s Woodhouse was a prospect for the Club Deroes. It was a horrendous attack. He had been sponsored for entry into the club by a highly respected member. causing the club to 162 ThE BrOThErhOOds . This was. Devaney had had a serious motorcycle accident 10 years previously. No member will plead guilty to any charge or cooperate with police on any matter. Then Kevin ‘Mick’ Woodhouse arrived on the scene. Woodhouse and his mates tied up Devaney in front of his wife and children—who were then taken to another room—then beat him mercilessly with baseball bats. whoever sponsors a new member is accountable for his actions. who was sent to jail for five years. He was a tough customer who liked nothing more than meting out serious penalties for those who violated Club Deroes rules. He faced severe disciplinary action for changing his plea and breaking the bikie code of silence. where he lost a leg—so Woodhouse and the others broke his remaining leg in two places. he owed the club $10 000. Woodhouse changed his plea to guilty. colours and patches. did find some support within the club for his change of heart. Woodhouse was subsequently charged with assault. 10-year ring. who’d recently been kicked out of the club for lack of participation in club events.successfully and vigorously defended their turf for many years. As well. the Deroes paid $10 000 towards his legal costs. As he was deemed to be on club business at the time. In 1993 Woodhouse and three fellow club members fronted up to the home of Martin Devaney. The Deroes wanted club property returned—a tattoo. So rather than cop expulsion from the club for sponsoring a ‘fuck-up’. The four clubs didn’t necessarily like each other. Woodhouse. motorcycle. but there was a pragmatic relationship between each of them for more than 20 years. Rebels and Bandidos to muscle into Western Australia. kicking out the notorious Mongrel Mob street gang—sending them packing back to New Zealand—as well as repelling attempts by the Hell’s Angels. According to club rules. a strict rule violation of any outlaw 1% club. Two other members backed him.

The first attack came on 4 July 1998. Five days later. and now he had jumped ship and was a nominee for a rival club. during Edhouse’s trial for attempted murder over that shooting. These three were soon kicked out of the club. Woodhouse approached the Coffin Cheaters and requested to nom with them. In August 1999 his cafe was blown up. Woodhouse’s life was in danger the moment he set foot from prison. as Woodhouse would later describe them in court. The Club Deroes had no alternative but to at least attempt to kill him. Woodhouse was in the front room of his home when the street lights suddenly went out and a ‘car full of people’. had threatened their president.start to factionalise. you and your Spanish Inquisition will pay for this. He awoke to smoke and fire and bolted to safety with his de facto wife and her child.’ Upon his release from jail. making him untouchable for any club. On 28 July 1998 came an even more serious attack. Woodhouse and his family escaped without injury. And it only served to throw fuel on the fire of retribution. Woodhouse had just left home in his car when three Club Deroes pulled him over in Beechborough. a move prompting Woodhouse to phone Phillip Rowles (the Club Deroes version of a president) from prison to inform him: ‘When I get out. Woodhouse subsequently gave evidence against Brian Edhouse. a Club Deroe. even though Edhouse was a Club Deroe. It proved you didn’t have to turn against your own club to be considered a dog. ThE War 163 . He was shot in the face and arm with a shotgun. to not do so would make the club a joke and a sham in the eyes of rival clubs. appeared out of nowhere. It was not clear whether the bomb was planted by the Club Deroes—for obvious reasons—or the Coffin Cheaters—they had also kicked him out for testifying against Edhouse. when Woodhouse’s three cars were set alight outside his home. Again. he owed them money. A volley of gunfire ripped through the fence. He had broken nearly every rule in the bikie book. windows and front of the house. For reasons unknown the Cheaters accepted him. If the club didn’t consider him a dog before. he had fleas jumping off him now. Not only were the Club Deroes still smarting over him turning ‘dog’.

Woodhouse was in an extremely precarious position. with the Club Deroes tripling its member numbers. Butterly was killed in a shoot-out with police. in a strip club. but he can provide you with one hell of an argument about Shakespeare! In May 1999 Withnell was watching his latest girlfriend—simply named Paris—strut her stuff at a strip joint where she was performing 164 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Withnell is now not only the Coffin Cheaters’ unofficial spokesman. To the outside observer it was clear this frenzied growth meant the new members were not meeting ‘the usual standard’. with politicians and the public becoming increasingly agitated about the growing violence. The first club allowed in was the Rebels. The Club Deroes were dead against it. By now the police were putting serious heat on the clubs. which brokered its entry with the Coffin Cheaters. naturally enough. He was convicted over a pack rape in 1974 and a violent bank robbery in 1977. who later gained notoriety when he escaped with Peter Gibb from a Victorian prison in 1993. He’d managed to alienate two hardcore clubs. aided by a prison officer who had fallen for Gibb. Ed Withnell has spent 11 of his years on this earth behind bars in Western Australia. So at a time when tensions between the two clubs were sky high because of the Woodhouse situation. The Outlaws. It was simply a matter of timing and opportunity before he would be murdered by one of them. After 10 days on the run. Withnell’s life took a different turn. The Coffin Cheaters wanted to disband the four-club policy so other clubs could move into Perth to cop some of the grief. His accomplice in that bank robbery was Archie Butterly. Each club hastily embarked on a recruiting drive. earning a Bachelor of Arts and then a Masters Degree in Literature from Murdoch University. the Coffin Cheaters doubling in size and the Gypsy Jokers growing five-fold. The first attack on the Coffin Cheaters came. He used his jail time productively. they were now at serious conflict over issues of their very survival. All the Perth clubs responded immediately with a common survival tactic—safety in numbers. All this growth occurred in just six months. Bandidos and Rebels moved into Perth during this tumultuous period.

reportedly visited the homes of about 200 of Perth’s bikie club members and warned them to vary their daily routines to cut the chance of becoming a target. Operation No Tolerance was launched with a much broader mandate than simply containing the club violence. Operation No Tolerance linked with the Australian Federal Police’s Operation Panzer. His strong view was that ThE War 165 . For the Coffin Cheaters. One bloke who in my opinion fitted this category was Superintendent Fred Gere. The WA police appeared powerless to halt a bikie war spiralling out of control. However. Three weeks later the payback was delivered. he refused to go to hospital or cooperate with police. causing a minor flesh wound. but Operation Gallipoli did little to stem the growing war between the Club Deroes and Coffin Cheaters. or someone who seeks to take advantage of panic in the community. But not all coppers were in it to stop the violence and protect the community.m. Club Deroe Ian Gangell was beaten with baseball bats. As a result. another Coffin Cheater was attacked. He was what I would call a police moral entrepreneur. Whittiker refused to talk to the cops. In July 1997 the police had launched Operation Gallipoli to pull the bikies into line. with his ear sliced off with a razor. he was attacked by six men believed to be Club Deroes. he got wind of the attack and made a run for it just seconds before the 6 a. Despite Withnell not wearing club colours. the officer in charge of the operation. resulting in a broken skull. To me. two broken legs and two broken arms. hit. he did get shot in the leg. Well. Detective Loverock. Like Withnell. that was good commonsense police work. Gere was often quoted as an expert in outlaw motorcycle club gangs (to use the police vernacular). It was clear from the outset that Operation No Tolerance would take unusual steps to stop the violence.with The Living Dolls. He was severely beaten. But before they could retaliate. that was the idea. it was clearly payback time. which aimed to crack down on bikie clubs’ illegal activities nationally. Upholding the bikie code. For instance. Club Deroes leader Phillip Rowles and Ed Withnell were among those visited and warned by Loverock. Luckily for Darren Whittiker.

I thought the evidence clearly showed it was an ‘old school’ war over one idiot who violated rules and dragged two clubs into a fight over dominance and turf.30 a. On 13 October 1998 former Club Deroe Mark Doyle. He was fined $2850 and lost his license for six months—a small price to pay for a bloke who was minutes away from murdering a man in a quiet suburban street in broad daylight. It escalated with six more known serious assassination attempts. Suspecting an attempted robbery was about to go down. was hit with 20 rounds from a number of guns. breaking both his legs and causing other serious injuries. reckless driving.m. Piggott’s neighbour not only saw Fowler suspiciously lying on the front seat of his car. the war between the clubs continued to rage. another kicked out of the club for supporting Woodhouse. but also spied the ‘street sweeper’ (semi-automatic shotgun) in his hands.m. with police focusing on the drug angle of the clubs. the home of former Club Deroe Raymond Washer. with payback met with payback. Another attack was potentially more lethal. two constables arrived to discover Fowler and his gun. Coffin Cheater Phillip Fowler was dispatched to ambush Club Deroe Nathan Piggott as he returned home from nightshift at a local factory.the war between the Club Deroes and Coffin Cheaters was all about control over drug manufacture and distribution. At 6. Nine Coffin Cheaters went to the workplace of Club Deroe Brian Edhouse armed with baseball bats and severely beat him. Neither he nor anyone else was injured because Washer expected the attack and was heavily fortified and armed. At 6. On 23 September 1998. It was horrible stuff. So they did. because if you get caught you’ll cop a slap on the wrist with a wet tram ticket. was shot several 166 ThE BrOThErhOOds . driving a vehicle with false registration plates and failing to stop when ordered by police.50 a. It is widely believed the masked shooters were Club Deroes. the neighbour promptly rang the police. Fowler made a fruitless attempt to escape but collided with a parked car and was promptly taken into custody and subsequently convicted of possessing an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. The message to the clubs was clear—go for it boys. Meanwhile. who had been kicked out of the club over the Woodhouse incident.

He survived. who should raise their ugly head but Kevin ‘Mick’ Woodhouse. Chaberie died. he was also a devoted husband and father of three children. WA police were granted permission to wear a 99% badge to illustrate their clear opposition to the 1% clubs. was representing several Coffin Cheaters in high-profile ThE War 167 . By this stage the only thing protecting Woodhouse from the Coffin Cheaters and Club Deroes was his live-in girlfriend. A fortnight earlier the Ford Falcon used in the Doyle shooting had been purchased by a suspected Club Deroe in Kalgoorlie. Anti-bikie sentiment was running at fever pitch. It was a turning point in the war. His death would surely not go unanswered by the Coffin Cheaters. and the attempted murder of Kevin ‘Mick’ Woodhouse in Beechborough in July 1998. Charges against Mrs Woodhouse were later dropped and it is widely believed that Woodhouse cooperated with police to spare his mum the humiliation of a conviction. the man who caused the war. By late 1998. a lawyer who. but was left a paraplegic. while Anderson barely survived. at the time. Chaberie was not only a highly respected member of the club. Politicians rushed through legislation covering proceeds of crime and other measures that even senior police called draconian. That car was used again the day after the Doyle attack in a drive-by shooting of two Coffin Cheaters. Unprecedented raids on clubhouses and homes unearthed huge amounts of drugs and weapons among members of both the Coffin Cheaters and Club Deroes. Rosemary Woodhouse. faced the same charges. In early 2000 Andrew Wayne Edhouse. 600 kilometres east of Perth. Assistant Commissioner (Crime) Tim Anderson was provided with massive resources to deal with the situation. Amid all this. to the point that in 2000.times with a semi-automatic rifle as he entered a freeway on-ramp on his way to work. A jury found Edhouse not guilty of all charges. The car in which Mark ‘Shabs’ Chaberie and ‘Big Mick’ Anderson were travelling was sprayed with bullets. then aged 54. the younger brother of Brian Edhouse. was arrested and charged with the murder of Mark ‘Shabs’ Chaberie and the attempted murder of ‘Big Mick’ Anderson. He was arrested for possessing drugs and weapons in a raid on his mother’s house in early 1999.

The relationship between Woodhouse and the lawyer finally ended in May 2004. To everyone’s surprise. who killed him? Since Woodhouse’s death there have been no violent clashes between the Coffin Cheaters and Club Deroes. So. In 2003 Woodhouse’s restaurant was firebombed. to say the least. In December 2008 Montani was found not guilty of the murder of Woodhouse. Woodhouse was gunned down in front of an aquatic centre where he went for his daily exercise.court cases. Only two days after they called it quits. it was his housemate Montani who was charged with Woodhouse’s murder. He died under a hail of bullets from a high-powered hand gun. Woodhouse’s luck had finally run out. which he later shared with a companion not affiliated with the bikie clubs—Johnny Montani. 168 ThE BrOThErhOOds . She wielded significant power in club circles due to her legal abilities. with Woodhouse moving into his own home. This protection was tenuous. It later came to light that Woodhouse’s relationship with the lawyer had soured. It would appear the war ended when the cause of the war—Woodhouse—was finally dealt with.

An untamed or intractable animal. of forcing members to be law breakers to fit into the clubs. 4. However. Or is it? The issue has dogged the clubs since their earliest days. Before you brand me a fatarsed fence-sitter. Clubs are constantly accused of being criminal outfits. In nearly 30 years studying bikie clubs I’ve seen some bad things and met some bad people. But here’s the rider: many club members are criminals. A habitual criminal. let me get one thing straight. One under sentence of outlawry. I’ll tell you more about them in Chapter 16. 3. Macquarie Dictionary Outlaw motorcycle clubs and crime. One excluded from the benefits and protection of the law. Increasingly there are clubs that claim to be outlaw motorcycle clubs but are really criminal entities operating as bikie clubs in name only. 2. but of one thing I remain convinced: genuine bikie clubs are not criminal organisations. It’s a natural fit. there’s a strong view that crime among the clubs . Notice my reference to genuine. Is their bad rap in the media and by police justified? My answer? Yes and no. When these bad apples get up to no good the clubs are tarred with the same brush.Chapter twelve ThE ouTLAWs Outlaw n. 1. Most club members I’ve interviewed about crime are keen to change the topic.

has been on the rise since the arrival of the big US clubs in Australia and the spreading federation of chapters under their umbrellas.
To tell you the truth, Arthur, I really hate it. There’s this element that has moved into the scene that has moved the clubs right away from motorcycling and brotherhood to an emphasis on crime. I don’t mean crime in the form of organised crime but crime as just gangsters. Crime as making money from their associations with the club rather than ridin’ free in the wind . . . I really hate these guys and what they’ve done to the lifestyle I love so much. Lone rider [In the club] there are those that have money, and these are generally the crims. Then there are those that have their knees and arses hanging out of their pants. This is the basis of the factionalism in the bigger clubs. And the crims generally try to buy their way by giving money to the real riders. Former Comanchero

You can point back to the alleged rape at Monterey that I was witness to all those years ago as the start of the outlaw element of the 1% clubs. Before that, they were merely considered renegades who got up to a bit of trouble. After Monterey they became a threat to society. When the incident hit the headlines in the United States the police really started to pay attention to the motorcycle clubs. They found a new public enemy number one, as us Yanks like to say. As a consequence, Attorney-General Robert Lynch commissioned a report on the outlaw motorcycle clubs. The report was released in 1965, the year after Monterey. It described the outlaw motorcycle clubs as a major threat to law and order. Governments readily accepted the report’s recommendation that additional resources be allocated to police to rein in the outlaw motorcycle clubs. The pressure had an immediate impact. Membership dropped sharply as members were either thrown into prison or simply dropped out of the clubs to avoid constant police harassment.
170 ThE BrOThErhOOds

But the tactic backfired on the police, with the clubs swinging sharply towards crime and violence. The members least likely to stay in the clubs were those who were most law abiding, whereas the bad arses, formerly only a small percentage of the clubs, were now in the majority, setting the path and policies of the clubs. Throwing members into prison also failed to stem the growth of clubs, with a flood of members recruited in jail in the late 1960s. These recruits were attracted to the new, more extreme, outlaw image. One club to undergo a major change was the Hell’s Angels. Following the Monterey run, the club came under intense pressure, forcing the closure of the founding San Bernardino chapter. The San Francisco chapter was down to just 11 members when the Lynch Report came out in 1965. Suddenly, the club started to grow. New chapters were formed, and the Oakland chapter, led by Sonny Barger, experienced a membership boom. It was clear the composition of the club membership was changing. With the police heat on, only those most committed to the outlaw life were joining the Hell’s Angels and the other 1% clubs. In Australia, it was another watershed event that put the focus on bikie clubs and criminality—the 1984 Milperra massacre. Until then, the clubs were basically regarded as counterculture groups who got into trouble now and then. Milperra made them criminals. Is crime a major factor for those joining clubs in the twenty-first century? Unlike other reasons for joining, which members are generally prepared to discuss, this is a somewhat murky issue. There’s no doubt that crime is an element of clubs, and it’s certainly no disadvantage for a member to be a criminal. In some ways it’s a distinct advantage because the criminals of the club have access to resources and money, allowing them to give the sort of commitment often required by the hardcore clubs. The fundamental question is whether outlaw motorcycle clubs are formed with the aim of committing crime, or whether only individual members commit crime. Consider this. A parliamentary review of the Australian Crimes Commission’s Act in 2008–09 discovered that gang crimes accounted for just 0.6 of 1 per cent of total crime. As this figure included ethnic
ThE OuTLaWs 171

and street gangs, the actual amount of crime attributable to outlaw motorcycle clubs would be infinitesimally small. Police say they have no doubts a few outlaw motorcycle clubs are criminal organisations whose reason for being is to commit criminal acts. So it would follow that the primary reason for joining a club would be to adopt a criminal lifestyle. After all, as the saying goes, ‘birds of a feather flock together’. Police forces and crime authorities have had little luck using this argument to prosecute motorcycle clubs. An American study in 1995 analysed the crimes for which outlaw club members were imprisoned over the previous 20 years. While there were fairly high rates of incarceration for territory-related crimes such as violence, the number of convictions for ‘organised’ crimes, such as manufacturing and distributing drugs and extortion, was low. It’s also interesting to note that the Hell’s Angels was the only bikie club in NATO’s late-1990s listing of the top 100 organised-crime bodies. In Australia Operation Panzer—the mid-1990s investigation by the National Crime Authority into the activities of outlaw motorcycle clubs—found the clubs were not a serious organised-crime threat to Australia. I don’t believe outlaw motorcycle clubs are formed with the express purpose of committing crime. Being a member of an outlaw motorcycle club is about a commitment to a lifestyle, of being the biggest and toughest. Crime might follow, but the primary purpose is dominance over other clubs and the company of people who hold fundamental warrior values. When it comes down to it, it’d be difficult for a club to be a criminal front. For a start, assuming there are 15–25 chapter members with, perhaps, just as many nominees and associates—that’s a hell of a lot of mouths to keep shut. It’d take extraordinary discipline on everyone’s part to run a criminal operation such as drug manufacture and distribution. They’re just not sophisticated enough to do it. Non-criminal members just wouldn’t put up with crime. I know many of these blokes, and if they didn’t like what was going on they wouldn’t meekly go along with it. They’d either put the criminals back in their box or tell the club to get fucked and leave.
172 ThE BrOThErhOOds

Also, if you’re going to commit serious crime you don’t brand yourself outlaws, wear the most provocative clothes you can muster, and break every society norm (and most road rules) you can. It makes no sense. If you want to commit crime you put on a three-piece suit, not a set of outlaw motorcycle club colours. Take drugs, for example. The clubs are most commonly accused of manufacturing and distributing hard drugs. Yet to do this means keeping a very low profile and being almost invisible, something the clubs are not exactly known for. Individual members or groups of members have done it, but not an entire club, as far as I know. Most of those members have been busted pretty quickly because the police always have an eye on what the club members are up to. Other aspects of bikie club life make it hard to stack up a case that they’re involved in organised crime. For instance, outlaw clubs are voluntary organisations. People are free to join, provided they pass the initiation process, and they’re free to leave, with or without the wishes of the club. Criminal organisations don’t usually offer that freedom of choice. Once you’ve committed a crime it’s not so easy to walk away. The clubs are also accused of guarding their territories, or turf, so ferociously that it must mean they are protecting an exclusive drug distribution area. There’s not much evidence of that. Club members who do get involved in the drug trade are usually manufacturing the stuff, not selling it on the street. They neither know, nor care, where it goes, so territory is not an issue. For me, the ultimate test as to whether a club is dealing in heavy crime, such as manufacturing and dealing drugs, is to look at the lifestyles of the club leaders. I’ve visited the homes of prominent Hell’s Angels, Coffin Cheaters and other club leaders many times. I can say with utmost certainty that I haven’t come across any opulent lifestyles. Invariably, the leaders live in working-class suburbs in relatively humble abodes, albeit with fairly sophisticated security systems, by Australian standards. One senior leader of the Hell’s Angels Nomads chapter in Melbourne still had an outside toilet in 1995. I’ve no doubt the homes I’ve visited were the legitimate dwellings of club leaders. I’d sometimes drop in on a club leader on no, or
ThE OuTLaWs 173

little, notice and find him there. I have never got the impression that the homes were any sort of front to convey the image of workingclass lifestyle when, in reality, the club leaders were living in more affluent suburbs. Of course, there is the occasional exception. Alex Vella, the Rebels president, defies the image of the down-at-heel club leader, being a successful businessman in his own right. He’s amassed a significant fortune initially through his career as a professional boxer and subsequently through investments over many years. In 1995 court documents in a proceeds of crime case launched against Vella revealed he owned a $700 000 office block, a home worth $500 000, industrial land valued at $380 000 and a villa in Malta. There were also two Rolls-Royce cars, a couple of Chevrolet Corvettes and 41 HarleyDavidsons. He argued that he didn’t make his dough through the club but through his investments and motorcycle sales. Occasionally I come across a club member who seems to lead a pretty good life, with the brand-new bike and the ability to flash around a bit of cash. Most of the clubs have an ‘ask no questions, tell no lies’ policy. The US Hell’s Angels had to rethink that after Anthony Tait, its most famous snitch, was able to fly about the country to any number of meetings, and have his own bike stationed in California, without any questions asked by the club. The club presumed he was making money from crime so didn’t question him on it, when it turned out he was actually being funded by the FBI in return for supplying information. The ‘ask no questions’ attitude is also found in Australian chapters.
As I think about it, it’s very rare for a member to ask another what work they do. Unless the brother is involved in the motorcycle trade or a trade which contributes to the customising of bikes, the matter just doesn’t seem to come up. Coffin Cheater

One of my overseas colleagues believes that if membership of a club leads to an increased ability to carry out crime, the club should stand
174 ThE BrOThErhOOds

a situation a few religious figures have taken advantage of. complete with constitutions and tattoos. It affords them luxuries there. That’s why there are prison gangs. Ironically.condemned as a criminal organisation. Turf disputes between clubs are invariably put ‘on hold’ in prison. many of them have been exposed and found guilty of paedophilia. but these are different from the ultra-violent gangs of the United States. Following the Milperra massacre. we don’t brand churches as paedophile organisations. Police have access to drugs and criminal networks. When club leaders are imprisoned it’s usually a big deal in the media. for instance. virtually all outlaw motorcycle clubs have members in prisons. imprisonment can often mean a step up the club ladder if the club leader is also ThE OuTLaWs 175 . based entirely in prison. so they enjoy some notoriety and fame when they enter prison. Through their work they’re constantly in contact with young and vulnerable people. that prey on other prisoners. Take the police and the clergy. Yet. With many club members involved in crime. Yet. the fastest-growing outlaw motorcycle clubs in Australia were the Bandidos and Comancheros. There are some Aboriginal gangs. In Australia there are relatively few prison gangs. being a club member in prison is actually not as dangerous as it can be on the outside. with nearly every police force having members charged and convicted of selling and distributing drugs from time to time. such as a strong network of assistance and protection. such as the predatory toe-cutter gangs. Outlaw motorcycle clubs attract members in prison for a number of reasons. I don’t agree. Being a member of these organisations provides increased access to targets of crime or enhances the abilities to cover up crime. they flourish. It’s the same with the clergy. The prison environment virtually requires inmates to join a gang purely to survive. we don’t say the police force is a drug-dealing organisation. For up-and-coming club members on the outside. such as the Texas Mafia in the United States. so opposition club members usually get along pretty well. Luckily. Others see this and are naturally attracted to the club. The criminal element of clubs has been bolstered in recent years by a strong recruiting drive in prisons. an environment in which they not only survive.

They also cause little trouble in the wider prison community. In addition to these special segregation units there are prison farms in the United States for club members who became police informants. Visiting these special prisons is very difficult. Bikies are generally well behaved in prison. In most cases. Other prisoners are usually intimidated by the reputation of the bikies so they’re less likely to provoke the clubs. The closest we could compare it to in Australia would be the nowdefunct Katingal Prison in Sydney and the notorious Jika Jika section of Pentridge Prison in Melbourne. A 1999 review of clubs in Californian prisons illustrates the point: The motorcycle gangs really pose no real problem in the state prison system. hardcore gang and club members are locked into special segregation units—sometimes a separate prison—where they’re allowed no contact with other prisoners. The inmate is shown the photograph and asked if they wish to see the visitor. Known to be organised and industrious on the outside. his life is definitely at risk. It’s another reason why there are few turf wars in prison. to hinder recruitment. a visitor will be photographed for identification. Only then will permission be granted. Remember. They get an opportunity to rub shoulders with the leader that they wouldn’t get on the outside. Therefore. Nevertheless. The authorities take a dim view of such matters. even though most members are inside for violence against other clubs. the United States has continued to follow a policy of escalating punishment for its offenders. they’ll usually behave themselves in prison so they can get out as soon as possible. In some US prisons. If a club member violates the fundamental rule of loyalty to the club. The last thing they want is their prisons popping out more Hell’s Angels or Bandidos. Both these prisons within prisons were eventually closed after legal battles ruled the institutions were too cruel.inside. they command very little attention from other gangs and authorities. members join bikie clubs for the biker lifestyle—you can’t do much motorcycle riding inside the can. 176 ThE BrOThErhOOds .

The motorcycle gang members tend to distance themselves from the other white inmate gangs and mostly do their own time. ThE OuTLaWs 177 . particularly when there are plenty of cases where members acting as a group have broken the law. Usually club crime involves violence. the United States and all other Western countries. It’s something the clubs are not happy with. such as the clash between the Hell’s Angels and Comancheros in Sydney in 2009. This conclusion stands in stark contrast to the claims of Quebec authorities that outlaw motorcycle club members must be kept separated in order to prevent large-scale rioting and mayhem. as was the case with the Gypsy Jokers’ clash with police in early 2001. although in Australia. by sending Comancheros and Bandidos members to separate prisons to prevent any possible violence following the Milperra massacre. or fighting back against police pressure. with clubs in conflict with each other. as happened in 1998 when a turf war between the Hell’s Angels and Rock Machine spilt over into prison. The Canadian experience stands in contrast to the experiences in Australia. where there seem to be few problems with outlaw motorcycle club members in prison. New South Wales authorities were keen to see their prisons weren’t the first. This is believed to be the only time this has happened. Increasingly the clubs are cited as major drug manufacturers. South Africa. as the next chapter will show. New Zealand. Many may find my notion that clubs are not criminal organisations a difficult pill to swallow. Their years of methamphetamine abuse and spurts of unprovoked acts of violence tend to keep others at bay.

within the clubs. the outlaw motorcycle clubs face the very same scourge. tell no lies’ thing.Chapter thirteen on ThE nosE: CLuBs And druGs Drugs. When it became illegal one would hope they tried to get out of production. However. Enough club members get called up before the courts on drug charges to prove that many are involved in the manufacturing and trade of drugs. particularly LSD when it was still legal in the 1960s. There’s certainly a lot of speed and plenty of dope smoking. Most outlaw clubs have sanctions in their by-laws or constitutions . In many cases. The early bike clubs made a lot of money through drugs. club members have been. where the issue of drugs remains pretty much under the table. And despite their best attempts to escape from the confines of mainstream society. it’s treated as an ‘ask no questions. but it’s not a club-organised thing. There’s ample evidence that there is a fair amount of drug use by members. They are truly the scourge of society. Outlaw motorcycle clubs have long been accused of being major drug manufacturers and distributors. The only thing the clubs strongly oppose is the use of injected drugs. But habits do die hard! I find the situation with drugs is similar to crime—the members do it.

like any of the rules. Satan’s Slaves. They’re just fucking bad news. Any member found using heroin will be bashed and thrown out of the club. They are full members of the club with a fair bit of experience who move from On ThE nOsE: CLuBs and druGs 179 . Coffin Cheaters. Leaders of other clubs have told me they get pissed off when outsiders approach them looking for drugs. They’re not with the program. Coffin Cheater Fuckin’ hop heads. and that they are not a big part of the club anymore. Anyone using a needle for any reason other than having a doctor use it on you will be considered a hype. You can’t trust ’em. Those bastards are trouble for the club. You get in a situation where you are on a run and a wired [high on methamphetamines] brother goes off his head and starts kicking citizens. Automatic kick-out from club. are enforced vigorously. Rebel One Hell’s Angels leader told me how much he hates drugs. No use of heroin in any form. These include the Hell’s Angels. The large clubs also have nomad members who don’t belong to any specific chapter yet pay their dues at various chapters.against the injection of drugs. Comancheros and Gypsy Jokers. Their priorities are on things other than the club. Bandidos by-law These rules. man. Hell’s Angels by-law No heroin is allowed in the club. No way. Rebels. Bandidos. For example: No hypes. Drug users aren’t regarded highly in the clubs. presuming that a bikie club would have drugs to sell. Major clubs usually have a good international or national sergeantat-arms to ensure rules are enforced in the different chapters of the club.

These blokes would be the ones to crack down on any rampant drug use. Yet by the late 1980s it had become the number one drug on the police hit list. One such case involving speed in the early to mid-1980s stands as a testament to the turmoil drug manufacturing creates for clubs. P2P could not be manufactured in Australia. The first thing they had to do was get the ingredients. I find it too intense. Roger Wallace Biddlestone. but they’re just too old for that sort of shit now. Many bikies are beyond using hard drugs anyway. offering advice to local members and nominees. Speed is a powerful drug that stimulates the central nervous system. Hence its popular nickname. The Hell’s Angels Melbourne chapter was ripped apart and nearly destroyed by it. Upon his return. Clubs have faced extreme internal and external pressure because of it. Whether he went with the aim of learning how to manufacture speed. but it could 180 ThE BrOThErhOOds . a group within the club—Hill. Even the dope is starting to knock them around. Raymond Hamment. the main one being phenyl-2-propanone or P2P. Satan’s Cavalry associate However. It started with a visit to the Oakland (United States) chapter of the Hell’s Angels by a member of the Melbourne chapter. in early 1980. I used to really like to smoke heads. There was no speed of any note in Australia in the 1970s. drug use is a different issue from drug manufacturing. or merely came across it while there is unclear. Many club members have been involved in manufacturing hard drugs. John Paul Madden and Terrence Alexander Faulkner—set about making speed. They may have been into the LSD scene in the 1960s and ’70s. Peter John Hill. Part of the reason for this growth lay with members of the Melbourne Hell’s Angels. but he allegedly arrived back in Australia with the basic knowledge and intention of manufacturing the drug.chapter to chapter and generally keep an eye on matters. speeding up messages to and from the brain. Due to a bureaucratic quirk at the time. I prefer a bit of leaf if I’m having a smoke these days. Nowadays.

infrared lamps. They merely trotted off to the prison to ask him about the finer points of the speed-making process. They were to be taken to meet another Oakland Hell’s Angel. You’d imagine that was a hushed conversation. While they awaited its delivery the group got to work setting up a speed factory. a letter arrived from Walton. at that stage the manufacturing of speed produced a pungent smell. Sergei Walton. so it’s really only possible to do it on a remote property. who was to provide them with specific details of the process. Hill and Hamment headed back to the United States to find out more about the drug-manufacturing process. A member of the Oakland Hell’s Angels. Some time after that. piece by piece so as not to arouse suspicion. He gave the pair as much detail as he could verbally. incredibly. On ThE nOsE: CLuBs and druGs 181 . promising to follow it up with written instructions. The group faced the challenge of establishing a legitimate reason to get their hands on the P2P.be imported—as long as you had a legitimate reason to do so. glass heating equipment. in the Dandenong Ranges on the eastern edge of Melbourne. far from suspicious neighbours. Jim Jim Brandes. It had long been illegal to import it into the United States. evidently met them in San Francisco. While producing speed requires only a basic understanding of chemistry there are some risky steps involved. he provided a reason for bringing the chemical into the country—to manufacture the pharmaceutical pseudoephedrine. they took the equipment to the house—gas. who was able to identify and buy 200 litres of P2P from France for $16 000. But by the time they got there Walton was in the slammer for manufacturing and distributing methamphetamines. That was of little concern to the two Australians. It stinks unbelievably. While this was going on. It’s alleged Faulkner had a relative who was an importer. More importantly. Slowly. It makes the mind boggle as to how Walton could possibly supply them with such information from prison. followed a few weeks later by Hamment. etc. gas masks. A house was rented at Belgrave. which was basically a laboratory to conduct the chemical process. Unlike the refined process of today. with detailed instructions on how to manufacture speed. Hill flew back to Melbourne.

the property was rented by a woman who told the owner she planned to live there with her children. It wasn’t the house that was of interest. you can see why they were so keen to get into it. They were forced to move from semi-suburban Belgrave to a property called Greenslopes. The manufacture of speed was relatively new in Australia so it wouldn’t have aroused the suspicion it may do today. but a bungalow and garage obscured from the road. and two air-conditioners installed. The initial trials revealed how nasty the chemical process was. They gradually perfected the process and established a network. the wife of Roger. 182 ThE BrOThErhOOds . they could make about 240 kilograms of diluted speed. Incredibly. The early experimental batches. Its windows were covered with black plastic. six weeks after the club members took over the lease the property owner sprang a surprise visit to check how things were going. with the P2P they had. but as the rental cheques were arriving on time he didn’t worry about it too much. at Wattle Glen. It’s not clear whether he looked in the bungalow. the door concealed by fibro-cement. They managed to get their hands on a small amount of P2P locally and began to experiment. They were looking at potential earnings of about $5 million before expenses. Not long after Christmas 1980 the eagerly awaited P2P arrived from France. in late 1980. but it was pretty good quality. By the end of 1981 they were pretty good at putting the drug together. The bungalow was to be the location of the factory. There wasn’t much. which had been diluted by a third with sugar. That’s 1980 dollars. In late 1980 the first batch of speed was produced. He thought it a little weird. It was later revealed the woman was Rosemary Biddlestone. getting up to 95 per cent pure amphetamines. sold for $22 000 a kilogram. so he had a quick look through the windows. Evidently no one was about. Today’s figure could be 10 times higher. Doing the sums. It appeared the only piece of furniture in the house was a refrigerator.The group still didn’t have their shipment of P2P but were keen to get the manufacture underway. Set in heavy bush. The group wasted no time swinging into full production. Theoretically.

In return for providing the expertise to make speed. with estimates ranging from 18 kilograms to 63 kilograms.The production and distribution process really hit its straps from that point. even photographing the men in 1980 as they were buying equipment for the lab. The surveillance lasted five weeks until the lab was raided on 10 March 1982. the Greenslopes drugs were soon being widely distributed throughout Australia. They also found a device to re-seal cans. The value by the time it was cut down and sold on the streets would have been much higher. recording every movement. That was the return from selling to dealers. The amount of drugs produced in the factory in 1981 is unclear. with speed enabling the bikers to party for hours on end. a machine gun and a couple of pistols. (Even though they were breaking in they carried a warrant so any evidence gathered could be tendered in a trial. There’s evidence the drugs reached New South Wales and Adelaide. Little did the bikies know that photographers were sitting only 80 metres from the laboratory. The higher range would have netted the five Hell’s Angels about $1. the group organised two further shipments of P2P. They uncovered $18 000 cash. However. gelignite. in February 1982 police were able to enter the property and place listening devices in the house and bungalow. with the others arrested soon after. However. As importation of P2P into the United On ThE nOsE: CLuBs and druGs 183 . But any attempt to move on the gang was thwarted by the gang’s own anti-surveillance methods. after an earlier raid was aborted at the last minute.) The property was then placed under 24-hour surveillance. The police arrested three men in the laboratory. At first the market was mainly restricted to the local biker community. Buoyed by the success of the enterprise. three kilograms of amphetamines. They were slightly puzzled by this until they realised what was going on. the group was allegedly sending P2P to the Oakland Hell’s Angels. including sound-activated tape recorders to detect any intruders in the lab.8 million. It was later revealed the police were onto the gang as they were setting up the Greenslopes operation.

The final trial. Biddlestone. There were three trials and one aborted in its infancy. Hill and Biddlestone were convinced a fellow Hell’s Angel had tipped off the police. Madden was the sergeantat-arms and Biddlestone was treasurer prior to the drug blow-up.States was banned the group was allegedly emptying pineapple juice cans and filling them with P2P. The judge of the case. The cost of the trial is unknown but it’s alleged some of the funds for the defence of the men were raised through advertisements in biker magazines calling for money. Hill. The men were soon out on bail and back producing drugs while they awaited trial. the other was vehemently opposed to it. Disorganised Crime. Discontent over the drugs had been festering within the Melbourne chapter since Hill first visited the United States. The split was not easily fixed. then re-sealing the cans. The club split into two clear factions: one side saw it as an easy way to make money. Lie detectors were allegedly used to finger the mole. The pair believed they knew who’d squealed. The first lasted 75 sitting days and ended in a hung jury. What appeared to be a tight case soon turned into one of the longest-running sagas seen in Australia’s criminal courts. mentioned that a machine gun was found at Greenslopes. The legal battle swallowed 15 000 pages of transcript and included about 600 exhibits. as there were high-ranking members and office bearers in both camps. ruled that a jury member who saw the book could have their verdict influenced. And they wanted answers. Hamment and Madden were back on the streets the day after their arrest on bail of $20 000 each. There was a strong feeling in the club that the drug manufacturing was drawing too much police attention. which made the split even more difficult. The second trial was aborted after a book. Another trial had to be aborted almost as soon as it started. in which Hill agreed to give evidence for the Crown. Charges relating to the machine gun had not been presented to the jury during the trial. Mr Justice Hempel. They were kind of the ‘old guard’ within the club. It was also believed money came from overseas Hell’s Angels chapters. saw all the men convicted—five years after the property had been raided. so they put a 184 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The dispute within the club hit a low point after the police bust.

At about this time. The move triggered a violent turf war. When Brandes arrived at Melbourne airport there were some irregularities with his visa. Armstrong was also the officer who had broken into the lab to place the listening devices that cracked the case. he stood on a pressure pad that activated a bomb. Biddlestone’s house. was later riddled with bullets. Brandes wasn’t the brightest spark. It was no surprise he soon quit the club. who stood 190 centimetres tall. in late 1982. who led the Omega 2 taskforce that had busted the Greenslopes operation. Jim Jim Brandes flew into Australia from the United States allegedly to murder Detective Sergeant Bob Armstrong. was not only the sergeant-at-arms of On ThE nOsE: CLuBs and druGs 185 . Zurbe would check his car for explosives each morning. He was put on the next plane home.contract out on his life. Madden. A member found to have told the victim that the contract was on him was savagely bashed with a hammer. It was the death of Madden that really fractured the club. a pair of thumb cuffs and details of Armstrong’s activities. In it they found press clippings on the local Hell’s Angels drug case. leaving him with serious head wounds. The dispute ended when two members of the Drifters were shot in the kneecaps and their clubhouse was burned down. taking the club’s focus away from the split between the pro. It was vicious stuff. Zurbe headed a similar taskforce to Armstrong’s. Brandes was acquitted of the attempted murder charge but that meant little to Australian immigration. a diversion hit the club. Immigration officials decided to look through his luggage. manuals on explosives and phone tapping. It escalated dramatically when a Drifter was dragged from his motorcycle and his colours taken by the Hell’s Angels. leaving him crippled. investigating the Hell’s Angels in San Francisco. as the press clippings included details of a criminal trial in California in which he faced a charge of attempting to murder San Francisco policeman Bill Zurbe. One morning on stepping back to look under the car.and antidrug factions. which was being used as the Hell’s Angels clubhouse at the time. A cautious man. The drug faction also directed its fury at the police who busted the factory. A club called the Drifters arrived in Melbourne and attempted to muscle in on the Hell’s Angels’ territory.

Two weeks later a house was raided in Ballarat. as they had lost the circuit-breaker in the dispute. it seems. he was also the enforcer for the drug faction of the club. Madden stopped so abruptly the driver of the truck had no chance to stop or swerve and avoid him. In one incident police believe a machine-gun massacre at the Hell’s Angels headquarters was averted only after those with the guns realised there were friends in the building who could be caught in the crossfire. In 1985 two drug-squad detectives.’ There were about 40 violent incidents involving the club in the following two years.the chapter. checked into another motel and called in surveillance teams. They immediately high-tailed it. The lab was smaller than Greenslopes and capable of producing only a kilogram of speed at a time. by the police. In early 1985 Madden was on a run with the club at Kinglake. According to one policeman: ‘They turned on each other once his stabilising influence was gone. At the house they found Hill. Witnesses say he had stopped suddenly in the middle of the road after his chain came loose. Police branded him ‘the mad professor’. It proved to be a huge blow not just for Hill and Biddlestone. Colin Fleet. but for the entire club. It was alleged that while this was going on. Hill and Biddlestone continued to manufacture speed. he was instrumental in maintaining order between the two sides and ensuring the rest of the Hell’s Angels were not plotting against those involved in the drug operation. The ‘crash truck’ that followed the ride to collect anyone who broke down was right behind him. as their watchdog had gone. Steve Hardy—who was a member of the Adelaide chapter of the Hell’s Angels—and an operating amphetamine lab. One of his major contributions was to develop a technique that 186 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Madden’s skull was crushed by the impact and he died shortly afterwards in hospital. were about to check into their motel when they noticed two familiar names on the guest register—Hill and Biddlestone. who were in Ballarat to give evidence at an unrelated trial. But it was of very high quality due to the involvement of an Englishman. as well as a room at the motel. north of Melbourne. and throughout successive trials. Seemingly respected by both factions of the club and even. he appeared to have a brilliant yet tortured mind.

The police decided to act in an attempt to quell the increasingly public feuding. They raided the Hell’s Angels Fairfield headquarters On ThE nOsE: CLuBs and druGs 187 . The house was ransacked. It appeared the Ballarat lab was the final straw for some of the other Hell’s Angels. Michael Annalla. for the violence continued. Hardy was invited to a party in Melbourne held by the Hell’s Angels. As a member he was expected to join the other members in the attack on Hill’s Warrandyte house. By this stage. although I’m not sure it was over his drug involvement. There was worse to come for Hill. They were threatened with expulsion from the club. Michael Malve. The pair hadn’t been going to weekly church. He later committed suicide. Hill and Biddlestone then came in for some attention. was a safe haven. causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage. flew into Melbourne in an attempt to mediate the dispute. so a posse visited Hill’s house to re-claim the stuff. turning in his colours to a friend. the dispute had got totally out of hand. He was kicked out of the club soon after. It was foiled only when Hill appeared with a shotgun and threatened the attackers. Allegedly he didn’t do much partying because he was whisked away as soon as he arrived. with its heavy security. As a result he was bashed. A few weeks later an abduction attempt was made on his wife while she was shopping in Warrandyte. While awaiting trial. Biddlestone decided not to follow Hill’s lead and remained a member. Hill took the hint and left the club.dramatically cut the odour from the speed production process. who agreed to take them back to the club. in a taste of what was to come. was shaken by the attack because he believed his house. Their attempts were apparently in vain. Evidently not all the club paraphernalia was returned. and severely beaten before being run out of town back to South Australia. who was on bail at the time. but he refused. In March 1986 the secretary of the Hell’s Angels Oakland chapter. The raid on Hill’s house went ahead in February 1986. and a colleague. and had been warned that their lack of attendance was being noted. Hill.

Hill was sentenced to five years with a minimum of two. It’s unclear whether a specific event triggered it. Hill found the going tough. In March 1987. however. One of his few allies. I’m not sure what happened to Faulkner. Hamment was sentenced to six years with a minimum of four and Faulkner received four years with a minimum of two. Timothy Wurr. Biddlestone received six years with a minimum of three.in May 1986. who was involved in the Ballarat speed laboratory. Biddlestone was pretty much destroyed by the whole experience. handcuffed and beaten with an iron bar. With Biddlestone lying in hospital. (This was later found to be three breaks to an arm and multiple contusions. He was then moved to a house in Fairfield where the beatings continued. no charges were laid. Hill was released from prison in late 1988. He succumbed to pressure from both the police and forces within the club and decided to reveal all about the drug operation in a 120-page statement. and is living under a new identity. Wurr and his wife were terrorised and two Harleys were allegedly stolen in the raid. After 15 hours of continuous physical abuse he was dumped outside the Austin Hospital. His injuries were savage. but Biddlestone was savagely beaten. By this stage Hill had gone to ground but Biddlestone was still going to the clubhouse. Hamment had two brothers with the club and was always uneasy defending the action of the breakaway group. 188 ThE BrOThErhOOds . seizing a number of weapons and documents. One doctor’s report said ‘every major bone in his body’ had been broken. Ray Hamment is still with the club and is currently a respected member of the Melbourne chapter. the last of the four was sentenced. his life saved only by being dumped outside the hospital. when it was clearly opposed by his brothers. The dispute reached flashpoint in October 1986. At this point it all got too much for Hill. particularly the bashing. He was taken to a Ringwood house. The attack nearly killed him.) He’d also been shot in the finger. He faded from the scene and is now on a pension of some sort. Until that point the four surviving members of the drug syndicate had pleaded not guilty. was attacked in his Ballarat home.

In early 1988 nine Hell’s Angels members. with charges ranging from armed robbery. I don’t feel I can. I knew many of the Hell’s Angels involved at the time. One of the accused was reported to have muttered. unlawful assault and causing serious injury. to conspiracy to commit murder. including Ray Hamment and one of his brothers. There has never been a situation as serious as this faced by any of the clubs that I know of—and all caused by drugs. He was convicted for contempt of court for his troubles. burglary. There was so much raw emotion surrounding the club. Not many realised how close the club came to splitting completely.’ he told the court. Hard men would become very upset when the subject came up. The charges were sensationally dropped due to lack of evidence when Biddlestone refused to testify in court. ‘I’ve been warned not to give any evidence in this case. faced court over the attacks on Hill and Biddlestone. ‘Piece of cake’ after the charges were dropped. On ThE nOsE: CLuBs and druGs 189 . and I could see the anguish on their faces when I spoke to them. theft.

If you think the clubs bear animosity towards each other. when the need to be seen to be doing something overrides the rights of the clubs to go about their business unhindered. They have become natural enemies. it’s nothing compared to the hatred they feel for the police. In many ways. The clubs and the police have been at loggerheads since the clubs were first labelled ‘outlaws’ after Hollister more than 60 years ago. It can be a lineball situation. It’s why they refer to the police as the Big Blue Gang. Much of the focus is legitimate. Or it can be intimidatory. such as attempting to cool a potentially violent inter-club situation. to the point where the clubs regard the police as a gang.Chapter Fourteen ThE BiG BLuE GAnG For outlaw clubs there is one battle that will outlive all other club wars: the war with the Big Blue Gang. driven by the same motives as any other gang—power and domination. the police sometimes do live up to the notion of being the enemy by constantly targeting the clubs. I saw it when I observed the police activity at the entrance to Broadford in the mid-1980s and we are seeing it across Australia as I write this in 2009 after a break-out of club violence in Sydney. The Gypsy Jokers’ clash with police in South Australia in early 2001 saw the club tailed back to Adelaide .

It’s these points of difference between the forces that lead to the most fundamental reason for the gulf in policing—funding. via the police. It probably has no choice. was pretty keen to be seen by the public as doing something about the bikies. whereas in Australia. the Canadian ThE BIG BLuE GanG 191 . the clubs tend to be demonised to a greater degree than where allocation of police resources is largely an internal matter. seems to follow the US line in demonising the clubs. although similarities may be emerging in states such as Western Australia. Australian policing methods are quite different from those in the United States and Canada. and coordinating with international police (Interpol). in particular. South Australia and New South Wales. But I’m giving the Australian police a bad name. Where public elections and pressure determine police funding. local police chiefs are usually elected. That’s why the US police public relations units dispatch sensationalist media coverage of outlaw motorcycle clubs as highly criminal units. Canada. Being the United States’ closest neighbour. despite its centralised police force. They’re more than happy for the clubs to be constantly portrayed as drug empires and criminal units so the public willingly channels funds into keeping the scourge at bay. are pretty well treated by the local authorities. compared to the heat the police put on clubs in the United States and Europe. New Zealand and South Africa police chiefs. or commissioners. The club also had to negotiate seven police roadblocks. are appointed by the elected politicians of the day. Much of the difference comes from the contrasting structures of the Australian and North American police forces.by 10 police. Compare this to Australia. comprised of literally thousands of different agencies. I’d argue that the government. Canada. Often police of different agencies work within the same jurisdiction. although they’ll never admit it. In the United States. Australian clubs. which has six state police agencies and a relatively small national police force whose primary mandates are the policing of the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. New Zealand and South Africa also have strong centralised police forces. Police agencies of the United States are highly decentralised. the United Kingdom.

Australian police haven’t attempted to fuel the fires of public concern by creating a public enemy of the outlaw motorcycle clubs. On the whole. In Australia. and the public doesn’t feel they have the right to challenge the police. New South Wales used the ample powers it had to control crime in the clubs. relieved they haven’t been booked for something they perhaps should have been. a bikie will stop and give his correct name. there is explicit protection from police harassment. If we see you again. It’s much different in North America. Almost all bikers in Canada and the United States will whip out a tape recorder the moment they’re pulled over by the police. as with the recent murders and violence in Sydney. Everything has to be done by the book for fear they’ll wind up in court facing harassment charges. record everything said. then rush the tape straight over to their lawyer to check if they have a case for police harassment. Local police will invariably approach a bikie and say: ‘We don’t want you around here anymore. Others will see it as a friendly reminder and hit the road.’ Some bikies will call this police harassment. for instance. In Australia. The Victorians are very successful at controlling wars through 192 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Until the recent push to adopt SA-type laws. In countries with a Bill of Rights. Rather. such as the United States. The big problem in these cases is the Bill of Rights. although the WA and SA police are heading down this path. Without a Bill of Rights. There’s no leeway for the police to deal with issues. It creates a situation where there is less conflict and civil disobedience. Australian police do their best to let the clubs make peace while assuring the public the violence is contained as much as possible to the clubs themselves.police would have much the same impression of the clubs as they do in the United States. Australian police don’t feel they are forced into playing by the rules. South Africa and New Zealand the really heavy police attention is usually focused on clubs only during turf wars or other sensationalist club crimes. Australian policing is based on commonsense and seems to be much more personal. we’ll book you. as there is in Australia.

but the Hell’s Angels was the first group they tried to prosecute. with Bowman in charge of the operation. It was a civil libertarian nightmare. A classic example is drugs. He was also convicted of plotting to murder rival club members. The puritanical approach of the United States to drugs is evident the moment you set foot in the country. You won’t hear any debate about injecting rooms and treatment programs in the United States. firebombing rival clubhouses. was sentenced to life in prison in April 2001 on charges of conspiracy. There is zero tolerance of drug users. The prosecution was the culmination of a 15-year effort by ThE BIG BLuE GanG 193 . The US police response to violent outbreaks would be much different. with every tool given to them to increase the chances of conviction. Harry ‘Taco’ Bowman. It was introduced to control the Mafia in 1978. The international president of the Outlaws. Australia’s attitude to drugs is one of harm minimisation compared to almost all other countries. The RICO Act is a piece of federal legislation that says being a member of a criminal organisation makes you a criminal. The cases floundered because the courts found the Hell’s Angels club was not organised for the purposes of commissioning crimes. The bikie clubs saw evidence of this when the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organisations Act was turned on them. in 1979 and 1981. with users given help to kick the habit. racketeering and distribution of drugs. This is enlightened policing compared to international efforts. The US police are fully backed by the government. The court heard allegations that the Outlaws controlled a large chunk of organised crime across much of the southern United States. Another US club has since been busted using the RICO Act. with law enforcement geared solely towards preventing their distribution. and robbing and beating rival club members. Prosecution under the Act carries a prison sentence of five to 10 years. Upholding the law is the only answer. It’s almost impossible to gain entry into the country if you have a drug conviction.negotiation and a hard-edged approach to any brewing conflict between the clubs that might result in a war. The United States regards drugs as an absolute evil. A prosecution is more important than changing behaviour to prevent a crime. Australian authorities generally want to prevent drug use.

’ 194 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The RICO case finally fell to pieces when the prosecution refused to show the tapes and recordings of the fake club they had created. that’s a different story. ‘That’s what we are looking at now. which is what we’re looking at. it will help in charges of participation in a criminal organisation. In May 2001 a Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesman said the Nova Scotia chapter of the Hell’s Angels would be a prime target under the law after it held a get-together in Halifax. who had infiltrated the Hell’s Angels. Their gathering this weekend is no criminal offence. to bolster a law that says a club is a criminal organisation if it is comprised of members who have committed a number of crimes. So maybe this weekend. It was a clear breach of public safety by the undercover cops. Other countries have introduced similar laws. but caved in at the trial in spectacular fashion. ‘It is illegal to belong to an organised crime group. Notably. But if we can prove this is a criminal organisation. shooting at the Outlaws. An undercover Bureau of Alcohol.’ the spokesman said. It didn’t take long before it became clear whom the law would target. Jay Dobbins. the doyen of US outlaw-club busters. and other undercover specialists for overstepping the line of protocol and becoming a true bad boy himself. Another notable prosecution under RICO came after an undercover policeman was elected to office in the Mongols club. which eventually scuttled the case against both clubs. Tobacco. There is no offence to celebrate. Footage showed undercover agents. Canada introduced changes to its 1997 anti-gang laws in April 2001. It also strengthened the legal definition of what’s considered a criminal organisation. through our intelligence. In the operation. the lead agent. William Queen’s successful infiltration of the Mongols resulted in a complete devastation of the club in 2003. retired shortly thereafter and has subsequently been criticised by Jack Tait. Firearms and Explosives operation came close to nailing the Hell’s Angels.the US government to pin the Outlaws and one of only four successful prosecutions in 60 attempts to use RICO on the clubs. The operation was called off following a shoot-out between the Hell’s Angels and Outlaws at a convention in Las Vegas in 2007. the ATF formed a club to infiltrate Arizona’s Hell’s Angels.

It hit a major hurdle when police—supported by the Immigration Department—objected to club members being allowed into Australia. It was never clear why this happened. The move to bikie-specific laws has since spread to Australia. particularly in South Australia. ‘Although a conspiracy is quite a simple thing to define under the Criminal Code—the agreement of two or more people to commit a criminal act—to prove a conspiracy is . One famous case was the 1990 Hell’s Angels world run organised for down-under. the Gypsy Jokers have been in the news in recent years for violent clashes with police. and threatened legal action. which I will outline later. The National Crime Authority (NCA). very tough. takes a much more up-front approach. the difference between the US and Australian police when it comes to this tactic is quite stark. . In the early 1990s Germany made it illegal for the Hell’s Angels to fly its colours. By that time the Australian Immigration Department had had time to process the visa applications and there were few hassles. with the WA. Another popular tactic for the US police is infiltration of clubs by undercover operatives. Its success was short-lived. A couple of bikies with serious criminal records were refused entry. because the German club chapters simply altered the colours slightly and continued on their merry way.’ the spokesman said. These laws don’t represent the first time Australian authorities have cracked down on the clubs. Again. but most of those harshly dealt with in 1990 were allowed entry second time around. but then backed off and scheduled the run for two years later. The Hell’s Angels claimed that members without criminal records were among those refused entry. For instance. There was one case of a prospect without a record who was taken into custody the moment he disembarked from the plane and sent back to the United States about four days later.He did acknowledge the difficulty in proving that the club was a criminal organisation. based on the alleged crimes by its members. SA and NSW governments introducing very tough laws. This prompted the NCA to assign ThE BIG BLuE GanG 195 . I find the Australian technique much more interesting. . Australia’s equivalent to the FBI.

The club made it clear it intended to be law abiding while in the state. and in rare cases has actually been in contact with them. which proved a major breakthrough. Assistant Commissioner (Crime) George Davis. so he became the go-between in the dispute.an officer to monitor the activities of the club. This was the case during the tense stand-off between the club and SA police in early 2001. It was a brilliant strategy. The officers on the ground were outraged amid claims that 17 bikies wanted by police slipped through the net. drugs and outstanding warrants when the Coffin Cheaters disembarked from the Spirit of Tasmania. keeping communication open and heading off trouble before it spread to the public. with the media and commentators outraged that he could even contemplate letting 196 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The purpose of any policing organisation is to prevent crime as a first priority and if we’ve managed to do that I’m happy with the operation. The police and the club liaised weeks before the event to set the ground rules for behaviour. The Tasmania Police then tailed the club throughout the 10-day ride with the full knowledge of the club. He was able to organise the return of the club colours and badges confiscated by police. Another case was the Coffin Cheaters run to Tasmania in late 2001. negotiating with both sides. The club is aware of the agent. who ordered the Coffin Cheaters be tipped off. was reported in the media as saying that he wanted to prevent: 130 drunken outlaw motorcycle gang members confronting 70 Victorian policemen in the middle of a public event with a number of other civilians trying to leave the boat. That wasn’t highly probable but it was a possibility and one that wasn’t necessary. Davis was hanged in the court of public opinion. The problems the police face in liaising with the clubs were highlighted when the Coffin Cheaters returned to Victoria. Victorian police command tipped off the club that about 70 police and officers from the Sheriff’s Office would be waiting to search for weapons. The NCA agent could see that the club was ready to go down fighting.

The police saw it as a chance to show the club they were willing to help them. and spent some time in the Middle East hunting Israeli terrorists. not merely sit down the road waiting to hit them on their bikes. Gordon made his son count cars. However. His father. Gordon. He made him turn around and describe what he saw. such as concerts. ranging from the worst acts of violence in the company of his fellow bikers. it was another example of enlightened policing. who was not even in his teens. Outlaw motorcycle clubs couldn’t survive being completely hostile to the police. He eventually settled in Alaska in the 1960s. To me. with thick glasses and mousy moustache. and Gordon told his son to take in the scene for a minute. They must conform to things such as liquor licences and the regulations that come with running public events. where he felt the need to teach his son. Profiles present a complex and confused man. Tait had a strange upbringing. One club in Queensland begrudgingly allowed the police to come into one of their functions to breath-test those planning to ride home. with an almost Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde personality. Tait was a small-time bikie who rose to prominence within the US Hell’s Angels. They stood on a corner. differentiate makes and models. all the best intentions in the world didn’t prevent some of the bikies from being picked up for being over the limit. ThE BIG BLuE GanG 197 . was an intelligence officer in the British Army. I find Tait one of the oddest characters I have come across in the biker world. or on a ship. remember what else happened in the area when the car passed. Contrast that attitude to the FBI’s Anthony Tait operation in the 1980s. all the while passing information to the police. to complete moralistic disgust at the slightest notion of illegality—all wrapped up in a package that gave him the appearance of a mild-mannered public servant. The clubs will reluctantly work with the police if it means the police will then leave them alone. to survive in the sort of world he had experienced. Tait described more and more details.the club know what lay ahead.

including pimps and drug dealers. Under the arrangement. ending in a dishonourable discharge after he went missing on two separate occasions. He loved violence and had an intense dislike of certain groups. He secretly harboured a desire to be a policeman. But his father’s training led him to believe he was well ahead of any training the army could offer. because the club also offered him a Harley for US$2500 on the generous terms of paying it back when he could. offering snippets of information so he could be in with that crowd. He made him look for anything out of the norm. During his nominee period. He was soon accepted as a nominee for the Brothers. he began to forge a relationship with the local police. It was his first experience as an informer.what the driver looked like and wore. It seemed Tait was being groomed by his father for a life of espionage. According to his biographer. They were only too happy to take up the offer. Not long after his discharge he told the police of some drug dealers on a construction site where he was working. the Brothers were given 198 ThE BrOThErhOOds . enlisting at the age of 17. asking if there was any intelligence work he could perform. hanging around police bars. After a few years of running into and getting to know members of the club. He must have made an impression. he was invited to hang around. The offer was made because he was considered such a high-value potential member. the Brothers and Hell’s Angels decided to do a patch-over. At the same time. to ride the space shuttle—and to fuck a nun. notably the Brothers MC. and it seemed to sit perfectly with his odd ideals. His military career was brief and rather inglorious. Tait had only to find a target. That didn’t stop him from applying unsuccessfully for a job as a CIA spy a few years later. He moved back to his home town of Anchorage in 1974 where he worked as a bouncer at many clubs. Yves Lavigne: ‘Among his goals in life were to create a better society where his idea of justice ruled. He tried his hand at the military. even at as little as a dollar a week.’ Charming! Working as a bouncer put him in contact with outlaw bikers.

They couldn’t believe their luck. they were both reporting to the same FBI agent. US police had never been able to crack the Hell’s Angels. He also told her he had won a Purple Heart for valour in the Vietnam War. They recognised the need for national intelligence. By late 1984. After a few years he was the sergeantat-arms of the Anchorage chapter. Tait was soon reporting to an FBI agent. The aim was that if it performed well it would be given full membership status and be authorised to form the Anchorage chapter of the Hell’s Angels. He was officially recruited as a fully-fledged FBI operative and paid for his troubles. Like all nominees of the Brothers. so the potential for Tait was enormous.the status as a nominee club. the boys at the FBI really stood up and took notice. When the Brothers became the Hell’s Angels in 1982 the local police realised they were onto something. Incredibly. When he began representing the chapter at West Coast Hell’s Angels officers meetings. The strange situation wasn’t to last. he allegedly assaulted her so she decided she would rat on him. which lasted 18 months. In 1985. so they called in the FBI. Tait continued to provide information to the local police. Throughout this time. neither did she know or suspect he was doing the same thing. Their reasoning was that she could verify much of the information Tait was supplying. killing people in California. especially when she was quoted in the book on Tait’s life as saying he ‘wouldn’t know when he was lying or telling the truth as there was no difference to him’. A year previously he’d entered into a de facto relationship with a prostitute. Sounds like a crazy relationship. The irony was that while she didn’t tell Tait she was working for the FBI. he was being wired by the FBI for extensive taping of Hell’s Angels business. and he was given his colours as a full member of the Anchorage chapter of the Hell’s Angels. She told the police that he had said he was a hit man for the club. After a few months Tait discovered his girlfriend was an agent reporting to his contact. Tait’s colours were eventually changed from the Brothers to Hell’s Angels as part of the arrangement. While this was going on his nominee stage passed. He fell ThE BIG BLuE GanG 199 . Then he started to climb. Within a month she’d also became an FBI operative.

I don’t want to know about it ’cause it’s not club business. They also conducted random drug and lie-detector tests on Tait. a monthly allowance. the FBI launched a fullblown operation called CACUS. Because Tait was given to bending the truth. It resulted in the arrests of 38 Hell’s Angels members on various charges ranging from conspiracy to commit murder to manufacture and distribution of drugs. he was convicted and sent to prison for five years. Barger says: We got to get one thing straight with everybody: what goes on in this room is 100 per cent legal. Tait is still alive. As the information flowed. After three years of information from Tait. Ultimately. He spent the first 18 months after the bust staying in a different place each 200 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Twenty-four Hell’s Angels were convicted. possession of illegal firearms and conversion of government property. even giving him a US$250 000 bonus. swooping on Hell’s Angels members across the United States. The irony of this is that in one of Tait’s covertly taped conversations. living somewhere with a new identity. and covered all his expenses. the FBI used extensive audio-taping and photographing in their surveillance operation of the Hell’s Angels to back up what he reported. The FBI began to give Tait more resources. One of those was Sonny Barger on a charge of conspiracy to commit murder. building him a new identity as a tile salesman and providing him with free airline tickets to attend national and international meetings for the Hell’s Angels. Because. the FBI even gave him money to buy a new Harley-Davidson. We don’t talk about illegal things here. if you’re doing anything illegal. he was given permission to commit crimes with indemnity in order to achieve maximum infiltration of the Hell’s Angels. Any suspicion of his free spending was tempered by a presumption within the club that he was making money from drugs.out with the agent but the couple continued to act as FBI informers after they realised they could live with the unusual arrangement. The FBI continued to pay Tait while he testified in the cases.

The two policemen drifted into Ballarat under the guise of being unemployed. There is the great story in John Silvester and Andrew Rule’s book Underbelly 2 that when the national president of the Bandidos was shot and killed all the members. two Victorian policemen infiltrated the Bandidos in Ballarat after fruitless attempts by the police to negotiate a peace deal between the Bandidos and Vikings. Of course. Two full-time FBI agents were assigned to the case for those three years as well as all the costs associated with payment for Tait. In one case. According to his biography. They started to ‘bump into’ club members at pubs until they were invited around to the clubhouse for a party.’ The Hell’s Angels deny they have a contract out on him. However. and it’s likely he is still doing so. including the two undercover policemen. he was clutching weapons each of those nights. and expenses. As the members filed past the dead leader’s ThE BIG BLuE GanG 201 . and the bills started to mount. There have been at least three cases of undercover police joining Australian bikie clubs. they admit they’d like to have a ‘chat’ with him. They passed the test and were invited to hang around the club. The operation lasted more than three years and involved vast amounts of resources. he was last known to be ‘an agent for a foreign service.night. He works from Africa to Afghanistan and enjoys himself thoroughly trying to make the world a better place. Six months later they became prospects. What strikes me as most bizarre was the cost of it all. One of them eventually became the secretary-elect of the chapter. Full membership on 12 months’ probation was offered in October 1997. It was decided the only option was to get inside the club to gather evidence that would blow it apart. In one case. The Australian method is more likely to do so. That’s not to say the Australian police don’t operate covertly in local chapters. The bust at the end resulted in a number of charges. plus the $250 000 bonus. Throw in the new Harley-Davidson as a ‘necessary tool’ for his work as informant. but did it change the behaviour of the club or prevent any crime? I doubt it. light aircraft circled a house while Tait transmitted his conversations for recording. attended the funeral. including conspiracy to murder.

The process of joining a club makes it almost impossible to do that anymore. brotherhood and a love of partying. Any doubt these clubs are not fair dinkum outlaw motorcycle clubs disappeared in 2008 when an Iron Pigs member was charged over the shooting murder of a Hell’s Angel at Sturgis. have clubhouses. Peter Hill. because the Hell’s Angel drew his gun first. as well as weapons.’ The violent death of the president and two other Bandidos forced police command to call in the undercover officers. Finally. in the Hell’s Angel speed case of the 1980s. The clubs believe the police unjustly harass them and that the politicians use them collectively as a public whipping boy. Her research found those who joined the police clubs had the same motivation as other outlaw bikies—wanting to rebel. club bars and the like. a lifestyle statement. The main players spent less time in prison than the police spent undercover. the biggest outlaw motorcycle club rally in the United States. The Iron Pig and the Hell’s Angel got into an argument over why the Iron Pig wanted to dress and behave like a Hell’s Angel. most bikies believe the rank and file coppers are doing a job. you know. These clubs wear the traditional patches of outlaw bikies and attend runs. with 19 people arrested. were seized. the Blood Brothers and the Iron Pigs are all clubs whose membership is open only to serving law enforcement personnel. and will 202 ThE BrOThErhOOds . During the murder trial it was successfully argued that the Iron Pig acted in self-defence. with infiltrations leading to an escalation in admission requirements. However.body one of the undercover cops leant over the coffin and whispered: ‘I’m a copper. it is important to understand that police themselves have formed outlaw motorcycle clubs. Canadian academic and serving police officer Karen Sims completed a Masters Degree on the police clubs. A fair amount of drugs and drug-making equipment. The following month club members in four states were raided. Most pleaded guilty because of the evidence supplied by the undercover policemen. Most inside information against the clubs comes from members turning rather than facing prosecution for their part in a crime. was a classic example. In Australia the Wild Pigs.

‘There’s nothing wrong with the average cop. As one outlaw bikie told me. it’s just the occasional arsehole who doesn’t like bikies that makes life hard.treat them with the respect they themselves are shown.’ ThE BIG BLuE GanG 203 . There isn’t always animosity between the clubs and the cops.

you know my view on these types of laws—they just don’t work. with politicians and police able to decide who is a criminal and who is not. Ask they did. so in 2001 they asked me to help them fight it. for he actually delivered what he promised—the most draconian laws aimed at curbing bikie clubs. that give police and prosecutors substantial powers to tackle outlaw motorcycle gangs that pose a threat to public safety’ were introduced. a lot of people hate bikies. I agreed.’ he told the media in June 2007. Mr Rann is a rare beast. but they’re not the Premier of South Australia. I believe. The crux of the laws was that Parliament would allow the SA AttorneyGeneral and Commissioner of Police to ban groups they believed to be criminal organisations from congregating. A bikie club that can’t gather together is no longer a bikie club. a man who has made it his raison d’être to rid his state of those he views as ‘meatheads on motorbikes’ and ‘scum’. South Australia’s bikies certainly knew my view. a decision . If you have read this far into the book. For a politician. set a dangerous precedent. Sure. ‘The fact of the matter is that we are dealing with murderers and drug dealers and if the police want tougher laws to deal with them. Mr Rann is a politician on a mission.Chapter FiFteen undEr siEGE Mike Rann hates bikies. they will get them—all they need to do is ask. and in 2008 the ‘toughest laws in the world. Laws which.

I lost a mate—most likely murdered—was hounded by the cops and was eventually accused by the clubs of ratting on them. the officer in charge of the southeast area and police commander while the club was in town. with Senior Constable Zeitz regularly speaking with hotel management per telephone.m. The road to these tough new laws began in January 2001. the destination of the run was kept a closely guarded secret. This occurred and the fire was put out immediately. paints a different picture. I was aware there had been a patrol sent to a caravan park due to a report of bikies having entered the park. which involved Detective Dewar.50 p. undEr sIEGE 205 . which had been put in place between police and the bikies. Special Tasks and Rescue (STAR) group commander Superintendent Thomas Rieniets became aware at 10. a statement made by Superintendent Darrel Bristow. on 2 January that ‘a large number of Gypsy Joker Motorcycle Club members had travelled to Mount Gambier and were intending to stay in that area for an unknown time’. I directed Detective Dewar to liaise with the bikies and for the fire to be extinguished. I was aware of liaison arrangements.) there had been no major incidents with the bikie group.m. At this time (about 10. However.m. and also that a fire had been lit on the foreshore of the bikie camp. No complaints were received from the hotel. Rieniets discovered ‘that the bikies were in Beachport and were taking over the hotel to the exclusion of other patrons. True to form. Also during the evening I ensured the Beachport Hotel was monitored.25 p.m. two coastal towns about 350 kilometres southeast of Adelaide. getting boozed up and committing numerous traffic and behavioural offences in the area’. At about 6.30 a. At about 2 p. when more than 100 Gypsy Joker members gathered in South Australia for the club’s annual national run. in contravention of a fire ban. and police patrols had not encountered any difficulties in policing the town. he discovered that ‘about 120 bikies’ were heading to either Beachport or Robe.that was to affect me personally for many years and took me deep into the outlaw motorcycle club culture.

one of the Gypsy Joker members said words to the effect of: ‘You better get to the back of the pub when we go. Some of the bikies were playing pool. We remained at the hotel having social drinks and general conversation. there were 20–25 Gypsy Jokers on the verandah at the front of the hotel.m. Inside the hotel I saw between 20 and 30 bikies in the bar area. ’cause all hell is going to break loose when we walk out the door. At 8. At the front of the hotel there were about 50 motorcycles parked on the road and a couple more parked on the front grassy area. according to Taylor.This is a view supported by the hotel management. and more were spread throughout the rest of the hotel. She pointed out that there were locals drinking among the Gypsy Jokers in the front bar. others playing music and the rest were basically in groups drinking either at the bar or at the tables. there were.m. Patron Bernadette Wray described the scene when she arrived at about 10 p. another 20 in the front bar. Superintendent Rieniets and nine other STAR group officers left Adelaide on two police planes bound for Beachport. As I walked along the bar calling last drinks. According to Taylor. local drinkers and holiday-makers who were in the hotel that evening. babe. they did not seem too bad. I remember thinking that for the amount of alcohol that they had drunk during the afternoon and night. Generally the behaviour was fine. about 20 Gypsy Jokers in the front bar. Throughout the evening we were in the hotel the bikies seemed orderly and were behaving themselves.. working in the front bar. bar staff. Jennifer Taylor started her shift at 4 p.’ 206 ThE BrOThErhOOds .m. When hotel management decided to close at midnight. In fact.15 p. I would not say that any of them appeared to get overly intoxicated or drunk. more out the front under the verandah and about eight locals in the front bar and two tourists playing pool in the front bar area.

The police officer was only there for about a split second when he suddenly turned around and headed for the front door. I became aware of this as a result of Superintendent Rieniets coming to the front door of the Beachport Police Station and saying: ‘We are going for a walk down to the pub.m. Sergeant David Thomas of the Mount Gambier police was standing on the front lawn of the Beachport Police Station ‘when I was approached by a STAR group member who asked if we had a caged car. the incident commander. became aware the STAR group was heading to the hotel only moments before they left the police station. Jennifer Taylor saw a uniformed policeman standing in the front door of the hotel talking to Keith Allen. According to Sergeant Thomas. to which I replied in the affirmative’.’ He said: ‘You wait and see.’ At 11. including en masse out the front door. We’re going for a walk through the pub in a minute and we’ll probably get a few arrests.’ Superintendent Darrel Bristow.’ A few minutes later.’ I said: ‘No. a partowner of the hotel who was also working in the front bar that night. At the same time Gypsy Jokers members suddenly went everywhere. I had not directed their attendance and was not aware of any disturbance at the hotel or that any other police officers were attending. That policeman was STAR group leader Superintendent Rieniets. they’re still cruising past in their cars. the STAR group member then said: ‘You better get in it. This is his account of what happened next: undEr sIEGE 207 . surely not.I said: ‘What do you mean?’ He said: ‘The cops will have the place surrounded by now and they’ll get us as we leave.45 p.

Things were less cordial when they moved to join Superintendent Rieniets inside the hotel. he asked one of the Gypsy Jokers to arrange for three motorcycles to be moved from the verandah to the road.55 p. Thiele’s statement continues: There were approximately four members of the Gypsy Jokers Motorcycle group standing on the left-hand side of the front doorway. According to the statement provided by Senior Constable Thiele. that same day after briefly discussing tactics with [Superintendent] Bristow and giving him a copy of my handwritten plan. I could clearly hear the words ‘Kill the fuckin’ cunts’ said on several occasions.m. I continued walking towards the doorway and I was approximately one metre from the front door when a person wearing a GJMC vest stepped 208 ThE BrOThErhOOds . . speak to him regarding the closing time and to reassure him of our attendance should any problems occur. we’ll shift the bikes”. when I suddenly heard a commotion behind me and upon looking saw most of the bikies suddenly rush outside . I was about three metres from this person. two of these persons moved across the doorway blocking the entranceway. Outside the hotel were two STAR group officers. However. yet at the same time bearing in mind that a large number of bikies were in the area and the potential for disturbances. ‘This member stated. not actually having spoken to him. two bikies moved to try to stop my entrance. As I entered. I avoided them and walked towards a younger male person behind the bar . some 85 metres south of the police station. . After Rieniets had entered the hotel. There was lots of shouting and yelling.’ Senior Constable Thiele said. Prior to doing this I had briefed Rieke [STAR supervisor] as to the STAR group needing to be firm in their approach to any breaches of the law. “No worries. . my intention being to introduce myself to the licensee.At about 11. I walked with the STAR members to the Beachport Hotel. Senior Constable Benjamin Hodge and Senior Constable Andrew Thiele. .

there was mostly posturing by both sides. Police flooded the area.’ This Gypsy Joker was identified as Stephen ‘Horrible’ Williams. fearing that his life was in danger as he was kicked in the head a number of times. yelling. At one stage. it shows just how differently undEr sIEGE 209 . with police drawing batons and using capsicum spray. Senior Constable Hodge also said he had hold of Studar and was punched by Williams. thrusting his forearm into my chest as he made impact with me. He then fell to the ground. who was trying to break the hold. Senior Constable Thiele alleged Williams punched him in the mouth.’ Superintendent Rieniets stated he heard someone yell. ‘Get the fire sticks. That Gypsy Joker was identified as Robert Darren Studar. We’ve got sticks too. He ran to Williams. which he did.’ Moments later. You’re dead meat. ‘You’ve got sticks. I saw a person out of my peripheral vision rushing at me from my left side. Senior Constable Thiele grabbed Studar’s arm to arrest him. ‘As I took hold of his right arm to inform him he was under arrest. until there were an estimated 40 police and between 14 and 40 Gypsy Jokers involved in a clash. She told him to give her the cue. After the initial confrontation. Jennifer Taylor said one club member grabbed a pool cue and started to head out the door. Superintendent Rieniets ran out to see his officers grappling with Studar and Williams. One policeman stated he saw a Gypsy Joker walking from the hotel carrying a pool cue. It was this incident that cleared the bar and saw Gypsy Jokers surge onto the street. caught him in a headlock and yelled: ‘You are under arrest for assault.’ He said that Williams. Whether these were three separate incidents or differing descriptions of the same thing is not clear. This is an interesting point because it demonstrates how facts can become distorted. If it is the latter. Rieniets said he felt a sharp blow to his head and saw broken glass flying over his shoulder. screamed: ‘Fuckin’ get off me.’ which he took to mean firearms. two Gypsy Jokers retreated inside the hotel to ask for milk as they said they had been sprayed in the eyes by capsicum spray.out of the hotel and walked straight into me.

On their way they had to negotiate seven roadblocks manned by 100 police. Studar was never charged over this incident. that prompted police to later barricade the police station with vehicles in case the threat was made good by the club. with Hodge flown to Adelaide the following day for surgery on a broken jaw. Police claimed that while being marched back to the police station. only to have all charges dropped. common assault and resisting police. taking the bloke for a spin. The club had stopped at the town.people can interpret the same incident—each one swearing that theirs is the correct version. The member allegedly broke his back and the woman was also injured. He turned himself in to Adelaide’s Central Police Headquarters. Eight other club members were charged with various offences. Studar jumped on a motorcycle as a pillion passenger without a helmet. when a local asked a member for a ride on his motorcycle. until Studar was arrested for offensive language. This also included a dispute over confiscated colours at Murray Bridge and a strange incident that allegedly occurred at another small town. It is also alleged the SA government negotiated a financial settlement with the woman over this incident. headed back to Adelaide at first light after the pub fight. and then gave the bloke’s wife a short ride. Steve Williams. It has been alleged by the club that on this ride a carload of detectives came up behind the bike and ran it off the road. It was this language. 210 ThE BrOThErhOOds . He obliged. the Gypsy Joker member who was alleged to have punched senior constables Thiele and Hodge. with most having been ordered home by their leaders. and was subsequently charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He was grabbed by a STAR group officer and an argument ensued. peppered with threats like. Studar attempted to grab the arresting policeman’s firearm. Meanwhile Hodge and Rieniets had been transferred to Millicent Hospital by ambulance. By this stage there were few Jokers remaining. ‘We’re coming back to get you cunts’. The Gypsy Jokers stayed another night in Beachport before heading back to Adelaide. accompanied by his lawyer.

reduced to a $100 fine and a three-year good behaviour bond. when a spokesman for the 1%er clubs said: ‘Why don’t you bring undEr sIEGE 211 . damaged teeth. Club sources maintain that members happily accepted the hotel would close at midnight and that they planned to return to their campsite. This does not excuse the violence of the members.In February 2002 Williams received an 18-month suspended jail sentence. the rest of the night would have passed without incident. The entire episode resulted in a $100 good behaviour bond. neck injuries.’ And the police certainly found it that night. I believe the STAR group’s actions were bound to provoke a reaction in such an environment. you will surely find it. but it appears to be a pretty light sentence if the case was proven. . my suspicion is that they are not conducting knitting circles inside these buildings’. public outrage over the episode reached fever pitch. providing an opportunity for the government to declare bikies public enemy number one. As the old saying goes: ‘If you go looking for trouble. Premier Rann branded the offer a stunt. prompting the Gypsy Jokers and the Finks to offer him the keys to their clubhouses so he could see they were not havens for drug manufacturing and prostitution. It is not for me to speculate on the judgement. That line produced one of the best comebacks I’ve heard for a long time. and police command should have known that. but many in the club believe the police would have been well aware that they were walking into a highly charged environment of people who clearly did not like police and were more than likely to have been affected by alcohol. However. stating ‘. That’s right. . They also said they were merely doing their duty when assaulted by the Gypsy Jokers. The police maintained they were responsible for upholding the law and were well within their rights to enter a public place to ensure the law was being observed. The three officers injured on the night launched civil action against Williams in early 2003. claiming damages for physical injuries including broken bones. soft-tissue injuries and psychological injuries. They said if the STAR group had not attempted to enter the hotel. In 2002 the SA government announced it intended to bulldoze bikie clubhouses.

Two months on. I asked long-time colleague and friend Dr Julie Van den Eynde to help me out. My job. she had the qualities as an ‘outsider’ to keep me focused and on track during the years of immersion into the bikie world I was about to undertake. parliamentarians. I knew at that moment I’d have my work cut out to stop the escalating tension and violence between the state.your huge sense of humour and your little balls of yarn and we’ll see who the nitwit really is?’ It was clear a moral panic was emerging in South Australia. He took to it like a duck to water. calling the media. But old habits die hard. don’t shoot police). and the long-established bikie code of silence was well and truly gone.e. club members. My first meeting with Williams was at the Gypsy Jokers clubhouse. who had by then become the SA Gypsy Jokers president. Julie is as ‘straight’ as they come: devout Presbyterian. to be funded by the Gypsy Jokers and university grants. The second tactic was to influence the media. The fourth was the tried and tested last resort: legal challenges to the proposed new laws. Williams was calling from Stormy’s. I decided on four tactics. My first job was to shape Williams into a spokesman for the Gypsy Jokers and the other clubs. It was to be random shootings of police in remote towns across South Australia. would be to reduce the escalating tension and violence between the police and the clubs. the most notorious brothel 212 ThE BrOThErhOOds . sympathisers and the like. carrying a briefcase and using tape recorders to take notes. I overheard some Gypsy Jokers planning an attack on police. analyst and feminist. they needed to face the public and they had to get politically savvy. its police and the clubs. and to neutralise the government’s harassment of the clubs. One afternoon in late November I was at our Adelaide hotel when my mobile phone rang. I was asked to help settle the scene by Steve Williams. The third was political lobbying. While there. because that is where the real power of public opinion lies. academic. police. instead. Williams and I worked the phones. Williams really got into it. In other words. The first was to convince the club leaders that violence was not the best way to go (i.

I rented a room for the new blonde at your hotel. but I’m tied up here for the rest of the day and I don’t think I can make it to Stormy’s.’ I said.’ I was having breakfast the next morning. Arthur. the STAR group. that’s great. when he turned up. I don’t mean to be disrespectful. Julie and I had a chuckle about the situation. ‘No worries. hoping he wouldn’t be offended. ‘Um. We unearthed three alleged uses of excess force by the STAR group.’ I replied. as if expecting me to rush right over. There was a stunned silence on the other end of the phone. Arthur. We then declared an ‘open house’ at the Gypsy Jokers clubhouse for all media. as Williams took no offence and agreed the work at hand superseded a romp in the sack with a paid companion. I started to apologise that I couldn’t accept his Christmas present. mate. the love of my life and mother of my children. For me. the old adage ‘it doesn’t matter where you get your appetite as long as you eat at home’ holds true. I thought I’d managed the situation well. Parliamentarians were also invited but all declined. ‘I solved your problem. There’s a new blonde working at Stormy’s and I’ve booked you in all night with her. She’ll be waiting for you. other than Beachport. but he just smiled. I was on the other phone speaking to a parliamentarian but put him on hold as I saw it was Williams calling. Mates don’t fall out over a whore. I’ll go over and keep her busy. every bit as anxious as he had sounded during the previous call. Two hours later. I got another call from Williams.’ he said anxiously.’ he blurted. The truth is I’m not interested in sex with women other than my wife. I knew I had to come clean.in town. She’s in Room 214. while we were meeting with a political adviser from the Australian Democrats. ‘Hey.’ This time. although some thanked us for keeping them undEr sIEGE 213 . but I just don’t do that. Steve. I bought you an early Christmas present. Elizabeth. in particular.’ We decided to open a public hotline for complaints about the South Australia Police and. ‘Horrible. ‘Hey. then Williams said: ‘Well. There were no areas off-limits. We wanted to see if there were similar stories of the police attempting to provoke trouble. I’m just not into that kind of thing. Arthur.

Channel 9’s Today show broadcast live from inside the clubhouse and a four-page photographic spread appeared in the local Sunday Mail. We presented the story of Johno (not his real name). with the Australian Democrats describing the laws 214 ThE BrOThErhOOds . The next day’s newspapers reported the government’s intention ‘to put bikies out of work’ and described club members as ‘foot soldiers for crime organisations’. saying: ‘Hey. That is partly what the members want. Of course. The newspapers were firmly onside and the government on the defensive. Media covered him lodging a formal complaint with the Police Complaints Authority. sunglasses. Good onya!’ The club was ahead of the government in opinion polls on the public safety and crime risk posed by the clubs in Adelaide. resplendent in his colours. The club was somewhat uncomfortable with its ‘celebrity’ status. bikie club members are secretive. in order to achieve their goals. the government returned fire. phoney and totally dangerous’. But it all went over well. As the project developed. while reiterating the tough legislation would go ahead. leaving him a paraplegic requiring a colostomy bag. and body piercings. His little boy sat on his knee as he weaved his wheelchair through reporters to lodge his PCA form.‘in the loop’. Our political lobbying was also paying off. the issue was clarified by Premier Rann on 22 October 2003 when he told the SA Parliament that I was ‘totally fraudulent. At the best of times. full beard and metal rings on his fingers. we all changed. For good measure. tattoos covering both arms. the government declared people who ‘associate’ with bikie clubs would be scrutinised. club members had to put up with the public approaching them at places like fish and chip shops. Williams was interviewed by both television and print media. he didn’t exactly dispel the ‘scary bikie’ image. full bikie colours. Oh well. If I had any doubt that meant me. With his 190-centimetre frame. Johno’s complaint was met with no comment by Premier Rann. who alleged he’d been heavily bumped by the police car on the way home from the Beachport run. sullen and difficult to approach. Furthermore. tattoos. His back was broken in the incident. body piercings. he branded me a ‘so called academic and bikie apologist’. However. you are the guys taking on Rann.

Media were allowed to ride with the pack. and invited all citizens to a barbecue. The club assured the townspeople they wanted to come back to the town to put the matter to rest. advising them the best tactic was to create a festive mood and welcome the club. with media invited to attend. The run would pass through Beachport. As he accelerated to catch the group. with one female reporter from The Advertiser riding as a passenger on a Gypsy Joker’s motorcycle.to dismantle the clubhouses as ‘the worst proposed legislation since Apartheid in South Africa’. It was clear the sisterhood of the club held the reins of power in that bikie family. had to ring his wife to ask her permission for such a fine-looking woman to ride on his bike. The run was over the Christmas/New Year break. a bike dropped off the pack. That night in the pub at Robe I saw some police having an agitated conversation with some reporters and photographers. I was told the police were ‘trying to intimidate us for taking sides with the bikies’. (Of course Phildo. Stories and editorials from that point appeared to be more critical of police actions on the run. Television helicopters flew overhead and police escorted the pack at the front and the rear. The town’s officials and key individuals. undEr sIEGE 215 . the place the whole kerfuffle started. It was a bad move by the cops. It was quite a sight. police nabbed him for speeding. mate’. I’d suggest it was a turning point in the campaign. A superior officer jumped in and told him to ‘back off. I also contacted government authorities (except police) as well as prominent citizens. the immediate past president of the club. When the cops had walked off. and when I asked for the officer’s badge number—which he is legally required to give when asked—he tried to arrest me for obstruction of justice. providing the media with a colourful news story over the traditionally quiet holiday period. getting the media offside. A photographer volunteered to testify in court that the rider was doing nothing wrong. I witnessed the entire episode. including the owner of the pub where the brawl had started. At one point. The next action was to make the 2004 Gypsy Joker annual run a ‘media event’. were contacted and advised that the club was coming.) The reporter loved the ride and wrote a positive story.

It is just not what we do. But the government was not going to lie down. Members that did such things would be causing trouble for the clubs and would be disciplined by their own club. Radio Triple J: So.When we hit Beachport. interviewed Steve Williams to get the clubs’ response. . you are saying to us that no bikies eat pussy? Williams: [Pauses] Of the barbecue kind. annual motorcycle run . . and 216 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Town rolls out warm welcome’. . under surveillance . the national youth radio station. . you can say for sure that no bikies are barbecuing cats? Williams: Well. I can assure you that no bikie eats them . . people lined the street to watch the club arrive. As a consequence he proposed legislation banning the eating of cats. The 8 January editorial of The Advertiser. the Gypsy Jokers returned to their normal business. . any other kind and we would have to take a look at it first. the people involved were not bikies. . He claimed ‘residents have reported that a group of bikies and ne’er-do-wells got together in a public park and used a newly installed coin-operated barbecue to cook a cat for human consumption’. which had thanked the police for ‘a necessary show of force’. The Attorney-General told Parliament that ‘bikies have been outraging and terrorising citizens’ in his electorate. not a cat. said that police ‘. It turned out the animal barbecued was a fox. South Australia’s only daily newspaper. Radio Triple J. were the costs justified?’ This was in contrast to the 2001 post-run Advertiser editorial. . encouraged by the state government may have overreacted in keeping last week’s . After the success of the 2004 run. Radio Triple J: Let me get this straight. the location of the event was incorrect. Headlines included ‘Jokers laugh it up. The barbecue and party was a success with no arrests made. . I have never heard of any reports whatsoever about OMC members barbecuing cats. .

no more being warm and fuzzy. He believed members of the paedophile ring could be assassins. . it all came to a head. a line widely reported in the media. This was no ordinary coffin. In fact. The new leadership of the club claimed we were now speaking without the club’s permission. And as Williams’ three-year presidency wore on he became more and more autocratic. The Attorney-General was forced to apologise for misleading Parliament. the Hell’s Angels. adding to his growing profile. I too had changed.it happened 13 years previously. . . and wanted to go back to being a secretive group. I started to see them as the ‘enemy’. He also added: ‘I apologise to the Gypsy Jokers. such as fighting police corruption and the ongoing paedophile ring. He loved the attention. I found myself losing respect for anyone in authority. the wider he saw his role. no more lobbying. just did her job and managed to stay detached. as could rogue elements of the police and other clubs not happy with his public role. and started to move away from club politics. Williams had been elected club president on the basis he would ‘handle’ the Beachport incident for the club. Williams and I were summoned to the Gypsy Jokers clubhouse. He even received fan mail from middleclass Adelaidians. But he also feared for his life. Williams was summoned undEr sIEGE 217 . the Rebels. the Finks. Williams’ profile in Adelaide was huge. He often referred to the bed as the place for ‘the safest sex possible’. however.’ By this stage of the campaign. Then it all went to shit. the Bandidos and the Descendants and any other gangs . He couldn’t leave home without people approaching him and shaking his hand. But the more he got into the project with me. No more media. One brilliantly sunny Adelaide afternoon. He became increasingly involved in helping the underprivileged and voicing his opposition to an allegedly wellestablished paedophile ring in Adelaide. and wanted to shut us up. and would sleep there with his girlfriend. . The club was growing tired of this new scene. been cut to the quick by my remark during the debate. Julie. he was so worried that he had a large coffin made of super-heavy steel gauge built. eventually losing support in the club. for he could place his double bed inside it. [who have] .

I knew Williams had a gun on him so there was a real potential for something ugly to happen. It won’t help to fight it out here. were circling each other saying. when I heard a commotion outside the door. He and the sergeant-at-arms. That most of them had died violently didn’t do much for my spirits. Noms stood atop the 4-metrehigh fence. In early June 2005 I was in my temporary office. helped me convince Williams to get into the car. I was asked to sit on it. When I could no longer sit still on the bench I wandered over to a small graveyard that some club members had chosen for their final resting place. My feet didn’t reach the ground as I swung my legs like a frightened primary school child waiting to see the principal. but I got the message—shut up or cop a flogging. the Jokers’ new president. ‘I think better on my feet. Williams emerged in a state of extreme distress. ‘Yeah?’ and looking for an opportunity to land a punch. monitoring the streets outside. 218 ThE BrOThErhOOds . My guts were in knots and I sweated profusely. Directly across the passage was Williams’s flat. a long-time friend of Williams and a respected senior member of the club. Suddenly the massive iron doors of the clubhouse swung open. It was also made clear Williams was ‘out in bad standings’.’ Brains.’ I said. I peeked out and saw three whizzers (street-level speed dealers) attempting to sell Williams some stuff. got straight to the point. ‘Yeah?’. It was fucking intimidating. A few others positioned themselves to help out Brownie. I think you should wait in the car for me and let me carry on with the meeting I came here for. you will not write about Beachport or the Gypsy Jokers. ‘Arthur. but I declined.’ Considering I’d already written a best-selling book outlining Beachport in great detail. it would be difficult to comply with the demand. along with Brains’ two sons who were also Gypsy Joker members. above Stormy’s brothel. Brownie. Occasionally one would make a noise to warn the other noms about an approaching vehicle or pedestrian. if you ever want to be able to visit any Gypsy Joker clubhouse. ‘It’s my turn now. I then walked into the clubhouse and faced the members.inside first. while I sat outside on a wooden bench. A single stool was placed in front of 30 or so very serious faces. Much discussion followed. I stepped between the two bikies and said to Williams. Kitty.

Not surprisingly. He never arrived at the police meeting later that afternoon. Strong theories swirled around about his fate. There was a Samurai sword. He knew he had enemies. for one.m. The last time Williams was seen he was on his way to see SAPOL and now they wanted to see me! undEr sIEGE 219 . the SA police wanted me to return to South Australia for an interview. So I hightailed it back home to Victoria. The Gypsy Jokers. But I feared he had waded in far too deep with the paedophile stuff. who agreed to meet Williams. It was clear the goods had been stolen from the home of a prominent man suspected of being a member of the paedophile ring. after meeting a prominent antipaedophilia activist at the Gepps Cross Hotel. I knew something terrible had happened to him. The whole thing—the whizzers seeking him out. Yeah. that was par for the course. But the strongest rumours surrounded the paedophile ring. I told Williams I didn’t want anything to do with the paedophile campaign.30 p. the South Australia Police (SAPOL) and several others were fingered as likely suspects. I just felt things were getting out of hand. Williams was seen getting into a white Holden. believe that the finger of suspicion needs to be firmly pointed in that direction. which Williams later told me implicated the man and several associates as paedophiles. I saw the stuff Williams had received. Williams was not the sort of man to just disappear because things were getting too hot.Not drugs. the stuff they had. I knew my safety had been compromised. He was never seen or heard from again. the cops agreeing to meet him so soon—sounded incredibly suspicious to me. He had lived with threats for many years. I was present when he rang and spoke to a superintendent. There were also two large binders and a pocket folder full of either papers or photographs. but as a prominent outlaw bikie club president. I was devastated and terrified. On 14 June at about 2. right. I. They had the most to lose by his activities. but other items. a beautifully carved wooden table and a bag full of small boxes of what appeared to be special-edition coins. Williams bought the stuff and immediately called the police to organise a meeting to show them what he had.

I was emotionally and mentally exhausted by the entire episode. I finally got a call from Bannon. my knowledge of Williams’s anti-paedophile campaign. Amid all this. be present during the interview. feeling as though I’d been through an emotional wringer. ‘Who are all these people?’ she asked. Superintendent Brendan Bannon is one of only three Victoria Police to have won the prestigious King George medal for bravery. ‘God. I was taken to the Mirboo North Police Station. I stalled the SA police by insisting a Victorian police officer. So I held firm for 10 days until I could speak with Bannon. I had agreed that the SAPOL interview would be officially videorecorded at a police station. to tell the cops everything I knew. I had a nightmare on my hands. I was between a rock and a hard place. I’d worked closely with him on other ventures where he proved himself to be a tough Harley-riding cop who won’t back down. Elizabeth. heading for remote Broome in Western Australia. unannounced. I politely declined. I even turned SAPOL away from my house while I waited. I was really in the sweat box—big time. who I knew to be straight as an arrow. Just then my wife. at my house at 7. Three hours later I was dropped home. I got a call from Williams’s sister pleading with me. I reckon it took me a year and a half to get myself back on track with my work. the Hell’s Angels contacted me to offer their help if I wanted it. We had a house full of children—my kids had several friends sleeping over.Between the cops wanting me to talk. Unfortunately he was on holidays. However.15 a. bleary eyed. who assigned another officer to supervise SAPOL when they came to Victoria to interview me. The phone call from Williams’s sister had weighed heavily on me so I spilled my guts.m. and the pressure of the bikie code of silence. on behalf of the family. walked out. I planned on saying nothing. having just woken up. telling them everything I knew about the circumstances leading up to Williams’s disappearance. how many kids do you have?’ asked one policeman. So you can imagine my surprise when a cop car arrived. 220 ThE BrOThErhOOds .

so they voted him out in bad standings. of firm white crystals. I decided it wouldn’t be wise to get involved in that sort of shit. I wandered into the clubhouse to be confronted by Kitty holding a large bag. I told him to get fucked. Freedom Rights Environment Educate (FREE) Australia Party. The condition was agreed. One day. Here’s how it works: • The Police Commissioner applies to the Attorney-General to declare an organisation a criminal organisation. Chilla had called me on behalf of the club executive to tell me I was a dead man as I had talked to the police about club business. So. the Serious and Organised Crime Control Act was enacted. resistance to Premier Rann’s moral panic dived. which I politely declined. It’s easily the most draconian set of laws in Australia. or the distance. Wisely or not. before Williams was kicked out of the club. A new political party. They eventually dragged him into a drug rehab program. particularly at the clubhouse. Kitty was one of two Gypsy Jokers who had threatened me after Williams was kicked out. The club decided he was fucked. on the condition the clubs cleaned out the criminals in their ranks and that a forum was set up to manage conflict between the clubs. Kitty was quick to offer me a snort of speed. finally got on top of him. was worth the trouble. He wanted the club to travel 900 kilometres to deal with me. the Gypsy Jokers SA president. on 4 September 2008. aged 34. The WA Gypsy Jokers were eventually called over to handle Kitty as they’d recently dealt with a similar problem in their chapter. In 2008. the club secretary. By all accounts he was a major player in the criminal element of the club. However. the South Australian Serious and Organised Crime (Control) Act came into effect. Six months later Chilla had a massive heart attack and died. if not the world. I can’t say I was upset to hear the news. I agreed to advise FREE. undEr sIEGE 221 . but luckily most of the members didn’t think I. With all this shit going on. Kitty had acquired nasty brain damage from his profuse drug use and was beyond rehabilitation. However. was formed to fight the new laws. The other was Chilla.In June 2006 the drug habit of Kitty. about 5 kilograms. an uneasy truce settled on my relationship with the Gypsy Jokers and the other Adelaide bikie clubs.

entering or being in the vicinity of declared organisation’s premises. on application by the Police Commissioner. Then there are the control orders. • No reasons or justification for the declaration are required. • When making the decision. • The control order is issued to the person. If the police can’t find the person and believe the person is inside a building. • The Attorney-General can declare an organisation a criminal organisation if members associate for the purpose of organising. – criminal convictions recorded by current or former members. the Attorney-General can consider: – evidence of a link between the organisation and serious criminal activity. planning. with public submissions to be received within 28 days. with members of the organisation (whether directly or indirectly). supporting or engaging in serious criminal activity and the organisation represents a risk to public safety and order. makes a control order against a member of a declared organisation. or they can attach the control order to the door of the premises. 222 ThE BrOThErhOOds . or have associated. the police can leave the control order with someone over 16 years of age. • The Magistrates Court. facilitating. • No information about the evidence collected to inform the control order can be made public—this is classified as Criminal Intelligence. • A control order prohibits associating or communicating with persons from a declared organisation. possessing specified articles. or anti freedom-of-association laws. persons who associate.• The Attorney-General must advertise the application. • The control order can prohibit possession of ‘an article’ (unspecified) and authorise police to enter any premises to search for and take possession of an article. The control order can be issued without notice. possessing a dangerous article or a prohibited weapon.

is or has been a member of a declared organisation. counselling or therapy of a prescribed kind. Exceptions are spouse. objection can be lodged with the Magistrates Court. or knew the person was the subject of a control order. email or other electronic means. • Senior police may make a public safety order against a person considered a risk to public safety or security.• A person who contravenes or fails to comply with a control order is guilty of an offence. This includes communication by letter. A member is defined as a director or officer of a body corporate. • If the public safety order operates for more than seven days. rehabilitation. or with a person subject to a control order. training or education. The person has to know the other person was a member of a declared organisation. is or has been subject to control orders. A person who has a criminal conviction cannot associate with another person with a criminal conviction. or has been an associate with members of a declared organisation. attending a specified event or entering or being within a specified area. with a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. An associate is someone who associates more than five times during a 12-month period with a member of a declared organisation. Appeals head to the Supreme Court. • A person may object to the Magistrates Court within 14 days of receiving a control order. The police will consider whether the person has previously posed a serious risk to public safety. A public safety order can prohibit a person or a group from entering or being on a specified premises. parents. an associate member or prospective member. has a history of serious criminal activity. telephone. The penalty carries a maximum of five years’ imprisonment. with appeals heading to the Supreme Court. sister or guardian and associations because of lawful occupation. brother. and a person who is treated by the organisation as if they belong to the organisation. a person who identifies themselves as belonging to the organisation. grandparents. undEr sIEGE 223 . is an associate. fax. or former spouse.

under the legislation. police and government bureaucrats deciding upon the guilt or innocence of an organisation’s criminal status. For instance. It is so secretive. one no longer enjoys the right to have a lawyer present during questioning. My major concern with this is that all judges in South Australia are political appointments. Under the SA laws.• Contravening or failing to comply with a public safety order carries a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment. removing the ability to control any abuse of state power by corrupt cops or other public officials. the burden of proof has been dropped to civil rather than criminal standards and the judiciary now has been all but excluded from the process. and under the new legislation. the legislation is so draconian that it is doomed. there is no right to appeal decisions made by the ‘special tribunal’ or court. at which point the house would become the property of the state. Absolute power resides with the Attorney-General. his parents’ house was confiscated. Also. it is scary—no reasons. No argument or defence is allowed in this yearly review. in Western Australia a drug dealer kept his ‘stash’ in the attic of his aged parents’ house (his dad was 75. evidence or justification for a declaration and no warning given to the organisation. The basis of our legal system is checks and balances. In my opinion. He told them he was insulating the house. 224 ThE BrOThErhOOds . and the asset-forfeiture aspect of the legislation has been shown in Western Australia to have the unintended consequences of affecting innocent third parties. and appeals are an essential element of this process. He was busted. his mum 74). the SA anti-bikie laws set a new benchmark for draconian measures. with politicians. The only accountability seems to come from the annual review by a retired judge. They were to be evicted until the Premier—presumably aware of the electoral backlash—allowed them to live in their home until they died. For example. for it violates rights dating back to the Magna Carta—almost 800 years ago and upon which our legal system is based. and there is no Corruption Commission. As you can see.

There must be a means of appeal at some stage of the process of adding to the list.’ Mr Atkinson told the media after his declaration. that these members have been involved with criminal activity including 173 convictions of drug offences. an official federal list of organized crime groups would need plenty of procedural safeguards. On 14 May 2009. The process of adding a group to the list. SA Attorney-General Michael Atkinson declared the Finks a ‘serious criminal organisation’. ex-members and associates. including highly sensitive material. ideally a judicial one. 263 property offences. The declaration covered 48 members. prosecutors will just have to tough it out for the sake of due process. rape and sexual assault. Normally I would say with undEr sIEGE 225 . as there are for the terror-groups list. ‘In my opinion the Finks are an organisation that project such fear in sections of society that they are able to make a mockery of our criminal justice system. Periodic review of the list must be a requirement. more than 160 violent offences. are seeking to challenge the laws and the declaration in the High Court. and the justice committee should take the task of framing them seriously. The Finks. In an advertisement announcing the declaration in The Australian newspaper. objective criteria for inclusion. Otherwise. 137 convictions for firearms and weapons offences. more than 40 counts of blackmail and many counts [of] theft. Mr Atkinson said: I have accepted that the police have presented sufficient reliable evidence and other information that members of the Finks Motorcycle Club are involved in serious and organised crime. along with other clubs.There is alarm over these types of laws all over the world. and the evidence used to make that determination—all of it—must be public and transparent. And there must be firm. many shootings. Canada’s National Post expressed its concern over similar Canadian laws in an opinion titled ‘Even the devil must have the benefit of law’: One way or another.

however. in the 12 months to November 2008. On 8 April 2009. And now. almost two-thirds were not actually bikie club members. But SA government figures show that of the 283 people arrested by the taskforce. 226 ThE BrOThErhOOds . a newly established SA anti-bikie police taskforce made hundreds of arrests and gun seizures. the rest of Australia looks set to emulate these tough laws to fight the bikie surge after a moment of sickening madness at Sydney Airport in March 2009. a clear sign the club was the next target in Rann’s war. Whether the clubs deserve this treatment can be debated for years. the same court supported aspects of similar legislation in Western Australia in December 2008.confidence that the High Court would rule against the government. 20 Gypsy Jokers were arrested in South Australia. That these laws emanated from the decision of one senior copper to go looking for trouble late at night in a country pub seems incongruous and bizarre. But it’s clear that Premier Rann saw a political opportunity to play tough by dealing the law-and-order card against a high-profile enemy—bikies. And none of the arrests required the new anti-bikie laws. Is it a coincidence the two clubs who led the charge against the Rann government in the early phases of the campaign could be the first two clubs prosecuted under the new legislation? Interestingly. which was said to have prevented about 50 000 street deals of illicit drugs from taking place.

the president of the Hell’s Angels Sydney city chapter. The aisle of a Boeing 767 seems an unlikely place to spark a deadly bikie feud. But as Comanchero Motorcycle Club president Mahmoud ‘Mick’ Hawi boarded flight QF 430 from Melbourne to Sydney on Sunday 22 March 2009. along with up to four fellow Comancheros. Ironically Wainohu was returning from a meeting in Adelaide to discuss the club’s response to South Australia’s tough new bikie laws. was returning from a party. In fact Hawi. if any. that’s exactly what happened. of his fellow passengers would have picked Hawi as a kingpin outlaw bikie. dressed as he was in a very unbikie-esque all-white outfit.Chapter sixteen fLiGhT And fiGhT If looks could kill. the die was cast. heavily tattooed man. or was taken by surprise. he scanned the faces before him. The midday shuttle would likely have been filled with tired revellers returning to Sydney from an array of weekend parties and family celebrations in the southern city. they did. Whether Hawi was seeking out his target. but the moment he set his sights on Derek Wainohu. None of those encounters was pleasant—the most recent ending in violence. As Hawi entered the plane and walked down the aisle. Few. This time. we can’t be sure. had crossed paths with Hawi many times. No doubt the growing dispute with . Wainohu. a solid. tragically.

228 ThE BrOThErhOOds . the Comanchero party was bolstered by another five club members who had answered the call to the airport. The two men reportedly stared at each other. a club that had become increasingly violent and erratic in recent years. he was greeted by Hell’s Angels Sydney city chapter sergeant-at-arms Peter Zervas and his younger brother. According to statements later tendered to court: [A] witness observed [Hawi] call out something to Derek Wainohu. which developed into pushing and shoving. in seat 39K. That the presidents of two of the hardest outlaw bikie clubs in Sydney found themselves seated only metres from each other on a flight was incredible.’ Both parties are believed to have sent text messages calling for back-up to be at Sydney Airport when they arrived. As the flight taxied to the arrival gate. but family ties. with one witness saying Hawi made a gesture at Wainohu. He then pointed to his eyeball with another finger on the same hand. Wainohu and the Comancheros jumped to their feet to get off the flight. barbs were exchanged between Wainohu and the Comancheros. Anthony Zervas. Anthony Zervas was not a Hell’s Angel. ‘I am going to kill you. was also raised at that meeting. Witnesses described both camps as agitated. During the 60-minute flight. let’s go. That it happened as their clubs were engaged in an increasingly violent war made it a tragedy. the amount of time he hung around the club. cunt. Meanwhile. I am going to kill you. [They] observed Wainohu turn around and [Hawi] then put his left hand up to his face and pull the skin under his eye down slightly with his finger to reveal the pink of his eye .the Comancheros. . let’s go. . The Hell’s Angels and Comancheros began abusing each other.’ one of the bikies is alleged to have yelled. One of the Comancheros reportedly said: ‘C’mon on boys. and. Hawi and his mates then found their seats in rows 43 and 44. his involvement in club business made him closely associated with the club.’ As Wainohu entered the terminal. Hawi was alleged to have told his mates: ‘Get the boys to meet us at the other end. just a few rows behind Wainohu.

’ While fellow passengers attempted to revive Anthony Zervas. 12 alleged members of the Comancheros had been charged with murder. go. at 1. modelled on the SA anti-bikie laws. According to police. while others grabbed steel bollards and began swinging them like swords. Another Comanchero was arrested in the airport car park. fLIGhT and fIGhT 229 . The four Comancheros in the taxi were arrested in inner-city Brighton-Le-Sands. the reaction was intense. his brother cradled him. Four Comancheros allegedly jumped in a taxi. was also arrested and charged with riot and affray. Police arrived on the scene minutes after the fight. was involved in the fight. At the time this book went to print. with the Comancheros fleeing the building. His head was allegedly smashed with a bollard. along with another Hell’s Angels member and a Hell’s Angels associate. who was reportedly wearing a Hell’s Angels singlet. Anthony Zervas allegedly produced two knives. meeting in an explosion of violence. the head of the Federal Police was under fire because the fight occurred under his watch. pleading for him to hang on. yelling ‘Go. Despite hundreds of passengers milling around. ‘distinctively dressed in a white T-shirt and white long pants’.From there. from both within the clubs and the public. the shit hit the fan. Then. a man. while the media churned out acres of newsprint and commentators went into apoplexy releasing their venom on the bikies. sparking a massive manhunt. The fight. But it was too late. the two groups charged towards each other. The NSW government immediately vowed to introduce tough new laws. He eventually turned himself in to police a fortnight after the killing and was charged with murder. prompting a later sideshow political storm as to why they were so slow. then bashing and kicking him. Zervas died on the terminal floor. Anthony Zervas took the brunt of the attack. with the Comancheros knocking him to the ground. go. Peter Zervas. each by a different gate about 80 metres apart.45 p. Hawi initially managed to escape capture. and why there were not more cops at the airport. a Comanchero stronghold. As you can imagine.m. Derek Wainohu was not arrested. which involved up to 18 men. the parties went their separate ways until they both entered the arrivals hall. was over in seconds.

massage parlours and drug dealers. a club closely associated with the Hell’s Angels. Such was the bond between Ibrahim and Craig that on 9 July 1997 Craig handed over control of the Nomads Parramatta chapter to Ibrahim. allegedly controlled security in Kings Cross. in evidence to the mid-’90s Wood Royal Commission. the national president of the Nomads Motorcycle Club.I was immediately under siege. but the charges were later dropped. drop-outs and druggies. it’s a magnet for the underbelly of Australian society. entry standards dropped. violence. the dregs. Also charged in that same secret police operation was Greg Craig. at that point. but I could see it coming. With the riding rules out the window. and ownership of a motorcycle became optional. In the mid-1990s Ibrahim and his brother. they were accused of being the ‘lifeblood of the drugs industry in Kings Cross’. As you would imagine. No two rule changes could strike at the heart of an outlaw motorcycle club more than those. the Nomads and Sam Ibrahim crossed paths frequently. To discover the foundation of this disaster. enabling Ibrahim to throw open the doors of the club to his minions. the notorious—remember that word—seedy capital not just of Sydney. with a flood of media requests for comments about what had happened. mainly young men of Lebanese and Turkish descent who had no allegiance to motorcycling or respect for the rules of the traditional club. effectively ceased being a motorcycle club and became a street gang. The Nomads Parramatta chapter. A den of strip clubs. This was clearly an outrageous move by both parties. we need to head to King’s Cross. I was as disgusted as the next guy by the sickening incident. He rammed through two significant rule changes: the club’s riding rules were dropped. The Nomads. owned a number of nightclubs in the Cross. there’s always a long and sordid tale of treachery. John. And the despots—people such as Hassan ‘Sam’ Ibrahim. power and revenge. to the point where each relied heavily on the other to go about their respective businesses. but of Australia. with Ibrahim taking over the club by buying the votes of members to swing the power of the club in his favour. Nothing wrong with that except. 230 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Ibrahim immediately became the chapter president. With all bikie wars. In 1997 Sam Ibrahim was charged with supplying cocaine.

sick of the growing violence. He had no authority to order his members around. and he commanded zero respect when dealing with rival clubs. There was never any pretext that club members would even go near a motorcycle. In 2004 there was a shoot-out between the Nomads Parramatta and Newcastle chapters. With his jailing. a street gang pretending to be an outlaw motorcycle club. ‘A bunch of kids. Notorious had none of the rules or structures of a motorcycle club. who felt he was trashing their brand. Coincidentally. The Nomads are very strong in New South Wales with at least eight chapters. While it wore the patches and colours of a motorcycle club. There has never been a purer example of a bunch of Nike bikies. called on the national executive to hold a vote to determine if the Parramatta rule changes were legitimate. The police had no doubts this club was a criminal fLIGhT and fIGhT 231 . the Nomads’ Newcastle clubhouse was bombed. Finally. watching Ibrahim’s takeover in disgust. the Nomads Parramatta chapter was closed down. kicked Ibrahim and several of his key allies out of the club. The club’s vehicle of choice was a four-wheel drive. which controlled the drug trade in Kings Cross. Notorious was a small club formed by former Parramatta Nomad Todd O’Connor. (This is a derogatory term for bikies who don’t ride motorcycles. from Byron Bay on the northern coast to Wodonga on the Victorian border. Ibrahim was eventually jailed in 2006 for his part in the Newcastle shoot-out. But before that vote could go ahead.’ sneered one senior Nomad. Things broke down so badly that open warfare developed within the club. The Newcastle chapter. heading the Nomads’ drug faction. who’d been kicked out of the Nomads along with Ibrahim. They earn the tag for their preference for sports shoes over riding boots. usually black with heavily tinted windows. not having undergone the arduous nominee period of the old-school bikies.To the other clubs. then the Parramatta chapter clubhouse was bombed. and still is. Of course. Notorious was. Ibrahim was a joke. The most pissed off were his fellow Nomads. O’Connor was a nasty piece of work. the Parramatta Nomads were the only suspects. around this time a new club hit the scene.) Notorious’ entry pissed off everyone. the Nomads national leadership.

‘I’ve got nothing to do with Notorious—it was [formed] when I was in jail. So bold were these defectors. police found several kilograms of cocaine. . saying he merely knew some of its members. and bitter about the closure of the Nomads chapter. . (By the way. when I was locked up? I know people from all the gangs but I’m telling you—I have retired . and the national president Scott Orrock’s tattoo shop was riddled with bullets. more than $500 000 in cash. 2 and 3. Among these was Mahmoud Dib. when O’Connor’s home was searched after his death. I’m sick of this shit. Around about the same time. who hated the Bandidos and have always been closely aligned to the Nomads. 232 ThE BrOThErhOOds .’ he said. they openly referred to themselves as coming from the Nomads Parramatta chapter long after they became Bandidos. speed and ecstasy. This would be a first in the outlaw club world and a real thumb in the eye to the Hell’s Angels. denied he had any involvement with Notorious.’ ‘Ibrahim left the Nomads while he was on remand. Ibrahim. O’Connor was killed in typical bikie fashion—ambushed in public—and the Nomads were suspects 1. He was telling people he was planning to start up his own club. Allan Sarkis. Notorious appeared. How could I have anything to do with Notorious. another of Ibrahim’s Nomads recruits. one of Ibrahim’s recruits when he took over the Nomads. who is now sergeant-at-arms of the Parramatta Bandidos chapter.) While some members formed Notorious when the Parramatta Nomads chapter was disbanded. many members moved to the Parramatta Bandidos. who was released from prison in 2009. O’Connor was no unfortunate innocent. the Nomads’ Grenville clubhouse was firebombed. is now president of Notorious after O’Connor was shot dead in October 2008.organisation intent on muscling into the Sydney drug trade. and a number of handguns and other arms. It’s an assessment I have to agree with. ‘Jail took two years of my life. I just want everyone to leave me alone. Not long after Notorious arrived on the scene. Ibrahim certainly has strong connections with the club.’ said one investigator monitoring the scene.

when a Bandido fell off ‘his’ motorcycle during a funeral run. The Bandidos–Rebels war has intensified in recent years. In Sydney in late 2008 there were allegedly 13 separate drive-by shootings between the Bandidos and the Rebels in just over a month. an almighty blue broke out between the two clubs. the two clubs were at each other’s throat from the first day as they battled for control of the Kings Cross drug trade. it was inevitable the Hell’s Angels would be dragged into the war. When Dib’s car was shot at in March 2009. a city 70 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. With the Nomads in dispute with Notorious. It’s been widely reported that in 1997 Bandidos president Michael Kulakowski had an affair with a Rebel’s girlfriend. And despite many Bandidos and Notorious members coming from the same Nomads chapter.In taking on many of the Parramatta Nomads. for a long time. Never was this clearer than in 2008. The Rebels. including the motorcycleriding rules. the Bandidos and Comancheros have been arch enemies since they split into two clubs. When the affair came to light. fLIGhT and fIGhT 233 . The Nomads have. are also arch enemies of the Bandidos. with the Rebels national executive effectively declaring war on the Bandidos. Of course. A series of tit-for-tat arson attacks on each club’s respective clubhouses and drive-by shootings of members and associates of both clubs culminated in the shooting murder of Bandido enforcer Ross Brand outside the clubhouse in late 2008. Three men associated with the Rebels were charged over the attack. acted as a feeder club for the Hell’s Angels. and are still awaiting trial as this book goes to print. First of all. Notorious was blamed. The Comancheros were accused of bombing a high-ranking Notorious member’s car. it was obvious the Bandidos had dropped their entry standards. the rest of the Sydney clubs hated Notorious. Much of the battle between the two clubs has been waged in Geelong. the biggest bikie club in New South Wales. which led to the 1984 Milperra massacre. With the Bandidos entering this story it’s not long before the other hardcore clubs became involved. Then there’s the Hell’s Angels.

In an attempt to head off a fresh round of violence. the first in Australia. smack bang in Comanchero territory. but in 2006 a new Hell’s Angels chapter opened in inner-city Sydney. which created a potentially explosive situation between the two clubs. but an uneasy truce has existed between the two for many years. The second major catalyst was Peter Zervas. The blast knocked out windows two blocks away. Known as the City Crew. with a Comanchero injured when hit by the gun. Four Hell’s Angels kneecapped a Comanchero a few days later. In 2005 Zervas was jailed after firing at a group of Comancheros. apparently in retaliation. How no one was injured I’ll never know. In January 2009 came another bombing. From that point. Anthony Zervas reportedly barged into the meeting brandishing a shotgun. When this new Hell’s Angels chapter arrived. The next day Peter Zervas’s tattoo parlour was sprayed with bullets. the club was too close for comfort for the Comancheros. with the Hell’s Angels city chapter clubhouse blown apart. There has always been a Sydney Hell’s Angels chapter. with the masked gunman reportedly riding a motorcycle. Hell’s Angels president Derek Wainohu and Comanchero boss Mick Hawi agreed to meet to thrash out a settlement. But two events occurred that pushed both clubs over the edge. A fight broke out. based in inner-city Brighton Le Sands. Much of the reason for this relative peace was that the Comancheros is a NSW-focused club. He was released from prison in 2008 and immediately opened a tattoo parlour in Brighton Le Sands. The first reported incident was the bombing of a Comanchero tattoo parlour in mid-2008. The Comancheros were number-one suspects. the fighting started in earnest. While the meeting was underway.The Hell’s Angels and the Comancheros have always been enemies. while the Hell’s Angels are stronger in Melbourne. About six months later the Hell’s Angels clubhouse was firebombed. In October 2008 the parlour closed down after being firebombed. it was clear the dispute was beyond mediation. It was clearly a provocative move by the Hell’s Angels sergeant-at-arms. A few weeks later it was shot at again. but it was strongly rumoured 234 ThE BrOThErhOOds .

The moment Zervas died. who lived there. had planted the bomb in the belief the Comancheros would be blamed. both politically and among the clubs. It was believed these two clubs. with only a small gathering of Hell’s Angels attending. He immediately disappeared. Hawi turned himself in to police 15 days after the shooting. Then there was the deceased. ordering his troops not to wear colours or ride their motorcycles in the days after Zervas’s death. Two days before he died. passed without incident. and was charged over the airport brawl. They were outside yelling the man’s name and pressing the intercom buttons for all the units for 20 minutes. The Hell’s Angels and other clubs had been ambushed enough times by the Comancheros to take this olive branch with a grain of salt. It’s not an uncommon tactic in the outlaw bikie world. He then called for peace talks. Through his lawyer Hawi attempted to position himself as a peacemaker. Zervas stabbed an off-duty policeman and threatened to kill him. The policeman. So too did the repercussions. a hollow and cynical gesture as far as I could see. Talk flooded the street immediately after Zervas’s death that the Hell’s Angels had placed a bounty on Hawi’s head. The club world went onto high alert two days after Zervas’s death when a Rebel was shot in broad daylight in Canberra. fLIGhT and fIGhT 235 . This was despite Hawi’s alleged movement in the airport brawl. long-time Hell’s Angels enemies. In the context of all these conflicts. went outside and told them to piss off.the Finks and Rebels could have been to blame. But this turned out to be a personal dispute. although I suspect being nabbed by the police was not his main worry at that time. the Sydney airport death had an air of inevitably. and the ensuing public funeral. with 300 Rebels in attendance. Ironically.’ before stabbing the policeman twice. So too did Anthony Zervas’s funeral in Sydney on 27 March. Zervas allegedly told him: ‘Watch yourself or I will kill you. the bombing came just two weeks after Wainohu told the Motorcycle Council of New South Wales that there were no current club wars. Hawi knew he was a marked man. The media pack far outnumbered the bikies. Anthony Zervas. Zervas and a mate allegedly went to a block of units looking for another man.

I’ll leave Zervas’s mum to have the final say on this episode. and unrelated to any bikie war. He refused police protection after he left hospital. ‘Bikie violence. He said the behaviour of the bikie clubs and ‘others engaged in criminal action’ was ‘absolutely unacceptable’. hip and foot. a lawyer known to represent a number of Hell’s Angels was found dead in his home. It’s not clear whether he spoke to police while inside. commenting to the media the day he checked himself out of hospital: ‘He’s stable. He managed to phone a friend. the death of Anthony Zervas sparked a firestorm of condemnation. It is unacceptable.’ Zervas discharged himself from hospital a week after being admitted and a few days after being operated on for bullet wounds to his shoulder. Superintendent Mal Lanyon. A week after his brother was killed. just 11 days after Anthony Zervas died. ‘I find it unacceptable. who was visiting US President Barack Obama when the brawl occurred.’ Adding further fuel to a potentially explosive situation. and organised criminal activity from my point of view should have zero tolerance. despite speculation by the cops that he would break the bikie code of silence from his hospital bed. but police were quick to declare his death a suicide. torso.Then came an incident that had the potential to launch an all-out war.’ he said. Peter Zervas was shot in the driveway of his apartment. who found him collapsed in a pool of his own blood. stirring up trouble among the bikie clubs to take the heat off themselves. told ABC Radio after the shooting: ‘I think it’s probably realistic that we will be looking at other motorcycle gangs. Politically. The media went into hyper drive. but he’s still got a few bullets in him.’ Imagine his embarrassment when it was revealed a few days later that men allegedly linked to a bikie club had been allowed access to 236 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. with many believing it was a pre-emptive strike before Zervas could avenge his brother’s death. The Comancheros were the main suspects. Others speculated Notorious may have had a hand in it. It’s repugnant. In a beautiful piece of understatement. took time to throw his weight behind heavier sanctions against bikie clubs. bikie thugs. the commander of the NSW Police Gangs Squad.

Dressed like bikies. Bandidos Parramatta chapter sergeant-at-arms. in the days following Zervas’s death. Meanwhile. so the police eventually let them into the grounds and into the care of Lodge staff. The men went about their business unsupervised for at least an hour. they all had documents that indicated they had been cleared by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. ‘The police on duty . In that first month. raiding homes connected with the men charged with the Zervas attack. for fear bikies may attempt to get their hands on machine guns. the politicians went to work behind the scenes. the Prime Minister’s official Canberra residence. drafting the new New South Wales laws. Raptor arrested more than 50 bikies and laid 120 charges.45 calibre semi-automatic pistol found in a car. charged over a loaded . the force swept through Sydney. swooping on bikies. nabbed with 26 Alprazolam tablets on him. security at Sydney’s Defence Force weapons storage facilities was increased. with the ability to declare a group a criminal organisation at its heart. Strike Force Raptor was an unprecedented 75-member force that set to work immediately. Notably. the president of Notorious.’ NSW Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell told Parliament. They were based on SA laws. and Mahmoud Dib. Over the following month. . . among the arrests were that of Allan Sarkis. Just hours after Zervas’s death. mortars and rocket launchers stored inside. The political rhetoric in the days after the airport killing was some of the strongest I’ve ever heard in relation to outlaw bikies. were uneasy. The first move was to establish a tough new police team. ‘I would have no problem if you put all the outlaw motorcycle gang members in two rooms and allowed them to shoot themselves to death.’ the ABC reported. charging them for crimes ranging from drug trafficking. and no one knew what they actually did while there. the NSW government was talking tough on new laws to rein in the bikies.The Lodge. It was reported that in late 2008 four men lobbed at The Lodge saying they were maintenance workers. fLIGhT and fIGhT 237 . weapons possession and previously unsolved shootings. given that the men were tattooed and dressed like bikies but they had what appeared to be legitimate documentation and it all checked out. Meanwhile.

’ The new laws basically worked the same way as the SA anti-bikie laws. amid unfounded fears he may have had access to sensitive registration and licensing details.’ The neighbouring state of Queensland. earning $100 000 a year as a technical expert on vehicle and industrial safety at the Roads and Traffic Authority. The NSW government went into a spin when it was revealed Derek Wainohu was a government employee. They aim to give no second chance to those [who are part] of an illegal gang. In introducing the laws. such as the shift of burden in criminal cases from ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ to ‘on the balance of probabilities’. The government immediately suspended him. the NSW anti-bikie laws were passed.NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said: ‘If these people want to act like terrorists. These are tough and well-constructed laws. we’ll deal with them like they’re terrorists. We think it is an overreaction to the situation. less than two weeks after Zervas’s death. but they at least contained some checks and balances. Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman said governments were being too hasty in ramming through antibikie laws. ‘The Law Society was totally surprised at the speed at which the legislation has been presented. terrified that the outlaw clubs would roar over the border to take safe refuge. for instance.’ Mr Catanzariti said. NSW Premier Nathan Rees said: ‘Ten days ago bikie gangs crossed the line. But there were some nasty surprises. The laws sparked alarm among civil libertarians and the legal community. 238 ThE BrOThErhOOds . I believe the High Court will surely reject the change to this long-established precedent to our legal system. also announced it would introduce similar laws. could monitor police actions. On Friday 3 April. Since then there have been frequent shootings in public streets. NSW Law Society president Joe Catanzariti said the laws ‘simply will lead to people going underground’. which was formerly the differentiating factor between civil and criminal law. given that we thought it was going to be more considered and deliberate. An Independent Crime and Corruption Commission.

ATTITUDES or GRIEVANCES past or present should be brought up.’ It became evident that the first clubs in the government’s sights were the Rebels and Comancheros. Also. fLIGhT and fIGhT 239 . In fact. The clubs had already been watching developments in South Australia. in the weeks prior to Zervas’s death. NO ISSUES. has long got up the nose of the NSW police for his obvious wealth and the power he commands over the largest club in the nation. due to the high-profile nature of their conflicts leading up to the airport killing. All the outlaw clubs were stunned as events unfolded. . Expected too [sic] be prior May ’09 at this stage. Derek Wainohu had appealed to all the NSW clubs to meet to discuss the South Australian laws. Alex Vella. This meeting WILL be NEUTRAL for ALL concerned. I believe. . There is a good chance we will have a legal eagle there too [sic] answer and clarify any misunderstanding or wording in the bill. In his open letter to the clubs he wrote: A meeting is being organised for (MIN) 2 representatives from each OUTLAW club in NSW too [sic] discuss the new SA bikie laws.‘There’s no reason to hurry these laws through. once we establish numbers and most suitable location. Federal and state Labor politicians are with effortless ease about to import draconian anti-terror legislation into mainstream criminal law. ‘There hasn’t been a threat for bikies to take over all of society .’ he told the media. The meeting will be planned for a NEUTRAL location of which attendees will be told. the Rebels’ larger-than-life president. horrified those laws would spread throughout the nation. Wholly and solely this meeting is about protecting OUR futures as club members and our family and lifestyles which ARE at great risk of being lost. This meeting is being organised too [sic] lay ground work and discuss ways at which we are able too [sic] attack this Bill should the powers too [sic] be in NSW decide too [sic] adopt it down the track.

the meeting resolved to adopt Queensland’s United Motorcycle Council as a model to stop the violence. and deals directly with the police to halt trouble before it occurs. 240 ThE BrOThErhOOds . part PR exercise. There are two reasons that stand out for me: ethnicity. With Zervas’s death. The real question is why it happened. Attended by Wainohu. Neither the Nomads nor Notorious attended. any members of the Comancheros). in a last-gasp effort at self-regulation. with the media invited along to record the gathering. held a landmark meeting at the Rebels’ Sydney clubhouse. forcing the clubs onto the back foot in an attempt to stop all states adopting the hard line taken by New South Wales and South Australia. A meeting of most of the NSW outlaw clubs was held in Queensland in the days after the laws were introduced. Hell’s Angels. ‘We are here to unite as one voice to reassure the public that there is no ongoing dispute between the clubs. Finks and Comancheros—as well as the Lone Wolves and the God Squad. not only on yourself but your family. So far I have told you what happened. the clubs declared there was no ongoing war among the Sydney clubs. Bandidos. among others (but not.’ God Squad member Fish told the media. it is worth noting. friends and your lifestyle.’ The meeting resolved to form the United Motorcycle Council NSW to fight the new laws and to resolve disputes between the clubs. Black Uhlans. and a lack of political will to tackle the clubs before it was too late. ‘The clubs are united. We are fighting what we think are unfair and unjust laws. Rebels national president Alex Vella and a Bandidos national vice-president.Invite is self explanatory and open too [sic] all those 1% members concerned about the implications these new laws can/will have. This council comprises senior members of almost all the Queensland outlaw clubs. It is an extremely effective model but needs the support of all the warring clubs to work. It mediates disputes among the clubs. six 1% clubs—the Rebels. the legislative horse had bolted. Five weeks after Zervas’s death. Part peace council.

It has been estimated that Notorious. but the most recent NSW crime statistics show that a higher percentage of convictions for violent crime are of people from this background. And when young men with little care for the consequences can see easy money in crime. Until that point the outlaw clubs had the occasional stoush over turf or honour. but managed to exist reasonably peacefully. were flooded with young men of Turkish and Lebanese descent. with their almostzero bikie qualifications entry standards. rather than the criminality that has recently driven the bikie scene. Zoran Kisacanin. with the takeover of the Nomads Parramatta chapter. Michael O’Keefe. Now line up the names of those bikies involved in the violence of the past week. Robert Lane. and I would suggest you would struggle to find more than a handful fLIGhT and fIGhT 241 . Mahmoud Hawi. Mahmoud Dib. These clubs. who did not care for the 1%er lifestyle and the discipline and loyalty. Many of them came from harsh backgrounds that had eroded any respect for authority. Leroy Jeschke. I am not arguing that all people from a Middle Eastern background are criminals. Derek Wainohu. and those of their bosses: Tony McCoy. Gregory Campbell. to a lesser degree. A Sydney Morning Herald article summed it up excellently: Line up the names of the Bandidos and Comanchero shot at Milperra’s Viking Tavern on Father’s Day 1984. the religious background of those involved. Mario Cianter. with the exception of the 1984 Milperra massacre. Ivan Romchek. then the formation of the pseudo-bikie club Notorious. and those of their bosses: Ismail Erden. which is now lauded as Sydney’s most powerful and dangerous gang.I believe that all that you have read about—the violence and drugs—stems from the racial background and. This change in the ethnic groups joining the clubs was the real turning point for the Sydney bikie war. then nothing will stand in their way. But even that war was over personality and turf. Maher Aouli. Anthony Spencer. has up to 200 members. Pomare Pirani. Jock Ross. Hassan Ibrahim.

I have been told. the political will was missing and both men were pulled away from their efforts to counter the clubs—Whyte moved to an anti-terrorism squad and Mack marginalised to an office desk jockey. both these men told me that ‘enough laws were actually in place to accomplish the task except for some minor tweaking of consorting laws’.of Anglo-Saxon names among the membership. However. ‘The police should know when these guys fart’ were my exact words. The Lebs appear to have an endless supply of young recruits just too willing to sacrifice themselves. One of my club contacts explains the situation thus: I believe the gangs are about to implode in a massive war. When the shit hit the fan after the airport fight. between gangs. on ethnic grounds. instead jumping after the horse had bolted by imposing unnecessary 242 ThE BrOThErhOOds . first hand. I can’t see any peace meeting working. Plus. The second problem is the failure of the NSW government to acknowledge it had a problem festering under its nose. Given the hate. But the politicians were too frightened to allow the cops to do what they had to do to clean up the clubs. My advice to both Superintendent Scott Whyte and to Commander Tom Mack was simple: the Big Blue Gang needs to get in there and seriously kick some arse. based on ethnic backgrounds. The Anglos claim the Lebs are the source of their current problems. the Anglos do not have the ability to take on the Lebs and win. I knew these two blokes had the ability to tackle crime in the clubs head on. The Big Blue Gang was ready and able to assert its authority before the situation got out of hand. The hate is intensive. Unfortunately. and then the further fights for turf between the Leb gangs themselves. how much the traditional AngloSaxon gangs now hate the Muslim Lebanese gangs. Until 2007. I advised two senior NSW police officers about the extent of the risk posed by the clubs. most of the traditional Anglos have families and other responsibilities. which apparently now include most of the big name gangs.

Not one thing the NSW government has done since that day will prevent one more crime. not one arrest needed the new laws. laws that may one day be used for situations they were never intended.laws on all NSW’s citizens to tackle a relatively minor problem. All arrests were made using existing laws. Nor will it tackle the real problem—the territorial nature of the clubs. of those 50 bikie arrests made in the month after Zervas’s death. fLIGhT and fIGhT 243 . Ironically. It was merely a case of politicians panicking and telling the police they had to do something about the bikie scourge.

and the growing age of members. And the clubs only have themselves to blame. the riding rules in some clubs have been eroded to the point where not all ‘bikies’ ride a bike.Chapter seventeen ThE finAL run The day an outlaw motorcycle club no longer requires its members to ride a motorcycle is the day that club is no longer a motorcycle club. They were already finding life tough. then South Australia and New South Wales. so the club’s annual run is always a long run to help members meet the rule. I suspect they will find life even tougher. Specifically. with anti-bikie laws unfolding first in Western Australia. roaring across the nation sends a very loud message to . I believe there are three major issues threatening the outlaw clubs: dropping the riding rules. the spread of crime in the clubs. The events that led to the death of a Hell’s Angels associate in Sydney in early 2009 may one day be remembered as those that signalled the death of the outlaw bikie clubs as we currently know them in Australia. Also. In recent years we have seen a major crack emerge in the previously impenetrable club rules. And it is the day a cancer starts to erode the culture of all outlaw clubs. The Rebels’ annual run in May 2009 provides the ultimate demonstration of this. Keep in mind that in the older-style clubs it is mandatory to ride (at the least) 8000–10 000 kilometres a year.

But instead of 300 bikies roaring out of town. These runs always commence and end at the same place. the run was cancelled. so the bikes were loaded back onto the trucks and returned to Sydney. Rebels president Alex Vella read this poem to the media on the morning of the parliamentary protest: This is the freedom ride We will not go and hide We have just come over here To keep the public occupied We are going to ride Around the Adelaide Hills We are hardworking people Who pay the bills The South Australian Premier spoke with lot of hate And with him I’d like to sit down and have a debate. The next day. And these were bikies! The club had planned a run about 50 kilometres from the city the following day—but because it was raining. instead of the usual thousands. it was widely reported that many Rebels members no longer bother holding a motorcycle licence. The total mileage for this once-mighty run was about 21 kilometres. The bikes were delivered to the central clubhouse in Adelaide. The Rebels weren’t allowed to ride by Parliament. usually a state capital clubhouse. So it was with the Rebels’ annual run. Adelaide was chosen to support the notion that wars between the clubs had ended in South Australia. a protest rally was held near Parliament House. and were instead allocated parking about a kilometre away. ThE fInaL run 245 .other clubs of the strength of the club. After this debacle. Ironically. So they parked their bikes and walked to Parliament. which started at its central Sydney chapter clubhouse. No other rides were planned. And a week or so in the saddle camping out builds camaraderie among club members. the motorcycles were loaded onto trucks and club members flew to Adelaide—the destination for the run.

it is a criminal body masquerading as a motorcycle club. I have already stated my belief that genuine bikie clubs are not criminal entities—that clubs don’t commit crimes. was nothing more than a glorified street gang. in their ranks. for it is patently obvious the Rebels have dropped their riding rules. there’s no way an unlicensed rider can be a member of a motorcycle club. or non-riders.I wonder if the ‘freedom ride’ referred to Rebels members. Look at the situation in other countries. the club that has been fighting the Hell’s Angels for years in Canada. The Canadian Hell’s Angels have dropped their riding rules to avoid prosecution under anti-bikie laws. including the need to own and ride a motorcycle. In my opinion. I still hold that belief. who now have the freedom to choose whether to ride or not. Sydney’s Notorious MC is not a motorcycle club. have the money and quickly gain clout in the club. As well as the Rebels. Comancheros and Outlaws allow Nike bikies. But consider this—many of those clubs that have grown in membership in leaps and bounds in recent years have done so because they have dropped their strict entry requirements. In my opinion. Clubs that allow unlicensed riders as members are at the highest risk of criminal activity. they need look no further than the bike with dints and scratches—from where the rider keeps dropping it. Compare the Rebels’ effort to the Coffin Cheaters’ 2008 run from Perth to Rockhampton. Clubs increasingly desperate for members have dropped the riding rule. The Rock Machine. they ‘buy off’ members to get their vote. Pagans. the Bandidos. With plenty of cash to throw around. for with the dropping of the rigid rules comes the crime. These Nike bikies are usually crims who infiltrate the club. and you start to get a picture of the gulf between some clubs. And the many Canadian Hell’s Angels chapters that have sprung up in recent years have 246 ThE BrOThErhOOds . the members do. a distance of about 4500 kilometres. The same goes for the Sydney Comancheros and Bandidos chapters—these clubs have been so deeply infiltrated by criminals that they no longer deserve to carry the MC moniker. despite seemingly growing evidence to the contrary. If the police really want to know which clubs are likely to be criminal-controlled entities.

Let me tell you a story that illustrates how skewed the outlaw clubs have become. well armed and backed by those motorcycle clubs that have dropped their riding rules and probationary periods? This appears to be the most likely explanation. some Ulysses club members were wearing a three-piece patch. The incident sparked a fair dose of outrage on biker forums until current or former 1%ers defended the Rebels. It may be that Notorious has the backing of the Comancheros and Bandidos. The Ulysses club.done so on the back of a strong criminal influence and lowered entry standards. In 2006 at a rally in Canberra. their patches torn from their vests. Among the outlaw clubs this is a no-no—only the 1%er clubs are allowed to wear three-piece patches. It’s unlikely the 1% motorcycle clubs will disappear entirely. So. ‘Remember rule Number One. the Comancheros and Bandidos have dropped their riding rules yet still wear the 1% badge is a major shame for 1% culture. why is Notorious allowed to get away with mimicking the traditional 1%ers with its three-piece patch when the Ulysses club wasn’t? Is it simply that Notorious is too strong. then they are finished.’ a 1% club member said. is some clubs morphing ThE fInaL run 247 . is considered a 10% club. A scuffle broke out and some Ulysses bikers were thrown to the ground. and will see more of in the future. The fact Notorious. A 73-year-old woman from the Ulysses club was injured and several others received some pretty rough treatment. the change this is forcing on the clubs is as momentous an event as when the 1% outlaw clubs arrived on the scene in 1947. Some Rebels confronted the Ulysses members and demanded they rip off the patches. and the other 1% clubs are too gutless and powerless to defend their patches. Rule Number One is that only 1% clubs can wear a three-piece patch. What we are seeing. That the Rebels would assault some elderly bikers and risk condemnation from the rest of the biker world showed how seriously they took their commitment to the 1%er way of life. which is open only to members aged over 50. The Ulysses club president ultimately issued an edict that its members must not wear three-piece patches. which themselves have transformed into truly criminal entities. For me. If this has happened.

They have worked successfully in some places. But it won’t be easy. the tourist beach strip that straddles New South Wales and Queensland. These councils are by no means a panacea for the clubs. too late. Of course. are territorial beasts that know of no other way to defend that territory than through violence. It is a tactic I recommended for many years as a way to distance themselves from the criminal clubs and also to prove to the public and politicians that they are fair dinkum about cleaning up their backyard. tougher laws against bikies 248 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Time will tell whether the Queensland model will be a success. That they were forced into the move by a surge of anti-bikie sentiment could doom it to failure. but in that state’s favour is the fact that the local clubs don’t appear beset with the problems their southern cousins seem constantly immersed in. The clubs have to find ways to resolve their differences peacefully. for there will always be some group or individuals lurking in the shadows ready to make the easy money. Indeed. The Australian clubs are heading down this path—out of necessity— with councils of clubs established in New South Wales. as we have seen in countless examples throughout this book. Tougher laws merely drive the clubs underground and remove any social support these clubs offer their members and their families. as I have discussed in this book. particularly in the United States where they first appeared. It doesn’t prevent crime. It could be too little. Queensland and South Australia. And these wars have driven the politicians and the public to make the outlaw clubs public enemy number one. but have been abysmal failures in others. Outlaw clubs. the Queensland Motorcycle Council will only succeed if it is supported by the government. which means allowing ‘community policing’ rather than legislating tougher laws and penalties against the clubs. while the old-time outlaw clubs purge the criminals in their ranks and return to their roots as touring clubs. The only time Queensland experiences any real trouble is when bikie clubs from the southern states hit the Gold Coast. The bikie confederation in Queensland took four years of negotiation amongst the clubs to get up and running.into criminal street gangs.

yet very few governments see the benefits in these commonsense practices. Denmark is the best example of a government recognising the real problem and trying to stop the violence before it occurs. Rather.have been completely ineffective in every country in which they have been tried. I can’t understand why governments are bothering with these draconian laws. Stopping that risk is paramount. These are hardly revolutionary ideas. Yet no attempt has been made by governments to address the problems any other way than a ‘hammer’ approach. The trouble is this sort of policing makes it too easy for governments to be accused by the opposition and commentators of being soft on the bikie scourge. To hound . preventing young men from drifting towards bikie clubs. Thankfully he sent them back. be tough to look tough is the way they go. with the promise the list had not been copied. a huge amount of the taxpayers’ dollars are simply being poured down the drain. holding regular meetings of biker-bar owners to get word on what is brewing. Frankly. with extra rules comes the potential for extra stuffups. there is the unholy cost of these laws. Tactics range from teaching children that crime is not the path they should choose. They simply will not stand up to a High Court. it is the risk to public safety when clubs go to war with each other. which would likely see them thrown out of office. Early indicators suggest the efforts have been a success. like that seen in South Australia and New South Wales. was sent the names and addresses of 47 Comancheros by mistake. when a Hell’s Angel charged over the Zervas incident in Sydney. Few governments have the political will to cop that sort of flak. and training police specifically on bikie behaviour.06 of 1% of the criminal problem. Plus. it is clear they are condoning illegal tactics as present law understands it. Instead. they handed him the wrong list. ThE fInaL run 249 . Of course. Crime is not the core problem with the clubs. So. The court had meant to supply him with the names of the bikies he was not allowed to associate with. In every country they have been implemented. One bad blue attributable to these new laws was in August 2009. challenge in any democratic system. or equivalent.

John Smith. New South Wales. Sonny Barger? He’s 70. There has been a consistent rise in the age of members in the traditional outlaw clubs since the early 1980s. the former president of the Comancheros? He’s 67. Which begs the question—what is the future for the 1% outlaw motorcycle clubs? I’m afraid that with an influx of younger members into these criminal clubs. but they’re not getting any younger. They tend to become what is termed in Australia a ‘life member’. They sometimes participate in club activities by riding a trike or travelling by car. is 66 years old. in most cases. the Comancheros and Bandidos. these new groups will not have the structures of outlaw motorcycle clubs. with health problems. In recent years the number of deaths among motorcycle riders aged over 35 in the United 250 ThE BrOThErhOOds . particularly Notorious. Jock Ross. Many senior members are now literally unable to handle big HarleyDavidsons. with their disciplines. but by their thick gold jewellery and obvious wealth. are merely going to fracture and go underground and expand their activities into new crime areas. Victoria and Western Australia revealed plenty of grey beards within the clubs. See a pattern? These are men active in the club world. My recent observations of runs in South Australia. when the average age would have been 25. The average age of the Gypsy Jokers in New South Wales would be 48. the genuine clubs will face the ravages of time. wait until it sees the way these new groups operate. Interestingly. It’s a problem in the wider biker community. Indeed. the younger riders were distinguishable not just because of their age.I honestly believe the heavily criminal clubs. rules and hierarchy. Look at the age of the members of criminal gangs such as Notorious: the average age would be 28. except for an annual run. The average age of an outlaw motorcycle club member today is late 30s. Worse still. while the Melbourne Hell’s Angels average age would be about 38. there were few riders aged under 50. which means they are exempt from all duties of the club. They will get around these laws—these groups always do. If the NSW government thought it had a problem with the traditional clubs. the former head of the God Squad.

Then there are other issues the clubs face. Fewer people are joining clubs and organised activities than ever before. The article also made the point that the ol’ ladies were actually old. Membership of voluntary organisations has dropped 40–50 per cent in the past 30 years. The outlaws mellow and start to become community conscious. cutting short club business to race ThE fInaL run 251 . when he suddenly declared he had to pick up his daughter from school. The president and one of the founding members both refused due to medical conditions. Another interesting point is that we are seeing the memoirs of bikie leaders being published—when that starts happening you know times are moving on. The swelling numbers of Christian motorcycle clubs is also a sign the bikies are getting older. Another excellent American example of how age is catching up with the bikies was a report in the San Diego Union-Tribune of a run at Hollister where bikers were ‘complaining that the Hell’s Angels booth would not give a senior discount on Death to Snitches T-Shirts’. Increasingly. A major reason for this is the average age of motorcycle buyers in the United States rising from 25 to 39. We live in a different family environment from that of 30 years ago. when beers were offered around. Preacher John was formerly an Adelaide Gypsy Joker who moved to Brisbane and joined a Christian motorcycle club. Such is the pressure to maintain employment that people are spending longer at work.States has risen nearly 60 per cent. I was at a meeting with one club president recently. One experience really rammed home the age issue for me. The amount of time people devote to voluntary activity is dwindling. It was such an incongruous image: the president of one of the hardest clubs in the land. members have diabetes or liver complaints. one of the toughest blokes you’d ever meet. Australian figures would mirror that trend. Family demands are stronger. chatting to the club’s leaders. compared with a 22 per cent fall among younger riders. Some find they don’t have the strength to keep a Harley upright when they stop at the lights. But the pressure is not just from work. He now serves hot food to the homeless living on the fringes of the city. presumably after years of hard living. I was at the clubhouse of one hardcore club.

which he can’t do if he spends all his time down at the clubhouse. The rules have been shown to be a turn-off for many members. We can already see the growth of the Rebels. compared to clubs such as the Gypsy Jokers. whose numbers are relatively small but whose entry requirements are involved and time consuming. Prior to 9/11 society was 252 ThE BrOThErhOOds . who openly admit they’ll probably have to give up the club when they marry. gave mainstream society licence to demonise certain groups. but also the rules by which the clubs operate. It’s not only the commitment that appears to have a bearing on membership. He’s expected to pull his weight around the home. Jobs don’t grow on trees anymore. with its relaxed rules. The hardcore clubs have a higher percentage of ex-members who blame their departures on the rigid rules. both professionally and personally. I believe the terrorist attacks of September 11. Wives and girlfriends are no longer so compliant that they will happily put up with the club taking away their man. There is also a broader social issue working against the clubs. so they can’t be chucked in on a whim because the lure of the bike and a long ride becomes too much. They fail to see how marriage and the club can mix. particularly their children. They can’t afford to take the risk of an employee damaging the company or organisation’s reputation. One hardcore club member told me his wife doesn’t let him smoke in the house—and he was a paraplegic! Look at the reaction by younger club members. The outlaw motorcycle clubs that encourage a better or more equal commitment to club family and home family are surviving quite well and are likely to become the dominant clubs. It only takes a child to be taunted in the schoolyard for that impact to hit home hard. 2001. Members have much to lose by being identified with an outlaw motorcycle club. Employers are also reluctant to employ someone associated with a bikie club.down to the local primary school. Members are becoming much more conscious of the impact of membership on the reputation of their families. The advent of shared parental duties has not left the clubs untouched. Being a bikie can have an enormous impact on a person’s reputation.

or even disappear. but when Islamic extremists attacked Western society.moving towards a multicultural harmony. More and more people may wish to rebel against a system they feel is alienating and isolating them—joining an outlaw motorcycle club is one way to clearly communicate dissatisfaction with that system. and clubs such as the Devil Dolls will need to be a feature of the outlaw bikie landscape. Clubs that create auxiliaries for women or allow women into membership are likely to evolve further. we were almost given a free hand to become openly hostile towards extreme groups. He said there was a feeling within the clubs that they make themselves too visible a target. On the flip side. Some US clubs have reportedly moved to using removable patches so they can be quickly taken off when entering heavily populated areas or coming across police. However. The outlaw motorcycle clubs are manna from heaven for politicians who campaign on law-and-order issues. in the same way the modern outlaw clubs began on the back of the Great Depression. Witness the strong language of former US President George Bush immediately after the attack. The pressure for equality among the sexes will continue to force change upon the clubs. I believe outlaw bikie clubs were caught in this wave of zero-tolerance. The president of one club that has experienced some major police heat in recent years told me the club was starting to feel vulnerable. providing governments and police greater licence to crack down on their activities. Massive police resources will continue to be devoted to policing the clubs because law-and-order elections require a visible threat to public safety. with his ‘dead or alive’ comments in relation to Osama Bin Laden. The distinctive look and club patches may be toned down. This is a major change for clubs that consider their colours to be everything. This may create a new cycle of clubs. something that may change. the new century is providing many opportunities for the clubs. in order to move forward the clubs will need to be different in both structure and attitude. The collapse of the global economy in 2009 has left many people disaffected and created high unemployment. ThE fInaL run 253 .

as this book goes to print. Senior Hell’s Angel Yes. to which he responded: ‘Not True. we will survive.’ he said. Former club president Incredibly. Why? It was reported after Zervas’ death that the US Hell’s Angels were so pissed off with the Australian Hell’s Angels chapters that the Aussies were banned from the annual world run—the first time the club has slapped such a ban on an entire country. We’ve got to move with the times and become a power in our own right in the new social order. I’ve asked many club leaders whether they think their clubs will be around in 30 years—all said yes. One senior Fink said the club thrived on the increasingly ‘us against them’ notion of society. I asked a senior spokesman from the International Hell’s Angels about both issues. curtail things. Sure. There is no ban. the time is simply not right. However. The idea of trying to kill the bikie scene is absolutely hopeless. The last thing we want is another Mom Boucher (Quebec) style of making moves which would be characterised as taking on the state 254 ThE BrOThErhOOds . the death of Anthony Zervas in March 2009 and the subsequent shooting of his brother a week later have not sparked a revenge attack by the Hell’s Angels. A theme I heard time and again was that you could never change the people who are in the clubs. Chapter president The clubs will change back to being more social clubs than outlaw clubs. ‘The harder it gets. The clubs are their lives and they are going to live them. almost all admitted the clubs have to change.It’s only those from within who can predict the future of the clubs. if we change with the times. it brings out the camaraderie. they’ll change things. As for retaliation. but it’s a bit like trying to stop prostitution.

’ I believe the outlaw motorcycle clubs have painted themselves into a corner that could take more work and skill than they realise to get out of.which results in us becoming even greater targets for politicians and law enforcement who are desperately attempting to demonise us. ThE fInaL run 255 . The 1% outlaw clubs are at a crossroads. For once they may no longer have the freedom to choose which direction they turn and which road they roar down.

AFFL: Angels Forever. . safety-related issues. It also sanctions road and off-road riding activities and oversees professional and amateur racing events. the association focuses on motorcyclists’ rights. Riders dangle their arms over them in ape fashion. etc. Forever Loaded. Bible: Harley-Davidson repair manual. Ape hanger: High-rising handlebars on motorcycles. AMA: (American Motorcycle Association): Founded in 1924. motorcyclism or marijuana. Big Twin: A Harley-Davidson motorcycle containing a powerful V-twin engine. AFFA: Angels Forever. such as compulsory helmet laws. frequently used for private weddings and torn up for divorce proceedings. Back patch: Full ‘colours’ tattooed on a club member’s back. Associate: A friend of an outlaw motorcycle club who may ultimately graduate to being a prospect and/or full-patched member. Forever Angels.GLossAry 13: Patch worn by some outlaw motorcycle club members. ABATE: (A Brotherhood Aimed Towards Education): A motorcycle rights organisation whose main aim is to fight discriminatory laws against bikers. It signifies motorcycles. the letter ‘M’ is the thirteenth letter in the alphabet.

Chapter: Regional sectors of a larger club—i. who is then sometimes referred to as the bitch on the back. Gypsy Jokers Adelaide chapter. which has a relatively stock front end as opposed to the extended front forks of a chopper. Cages: Cars.e. BTBF: Bikers Together. Cagers: Car drivers. also known as a ‘wheelie’. Catwalk: To drive with front wheel off the ground. South Africa and parts of Europe. panel truck or converted school bus that follows or precedes the motorcycle club run and picks up broken-down bikes. To chop a motorcycle is to reduce its bulk and pare it down to bare essentials. Citizen: Anyone who is not an outlaw biker. Class: To show class is to do something totally outrageous and shocking to the public. GLOssary 257 . the whole bike will be lowered and the handlebars set high. Bitch seat or bitches box: A passenger seat on the bike traditionally reserved for a woman. Brain bucket: Motorcycle helmet. Bikers Forever. such as a trail or scramble bike. Chook chaser: An off-road bike with knobby tyres. Typically the front forks will be raked (extended and its angle increased). Bikie: Outlaw motorcycle club member in Australia. All unnecessary equipment is stripped off including the front brake and fenders. Also known as ‘riding bitch’. Chopper: A chopped bike.Biker: Outlaw motorcycle club member in United States and the rest of Europe. Colours: The official uniform of all outlaw motorcycle clubs consisting of a sleeveless denim or leather vest with a club patch sewn on the back. the United Kingdom. Bobber: A stripped-down motorcycle. Burnout: Smoking the rear tyre of a motorcycle while the front brake is applied. Crash truck: A van. New Zealand.

FTW (Fuck the World): A favourite outlaw motorcycle clubs saying typically found on outlaw club membership cards. In Australia and the United Kingdom. Usually comes with floorboards. for both the club and the hangaround. fairing. HOG (Harley Owners’ Group): An association sponsored by HarleyDavidson. tattoos. pins. like a club bar. Each dealership sponsors its own association within its region. Being a hangaround is normally an assessment period for potential membership in the club. Hangaround: An individual who goes to places where they can associate with an outlaw motorcycle club. Fly colours: To ride a motorcycle wearing colours. Custom bike: Has some of the features of a chopper and/or bobber. Hardtail: A rigid motorcycle frame without any shock absorption. Knucklehead: A Harley-Davidson engine design developed in 1936 and produced until 1947.Crotch rocket: A Japanese or European sports bike with enclosed engine and humped tank. Dog: Unattractive woman. Anyone with a Harley can join by paying dues. saddle bags and a large passenger seat. but essentially is a motorcycle that the owner has customised to make it uniquely his or hers. a fast bike. Also a term for a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. Jamming in the wind: The experience of riding. 258 ThE BrOThErhOOds . known for its turning and cornering ability. Heat: Law enforcement personnel and their actions when scrutinising an individual or club. also known as club whores. Dresser: A Harley Big Twin in the FL series. patches and colours. a small pig. when victorious Harley-sponsored riders would do a victory lap or pose for publicity photos with their mascot. the term also refers to someone who tells the police about club business. MC: Motorcycle Club. the term originated in the 1920s. Mama: Any woman sexually available to all club members. LOH (Ladies of Harley): An all-female subsidiary group within HOG.

One-percenter or 1%er: The ‘1%’ patch is derived from a statement made by the American Motorcycle Association in 1947 that only 1% of motorcyclists are outlaws. GLOssary 259 . but not all outlaw motorcycle clubs are 1%er clubs. Nom: A prospective outlaw club member. Out in bad standing: A term for a club member whose membership has been terminated by his club. Members are recruited from a larger overall area and are not specifically residents of a particular geographic location. Forever Outlaws. even rival clubs. Bandidos. and/ or tattooed on their body. Today. OFFO: Outlaws Forever. who were ousted for political reasons. Ol’ lady: Female companion. The nom can only wear the bottom rocker. Outlaw Motorcycle Club (OMC): Originally the term designating a motorcycle organisation that was not a chartered member of the American Motorcycle Association.MRA: Motorcycle Riders Association of Australia. but do not have a regular clubhouse and members answer only to themselves. Anyone who has been deemed ‘out in bad standings’ is (or is supposed to be) ostracised by the entire outlaw motorcycle club community. Guns and tools are both packed. All 1%er clubs are outlaw motorcycle clubs. from joining other outlaw motorcycle clubs. the term defines any club that has a three-piece patch. They are structured like any other chapter. The 1% symbol has become the mark of the outlaw biker and is typically displayed on their vest over their heart. Panhead: A Harley-Davidson engine design developed in 1948 and produced until 1965. Pack: To carry something on the bike. The nom undergoes a rigorous six-month to two-year period of education and socialisation before becoming a full-patched member. The term is sometimes used to keep former members. wife or girlfriend. Patchholder: A member of a motorcycle club who wears the distinctive club patch on his jacket or vest. usually because he has breached club rules. the other 99% are law-abiding individuals. etc. Nomads: Elite chapters of 1%er clubs such as the Hell’s Angels.

camping or special event occurs. Rat: An informant. They seldom own a motorcycle. any way he would like it. weekend or a week to a certain destination. where partying.Posers: Citizens who dress as if they are members of outlaw motorcycle clubs. Posers are generally looked upon with disdain by club members. Shovelhead: A Harley-Davidson engine design developed in 1966 and produced until 1984. Road captains: Those responsible for planning club runs. Road captains are also responsible for maintaining safety during group rides so they must be able to coordinate long bike formations and initiate any necessary group actions such as passing a slowmoving vehicle. Prospect: A prospective outlaw club member. Run: An official club outing. such as mapping out destination routes and run formations. Scooter trash: A slang term for an outlaw motorcycle club member or serious hardcore biker. also known as scoot. Skid lid: A motorcycle helmet. one after another. Sergeant-at-arms: Outlaw club enforcer who ensures the club rules are followed. 260 ThE BrOThErhOOds . scheduling fuel stops and preparing contingency plans for breakdowns. Sometimes other chapters and/or other clubs may participate. Pull a train: For a girl to have sexual intercourse with each man in the group. The prospect undergoes a rigorous six-month to two-year period of education and socialisation before becoming a full-patched member. Usually for a day. Sled: A synonym for motorcycle. ‘Property of’ patch: A patch worn by a female associated with an outlaw motorcycle club that denotes which club member she belongs to. Rice burners/Jap crap: Any motorcycle built in Japan. Scooter: A motorcycle. Snitch: An informant. The prospect can only wear the bottom rocker.

Wannabe: A citizen who dresses like a biker or bikie and frequents the places motorcyclists frequent. where they are not visible. All modern Harleys are V-Twin. such as Hell’s Angels. The rear shocks are mounted horizontally underneath the frame. Sweeper: The rider last in line whose job is to ensure everyone else in the group arrives at the destination safely. leaner. It has a characteristically small.Softail: A Big Twin Harley-Davidson motorcycle. a centre patch. Sportster: A Harley-Davidson that is narrower. Wrench: To be able to mechanically care for your motorcycle. Wings: An emblem allegedly worn by outlaw motorcycle club members as a pin or patch attached to the colours and earned for outrageous sexual behaviour. with two cylinders arranged in a V-shape. GLOssary 261 . V-Twin: The distinctive Harley-Davidson engine. the earning of ‘wings’ must be witnessed. but who is not in the club and usually does not own a bike. Two-up: To ride with a passenger. more lightweight and comparatively smaller than a Big Twin. such as Melbourne. the bottom rocker (looks like an inverted top rocker) with the geographical location of the club. which bears the club’s official insignia such as the Hell’s Angels death’s head. peanut-sized gas tank. Three-piece patch: Consists of a top rocker (a semi-circular embroidered patch) with the club name.

25 March 2009. AAP. ‘A jury decides’ by P. Tom. 3 April 2009. 2005. ECW Press. 30 March 2009. says Rees’. Wolf in The Rebels: A brotherhood of outlaw bikers. ‘Bikie peace advocate “in fatal brawl”’. 60. ‘Biker gang: structure’. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gazette. London. ‘Bikies join forces to declare war on NSW laws’. 7 April 2009. no. 9. Reaktion Books. Biker Gangs and Organized Crime. ‘Bikies secretly plan new code to avoid violence’. 2007. Cherry in The Biker Trials: Bringing down the hell’s angels. Sydney Morning Herald. Motorcycle. . July/August. Alford. 26 April 2009.sourCEs PrinTEd sourCEs ‘A club run: brothers in the wind’ by Daniel R.. Toronto. ‘Anti-bikie laws will only target wrongdoers. Kentucky. Suzanne. vol. 1991. 2007. Lexus/Nexus Press. Kelly says’. University of Toronto Press Inc. ‘Bikie wars: no second chances in anti-gang laws. AAP. Sydney Morning Herald. 1999. Barker. 27 March 2009. ‘Airport victim stabbed policeman two days earlier’. Steven & Ferriss. AAP. Toronto. Sydney Morning Herald.

61.nova. July/August. Bike Lust. Joans. West Sussex 1991. no. Yates in Outlaw Machine. FTW Publishing. 60.d. Wolf & David E.L. 61. Robert ‘Bob Bitchin’. ‘Hit was ordered on CBD killer’. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gazette. Sunday Herald Sun. ‘Hell’s Angels: a searching report on what’s behind the strange cult of motorcycle gangs’ by William Murray in Saturday Evening Post. 1999. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gazette. 5 October 2008. Biker. Harpers Magazine. no. ‘Hell’s Angels vs. vol. W. no. 13 May 2008. Reproduced by permission of the author. Lipkin. New York. Yates in Outlaw Machine. ‘Intra-group diversity and how it is managed by an outlaw motorcycle club’ by Daniel R. Chichester. ‘Building a criminal army’. Brown and Company. 7–12. Dulaney. Reproduced with the permission of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services. ‘Motorcycle gangs image’. 2007. Barbara. 9. Illinois. ‘Chrome and hot leather: the hell’s angels are back in Massachusetts and wanted by the Feds’ by Mark L. July/August. July/August. A version of this essay originally appeared in the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies: <http://ijms. 16 May 2009.‘Birth of the terror’ by B. ‘First contact’ by B. the Rock Machine: the war in Quebec’. vol.html>. 7. Little. University of Wisconsin Press. 1999. Hopper & Johnny ‘Big John’ Moore. ‘Hell on wheels: the outlaw motorcycle gangs’ by Columbus B. 1983. p 7. 1999. ‘Good & evil: how a six-year crime spree ended in an innocent man’s murder’. 1999. California. 1999. vol. sOurCEs 263 . Young in Culture II. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gazette. 20 November 1965. 2003. Journal of American Culture. Herald Sun. 1982. ‘Forty hours in Hollister’ by John Dorrance in Life Magazine. Brown and Company. July 1988. New York. n. The Australian.edu/November2005/IJMS_Artcl. Bastoni in Boston Magazine. Dulaney. 1967. ‘A more complete history of outlaw motorcycle clubs’. ‘Cyclists’ raid: a story’ by Frank Rooney. Blackwell Publishing. Rendondo Beach. Little. Government of South Australia advertisement.

1999. 1998. Stephenson. 515 North Washington Street. 61. no. VA 22314 USA. Murphy. 1999.H. 42. July/August. no. 2001. William. 1978. Outlaws and Pagans: the evolution of organized crime among the big four 1% motorcycle clubs’ by Jim Quinn & Paul Koch in Deviant Behaviour: An interdisciplinary journal 22. vol. Oklahoma. 1987 ——‘Milperra bikie massacre: part 2’. ‘Angels. Paul William & Snider. in Smokescreen: One man against the underworld. 12. the mafia and the Mountie. 2005. Owasso. Stoddart Publishing Co. no. 1988. Toronto. Alexandria. Preface by George Wethern & Vincent Colnett in A Wayward Angel. Avalon House Publishing Ltd. vol.. Australian Police Journal. no.. 4. Sydney Morning Herald. Bandidos. 1999. Destrier Inc. Norman Snider. 56. 3. Sydney Morning Herald. Copyright 2001 by Paul William Roberts. ‘Out in bad standings’ by Edward Winterhalder in Inside the Bandidos Motorcycle Club: The making of a worldwide dynasty. Ltd. no. ‘Sanitizing campaigns: outlaw bikers polish their thuggish image’. 61. vol. ‘Shot man walks out. 2006. Vancouver BC. Mark. Reproduced by permission. vol. 41. Queen. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police. vol. 28 March 2009. Roberts. 4. Police Undercover: The true story of the biker. Under and Alone. 1995. Australian Police Journal. Norman. ‘Outlaw motorcycle gangs’ by Paul Lunde in Organized Crime: An inside guide to the world’s most successful industry. R. refuses protection’. ‘Murder of prison guards in Quebec’. Richard Marek Publishers. Northeastern University Press. ‘Squaring the one percent: biker style and the selling of cultural resistance’ by Stephen Lyng & Mitchell L. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gazette. ‘Secret men’s business’. Boston.‘Motorcycle gangs or motorcycle Mafia?’ by Sergeant Steve Tretheway & Lieutenant Terry Katz in Police Chief. Bracey in Cultural Criminology. ‘Milperra biker massacre: part 1’. Blockhead. New York. 2004. London. New York. 8 April 2009. July/August. Random House. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gazette. 7–12. 264 ThE BrOThErhOOds . 2001. Dorling Kindersley.

Mountain State Publishing. Age. 2009. 1976. Copyright 2006 William Marsden and Journalisment Enterprises Inc. 26 November 2001. mbipublishing. Veno.’ ‘An honest sheriff’. PhD Dissertation. ‘The outlaw motorcycle subculture’ by Randall Montgomery in Canadian Journal of Criminology and Corrections. selected pages by Throttle. and ‘The electric seat’ by Bill Hayes in Original Wild Ones: Tales of the Boozefighters Motorcycle Club. Random House. Biker Chicks: The magnetic attraction of women to bad boys and big motorbikes. & Winterhalder. St. 61. ‘The great Nordic war’ by William Marsden and Julian Sher in Angels of Death: Inside the bikers’ Empire of Crime. Reproduced by permission of the author. Royal Canadian Mounted Police Gazette. 3 April 2009. Copyright 2005 by Bill Hays. 19(4). ‘Typical speed demons. 2 September 2008. 1999. 18(4) Canadian Criminal Justice Association and the University of Toronto Press. 23 September 2008. July/August. ‘Undercover Mountie’ by Robert Sheppard in Macleans. Hunter S. 1966. 17 May 1965. University of Iowa. 2005. 1977. Edward.The Biker Babe’s Bible: A guide to being a good ole lady. reprinted by permission of Publishers MBI Publishing Company LLC. Arthur. ‘Unflinching Hudson gets life in prison for shootings’. ‘The outlaw motorcycle subculture: II’ by Randall Montgomery in Canadian Journal of Criminology and Corrections. Allen & Unwin. Canadian Criminal Justice Association and the University of Toronto Press. vol. MN USA. ‘The deadly shotgun gaffe that triggered a tribal battle’. Thompson in The Nation. ‘The tale of evil images’. Reproduced by permission of the publisher. Sydney Morning Herald. <www. ‘The great Nordic biker war’. ‘The riverside ‘riots. sOurCEs 265 . Martinsburg. ‘Wild red hair’. Sydney. ‘Tram commuters saw city killer put gun to own head as he fled scene of death’. Age.com> Thompson. no. Paul. New York. 1997. 7–12. Hells Angels: The strange and terrible saga of the outlaw motorcycle gangs. ‘The motorcycle as American icon’ by Ross Fuglsang in Motorcycle Menace: Media genres and the construction of a deviant subculture. ‘The motorcycle gangs: losers and outsiders’ by Hunter S.

<smh. a division of Carus Publishing Company. 3 April 2009. <abc. 5 April 2009. Oklahoma. <adelaidenow. <dailytelegraph.com. 8 April 2009. 2005. <adelaidenow. <adelaidenow.com.com. <adelaidenow.au>.au>. 14 May 2009. ‘Bikie brawl: Comanchero refused bail’. 4 April 2009. ‘Homemade bomb found outside top bikie’s house’.‘What are a bunch of motorcycles doing in an art museum?’ by Bernard E.com. 13 May 2009. Copyright Carus Publishing Company. au>.au>. ‘Drug laws allow gangs to flourish’. ‘First bikie arrested after change of law’.com>. ‘Finks bikie gang declared a criminal organisation in SA’. ‘Bikie brawl watched by security men’. com. 1 April 2009.au>.com. ‘Man charged with murder over bikie death’. ‘A-Gs agree on national bikie powers’. <dailytelegraph. ‘Hells Angels “ordered to shoot on sight”’. 24 March 2009. ELECTroniC sourCEs ‘A clash of cultures on flight QF430 from Melbourne’. Blockhead. ‘Hit man pleads guilty to 27 murders’. 4 April 2009.au>. 1 April 2009.net.au>.au>. <nationalpost. Inside the Bandidos Motorcycle Club: The making of a worldwide dynasty. au>.au 31 March 2009.com. ‘Even the devil must have the benefit of law’.au>. 16 April 2009. ‘Australian Council for Civil Liberties urge caution on “rushing” antibikie laws’.au>. com. ‘Fifth bikie refused bail over airport brawl’.com. Reprinted by permission of Open Court Publishing Companying.com. <abc. <heraldsun.net. <smh. Owasso. 13 April 2009. 266 ThE BrOThErhOOds .au>. 21 April 2009. <smh. 7 May 2009.com. Winterhalder.au>. Peru. <abc. IL. abc. <smh. Edward.au>.net. 1 April 2009. ‘Men with bikie links “infiltrated the Lodge”’. <smh. ‘Christopher Wayne Hudson tortured by angry bikies’.com. Rollin in Harley Davidson and Philosophy: Full-throttle Aristotle.net. 27 March 2009. ‘Gypsy Joker bikie raids in Adelaide and SA towns’.au>.

‘Two more arrested in bikie crackdown’. <abc.au>.d.com. <dailytelegraph. sOurCEs 267 . <perthnow. <smh.com.‘Mike Rann and Michael Atkinson threatened over bikies action’.com. ‘Push for national anti-bikie laws sparks dissent’. ‘Shamed outlaws’ deadly mission to repair image’.au>. ‘Police target Hell’s Angels in three countries’.com>.com. 16 April 2009. <slashlegal. 14 April 2009.com. ‘Victorian Police Association calls for national ban on bikie gangs’. ‘PM Kevin Rudd vows zero tolerance on bikies’.au>. <smh. 16 April 2009. 21 April 2009.net.). <smh. 16 April 2009.com.com. <theaustralian.au>.au>. ‘Vics shouldn’t “wimp out” on bikies: SA’.au>. 15 May 2009.au>. 4 April 2009. <theaustralian.au>. 24 March 2009. (n. ‘State plans national ban on bikies and shady businesses’.

Keith 207 amalgamations. 22–23 American Veterans (US) 129 amphetamines 11–13. weapons security 237 . 250–51 Alberta bikies. occupations of 99-100 alcohol sales 96. The 216 African descent. 197 Allen. see also outlaw clubs attitude to women 126–25 badges for 33–34 club names 52–53 future for 250–55 Gypsy Jokers 65 Hell’s Angels as 58–59 in Australia 54–55 origins of 22 patches worn by 247–48 10 per centers 54. club members of 117 Against All Odds (Aust) 137 age of bikers 56–57. Tim 167 Annalla.indEx 1 per centers. 105 188th Airborne Paratroopers 20 358th Bomber Squadron 20 Aboriginals as club members 117 gangs among 175 rules relating to women 82 Adelaide. 178 asset forfeiture legislation 224 associate members 43. Bob 190 ‘ask no questions’ attitude 174. 224–25 attendance obligations 82–83 Attorney-General of South Australia 216–17. Michael 216–17. see patch-overs American Motorcycle Association 21. 75. 180-–84 An Inside Look at Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs 49 Anderson. 224–25 Australia 1 per centers in 54–55 Arthur Veno’s arrival in 6 club-related deaths in 141 drugs policy 193 first motorcycle clubs 24 Harley-Davidsons buried in 20 legislation against outlaw clubs 195–200 major outlaw clubs 58 police forces 191 ten per centers in 54 total membership of outlaw clubs 55 Australian Council for Civil Liberties 238–39 Australian Crimes Commission 171–72 Australian Criminology Research Council 8 Australian Defence Force. ‘Big Mick’ 167 Anderson. Michael 191 anti-tank missile used against Hell’s Angels 139 Armstrong. see South Australia admission process 42–46 Advertiser. 223 Atkinson.

claims of 49–50 Biddlestone. Darrel 205. speed manufacturing plant at 190–91 Bandidos (Aust. The 225–26 background checks 46 badges. ‘Mom’ 141 Bowden. Ross 233 Brandes. 36 Australian. Harry ‘Taco’ 193–94 ‘Brains’ (Gypsy Joker) 218 Brand. Sonny award to East Bay Dragons 117 conviction for conspiracy to murder 200 declining power of 250 defines Hell’s Angel 39 female members banned by 121–22. 189 Brando. see also violence Boozefighters (US) 21–22. Jim Jim 181. 67 wealth of 69. 110–11 brotherhood 88–90 Brothers (US). Marlon 23 breath testing for intoxication 197 Bristow. defined 31–33 Bikers United Against Child Abuse (US) 128 bikies. 137 forms Hell’s Angels 58–62 offers Hell’s Angels for war service 4–5 Bathurst. 10 per centers. 96 Blonks (Aust. Brendan 220 Barger. 37 Beachport 205–11.Australian Democrats. 201–2 probationary periods 47–48 secretiveness 15 weapons held by 145 Bandidos (Canada) 94 Bandidos (International) 55–56 Bandidos (US) Comancheros linked to 147–48 dispute with Hell’s Angels 144 history of 62–63 in Denmark 139 Bandileros (Aust.) 65 secretiveness 15. see Hell’s Angels biker magazines 41 biker pubs 98 Bikers Against Child Abuse (Aust. 234–35. 215–16 Beatles. Rosemary 182 Big Blue Gang 190. 95 Ballarat. see also police forces ‘Big John’ (African club member) 117 Big Red Machine. 136 bottom rockers 46 Boucher. outlaw clubs background of 35–39 nicknames of 100 occupations of 98–100 popular image of 40 Bill of Rights (US) 192 black marks 87 Black Power (NZ) 115 Black Uhlans (Aust. rules and regulations 82–83 Blood Brothers (Aust.) 128 bikers. Motorcycle Grand Prix at 17–18.) 146–47 Bannon. Roger Wallace 180–85 Biddlestone.). 207 British Small Armaments 18. Scott 48–49 Bowman. see patches bail money 82. see also 1 per centers.) 202 blood donation drives 91 Blue Devils 159 ‘Bluey the Grot’ 92 BMW club 98 bombings 150–51. 26–27 Broadford concerts 9–11.) bombing attacks on 151 brothers in 89 criminal elements in 246 funeral clauses 112 growth after Milperra shootout 175 media coverage 69 Milperra shootout 145–50 motto of 48 Nomads move to 232–33 police infiltration of 87. FBI infiltration of 198–99 IndEx 269 . 125–27 Boozettes (US) 126–27. The 23 Belgrave drug manufacturing plant 181 Berkeley (US) 4–5 bestiality. in SA campaign 214–15 Australian Federal Police at Broadford concert 9–10 head of sacked 229 Operation Panzer 165 Australian Institute of Criminology 7–8 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix 7–9. 96–97.

225 prison turf wars in 177 violence in 139–41 car drivers.) 67 Christian motorcycle club and 110 criminal elements in 246 dispute with Hell’s Angels 227–29.) 234 clothing. 26–27 Bullshit. 101 christening events 111 Christian motorcycle clubs 32.‘Brownie’ (Gypsy Joker) 218 BSA 18. Tobacco. Alan 156 Disorganised Crime 188 Dobbins. 94–95 attacks on 139. Mahmoud 232–33. 150–51 best 67 bulldozing threatened 211 God Squad 109 open nights 97.) 1 per center status 161–62 annual runs 246 Arthur Veno’s friends in 15 attacks on 165 attitude to relationships 123 dispute with Club Deroes 165–67 dispute with Resurrected 143 flag flown by 8–9 history of 64 patch-over Satan’s Cavalry 39. see rules and regulations CACUS operation 200 Canada bans Hell’s Angels 141 biker occupations in 99–100 clubs demonised in 191–92 legislation against outlaw clubs 194– 95. George 196–97 de Waard. 237 Didak. 71 police monitoring of 196 rape convictions in 132 Tasmanian trip by 157 WA turf wars 161–68 weapons held by 145 Woodhouse joins 163–64 colours. Firearms and Explosives (US) 194 Butterly. perceived persecution by 40–41 Catanzariti. see patches criminal activities 169–77 applicants deterred by 51 occurring in clubs 56–57 riding rules and 246 CUNTs 71–72 customised motorcycles 32.) 1 per center status 161–62 attacks on 165 café bombing and 163–64 dispute with Coffin Cheaters 165–67 WA turf wars 161–68 clubhouses 57. Kaera 155–56 270 ThE BrOThErhOOds . see patches Comancheros (Aust. see motorcycle clubs. 38–39 for intimidation 41 for nominees 46 Club Deroes (Aust. 251 Christianity 104 Christmas toy runs 91 ‘church’ (meetings) 74–75 City Crew (Aust. Paul 156 Denmark 139. 75 charitable work 90 ‘Chilla’ (Gypsy Joker) 221 chook chasers 30 ‘chopping’ 32. Archie 165 by-laws. Mark ‘Shabs’ 167 chapters and charters (local branches) 57. 233–36 dispute with Notorious club 233 media coverage 69 Milperra shootout 145–50. Martin 162 Devil Dolls (US) 136 Dib. see rules and regulations control orders 222–23 Craig. 101 ‘cuties’ 130–31 Daly-Holt. 85 community service 90–91 commuter motorcycles 30–31 constitutions.) 70 Devaney. see also patches bike-related 31–32. Frederick Steven ‘Jan’ 24 Central Upper Northern Tourers 71–72 Chaberie. 104–11. 213–14 police raids 14 clubs. Greg 230 crests. Autumn 155–56 Davis. 175 names and addresses of revealed 249 NSW campaign against 239 under Jock Ross 77.) 102 dope smoking 178. Barry 142 Bureau of Alcohol. 249 Descendants (Aust. 53. Joe 238 Celovic. Jay 194 Donald Ducks (Aust. 180 Douglas. outlaw clubs Coffin Cheaters (Aust.

colours reserved for 46–47 functions 43–44. see also runs and meets fundraising parties 96–97 funerals 111–13. Wino Willie 22 Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI. 145–50. 180 in early Hell’s Angels 61 intoxication 82. Kim 152 Gallant. revenue from 96–97 fights. 179–80 esprit 21. 81 ‘enforcers’ 76. 87. turf wars in 233 Genoa Hotel 98 Gere. see also brotherhood. 197 LSD 178 P2P used in 148. see also violence ‘Filthy Few’ badge 118 ‘Filthy Fred’ 92 fines for rule infringements 81. 137 East Bay Dragons (US) 117 Edhouse. Phillip 166 Franklin. Mark 166–67 Drifters (Aust. Brian 163. 143. 180–84 Australian policy towards 193 breath testing for 197 club attitudes to 173–74. 155 Firefighters Motorcycle Club 54 first ride experience 27–28 Fleet.) 90. 166 elections 76. anti-gang legislation 195 Gibb. Andrew Wayne 167 Edhouse. rules against 81 expulsion. 123–24 funerals 111–13.) brothers in 89–90 community service 90 dead fox incident 92 declared criminal organisation 225–26 dispute with Hell’s Angels 142 ethnicity of members 117 history of 67–68 runs and meets 97 thrive on divisiveness 253 treatment of strippers 136 William Street shooting 48–49. 79–80. freedom ethnicity among club members 115–17 Middle Eastern members 241–42 Notorious club 54–55 Parramatta Nomads 229–31 executive committees 75–76 exhaust chopping 101 explosives. Benjamin 48 FREE Party 221 free riders 32–33 freedom 29–30. 188–89 Faulkner. 235 future of motorcycle clubs 244–55 Gage. violence ‘Father’s Day massacre’ 15. Nicholas ‘The Knife’ John 49 Fourth Reich (Aust. Terrence Alexander 180–86. 235 increasing demands of 251–52 influence of fathers 89 violence in 89. 96 Finks (Aust. 70 Fowler.Doyle. 170 fathers. US) funds informants 174 infiltrates Hell’s Angels 197–201 report on motorcycle clubs 11–13 field days. 74 Freedom Rights Environment Educate Australia Party 221 full members. rules concerning 81. influence of 89 Faulkner. 180–84 riding compared with 28–29 rules relating to 81 vigilante action against 91 Ducati club 98 dues 96 Dykes on Bikes (Aust. Colin 190–91 Forbes. 178–85 dope smoking 178. Gerald 140 Gangell.) 65.) 189 drugs. Peter 164 IndEx 271 . road accidents. Fred 165–66 Germany. see murders. Ian 165 gangs clubs vs 56 crimes committed by 171–72 family membership of 89 in California 2 masquerading as clubs 230–32 Gawler Beach incident 142–43 Geelong. clubs seen as 88–90 family life christening events 111 club members as godparents 111 club membership vs. 85. 128 Fat Boy 20 fatalities. 32. rules relating to 82 ‘family’. see also intoxication amphetamines (speed) 11–13.

Raymond 180–86.) 15. see also women conflict with club life 85. 123–24.) 161–62 Grassecker. 158–59 Greenslopes drug manufacturing plant 182–83 Grierson. patch myth 134 Honda motorcycles 27 Hope. Rudi 8.) 24 go-between work by Arthur Veno 14–15 God Squad (Aust. 108–11 God’s Garbage (Aust. 252 ex-president disappears 221 guns held by 145 in SA campaign 7. 23. Peter John 69. 188–89 Hancock. 64–66 1 per center status 161–62 arrests in South Australia 226 Beachport incident 205–11 bombing attacks on 151 clash with police 190–91 clubhouses 94–95 difficult to enter 70. 145 Gypsy Jokers (Aust.) 15 addresses faxed to 249 bombing attacks on 151 Broadford concerts 9–11 brothers in 89 dispute with Comancheros 233–36 dispute with Drifters 189 dispute with Finks 67–68 dispute with Rebels 141–42 earliest chapters 24 gardening business 96 media coverage 69 motto of 48 poker runs 98 prospective members 45 pubs used by 98 Rebels and 132 speed (drug) and 180–85 support for Hudson 157 US attitudes to 254–55 Hell’s Angels (Canada) criminal elements in 246–47 dispute with Rock Machine 140. 238 Hill. 202 history of motorcycle clubs 17–25 Hodge. Mahmoud ‘Mick’ 227–29.girlfriends.) 15. 155–57 272 ThE BrOThErhOOds . see also drugs High Court. 251–52 Gladiators (Aust. William ‘Billy’ 151–52 group think 145 gun use 81. Benjamin 208. Christopher Wayne 48–49. Don 151–53 hardcore clubs 68–69 Hardy.) 18–19 Gypsy Tour at Hollister (US) 22–23 Hamment. 234–35 Hell’s Angels (Aust. bans on 81. 172 overseas chapters 24 rules and regulations 80–82 under Sonny Barger 77–78 women as members of 121–22 Hempel. 210 Hollister (US) Gypsy Tour 22 homosexuality. 144 legal action against 193–94 member shot by Iron Pig 202 organised crime in 55–56. Steve 190–91 Harley-Davidsons 17–20 costs of 100–2 draw police harassment 42 mark commitment to biker lifestyle 38 owned by free riders 33 Harper’s Weekly magazine 18 Hawi. 58–62 in Monterey 3–5 in Scandinavia 139. Justice 188 Herald Sun 138 heroin use. 212–17 media coverage 69 Ora Banda incident 151–52 police monitoring of 195–200 recruitment drives 164 Gypsy Jokers (US) 5 Gypsy Motorcyclists (Aust. Alistair 153 hotels used by bikers 98 Hudson. 105. 180–84. 178–79. 177 drop riding rules 246 legal action against 141. 194–95 membership requirements 64 Hell’s Angels (international) 195 Hell’s Angels (movie) 20 Hell’s Angels (NZ) 115–17 Hell’s Angels (US) after Monterey 171 attempts to mediate in Victoria 191–88 attitude to Australians 254–55 charters of 57 claim 1 per center patches 34 dispute with Comancheros 227–29 dispute with Gypsy Jokers 65 drug trade involvement 180–81. 183–84 FBI infiltration of 198–99 history of 19–20. appeals to 225–26.

Michael 233 Ladies of Harley (Aust. The 236 logos 46–47. Howard 20 humour 92–94 Hyden. 221 Kulakowski. Yves 198 law enforcement member clubs 53–54. see also media imprisonment for club members 61 prison farms 176 prison guard killed 140–41 prisoner study 159 rates of 172 recruitment drives during 175–77 segregation units 176 ‘in’ group and ‘out’ group effects 159–60 initiation ceremonies 49–50 injected drugs 81. Stephen ‘Fly’ 154 hydroponics. 145–50. 197 local governments 94 Lodge. see also police forces Lebanese members.) 142–43 ‘Jacko’ (biker accused of family violence) 111 jail time. Lawrence ‘Lew’ 152 Life magazine 22 life members 250 liquor licences 96. 197 investment revenue 96 Iron Pigs (Aust. 109 Loverock. James 21 Katingal Prison 176 Kawasaki motorcycles 36 Keilar. Michael 191 ‘mamas’ 130 Mandamas (Aust. 115 international office bearers 76 intimidation of car drivers 41 intoxication 82. see Middle Eastern club members legislation against outlaw clubs 167–68 in New South Wales 237–39 Serious and Organised Crimes Act (SA) 221–24 unforeseen effects of 248–49 Lennon. Brendan 155 Kings (Aust. Tony 152 Lewis. revenue from 100 Ibrahim. Lee 23 Mawson. see Victoria membership requirements 63.) 146–47 Loners (Canada) 94 Longriders (Aust. see runs and meets Melbourne. 178–79. 180 marriage. John 230 image of bikies 40. 131–32 Maoris in outlaw clubs 115–17 marijuana 178. 216–17 meetings 74–75.) 105. 202. 241–42 Milperra shootout 15.) 137 Lanyon. Kimberly 120. Detective 165 LSD 178 Lynch Report 170–71 Mack. Hassan ‘Sam’ 230–32 Ibrahim. see also patches lone riders 32–33 Lone Riders (NZ) 116 Loners (Aust.) 8–9 Malve. 31 jealousy 127–28 Jika Jika section of Pentridge Prison 176 jokes 92–94 Jones. John 23 Lewandowski.) 146 ‘Kitty’ (Gypsy Joker) 218. 170 misogyny. 82 meets. Tom 242 Madden. see also rules and regulations ‘Michelle’ (stripper) 135–36 ‘Mick’ (Hell’s Angels president) 77 Mickelberg. see family life.) 65–66 Manning. see imprisonment Japanese motorcycles 20. John Paul 180–86 Major Incident Planning Unit (Vic. women Marvin. Mal 236 Lavigne.) 202 Iroquois (Aust. Phil ‘Ugly’ 66 media club coverage 69 in SA campaign 212–16 on Hollister incident 22 on Milperra shootout 150 on Monterey incident 4 outrage manufactured for 50 rules against contact with 73–74 use of by police 191–92 Williams interviewed by 214. Peter 152 Middle Eastern club members 117. see sexism IndEx 273 . see also drugs Inside the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs 49.Hughes.

195–200 national runs 76 Nazism 114 Neighbourhood Watch 91 New South Wales airport attacks 227–29 arrests in 237 Bandidos in 62–63 first Hell’s Angels chapter 24 police forces 8. 162 Montani. 63. Scott 232 ‘out’ groups 159–60 outlaw clubs 21–22. 230–31 nominees 45–47. 1971: 141–42 Oakland Panthers 60 O’Connor. 190. see violence Murdoch incident 161 Murray Bridge incident 210 Muslim members. 161–68 Outlaws (US) 21 identified with organised crime 55–56 legal action against 193–94 move into Canada 140 move into Denmark 139 ozbiker. 250–51 mottoes 48 murders.) 48.) 69.Mob Shitters (Aust. 88–90 Murdoch incident 161–62 myths about 103 refusal to cooperate with judiciary 162 religion in 103–14 total membership 55 Outlaws (Aust. 101 history of 17 road accidents 10. 10 per centers. 104 motorcycles attraction of 26–34 care and maintenance 100–2 customised 32. 98. 192 statewide council proposed 239–40 United Motorcycle Council 248 New Zealand Hell’s Angels in 24 Maoris in outlaw clubs 115–17 police attitudes to outlaw clubs 192 Nichols. see Middle Eastern club members narcotics. Barry 237 off-road bikes 30 O’Gorman. 231–33 criminal elements in 246–47 Middle Eastern members 241–42 patches worn by 247 NSW Law Society 238 NSW Outlaw Run. 144 Notorious club (Aust. 172 Ora Banda incident 151–53 organised crime clubs involved in 55–56. 130–31 ‘Nike bikies’ 231. Todd 231–32 Odin’s Warriors (Aust. Hell’s Angel carries 91 one per centers.) 54–55. see drugs National Crime Authority 172. see also 1 per centers.org 138 274 ThE BrOThErhOOds . 77 O’Farrell. names of clubs admission process 42–46 amalgamations of 170 demonised by police 191–92 ‘hardcore’ 68–69 legislation against 167–68 lifestyles dominated by 84–85.) 68. Don 62 nicknames 100. 33–34. 213–14 Operation Gallipoli (WA) 165 Operation No Tolerance (WA) 165 Operation Panzer (AFP) 165. see also outlaw clubs for women 136–37 future of 244–55 gangs vs 56 riders belonging to 32 Motorcycle Riders’ Association of Australia 91. Johnny 168 Monterey (US) 2–4. 170 Motoguzzi motorcycles 31 motor scooters 36 motorcycle clubs 52–72. Terry 238–39 OK Riders (US) 129–30 Olympic Torch. 14 Mongols (US) 194 Mongrel Mob (NZ) 115. 103. 40–41.) 142 Mods and Rockers 23–24 Monash University 6–7. 172 rarity of 169–70 ‘Ornery’ (female US biker) 125–27 Orrock. 138. see 1 per centers ‘onioning’ 131 open nights 97. 246 No Name Riders 53 No Rule Riders 53 nomad members 179 Nomads (Aust.

87. 194–95 in New South Wales 8 in South Australia 192. 201–2 politics of fear 145 Ponde concert 96 ‘Preacher John’ 251 president position 76–78 prison. Jesse Ray 153–54 Pentridge Prison 176 persecution. 143 against Fourth Reich 65 feuds over 132 in Monterey 2–4 rat bikes 101–2 Rebels (Aust.P2P 148.) 14 Police Complaints Authority 214 police forces. 205–10. 175–77. see imprisonment Prisoner’s Union (US) 5–6 probationary periods 47–48 ‘property of’ patch for women 128–30 prospective members 45. see also runs and meets Rann. 60 poker runs 97–2 Police and Justice Studies Centre (Vic. 193–94 rallies 97. 58. 211–12. 246 Red Devils 159 IndEx 275 . 177 Queen. 180–84 Phillip Island Motorcycle Grand Prix 8–9 ‘Pig’ (Resurrected president) 143 Piggott. 248 racism 114–18 Racketeer Influenced and Criminal Organization Act (US) 62.) 63–64 annual runs 244–46 bombing attacks on 150–51 clubhouses 94–95 dispute with Bandidos 233 dispute with Hell’s Angels 132. 165 corruption in 13 harassment by 42 hostility towards 190–207 in Canada 141. 214 rape cases against Coffin Cheaters 132. 87 prostitution 213 protocol 74 public safety orders 223–24 ‘pulling a train’ 131 Quebec 140. feelings of 40–41 phenyl-2-propanone 148. William 194 Queensland in 1970s 6 legislation against outlaw clubs 238 United Motorcycle Council 240. 220 in Tasmania 196 in Western Australia 165–67 law enforcement member clubs 53–54. 204–5. 141–42 dispute with Ulysses club 247 growth of 252 in Western Australia 164 NSW campaign against 239 patch-over CUNTs 71–72 under Alex Vella 77–78 Rebels (Canada) Daniel Wolf rides with 13–14 initiation ceremonies 49–50 ‘mama’ expelled by 130 recreation 88–102 recruitment drives 55. 202 myths relating to 118–19 overestimate bikie numbers 40 Strike Force Raptor 237 undercover police 46. 180–84 Pagans (US) 55–56 paint jobs 101 partners. see family life. become 1 per centers 22 patches bottom rockers 46 Christian motorcycle clubs 104–5 ‘Filthy Few’ badge 118 for nominees 46 ‘MC’ on 57 of law enforcement member clubs 53–54 of outlaw clubs 33–34 of Ulysses club 247 ‘property of’ patch for women 128–30 removable 253 reserved for full members 46–47 rules relating to 81. see also Victorian police force attitudes to bikers 38 Australian Federal Police 9–10. 195. wives ‘party girls’ 130–31 patch clubs. Mike 7. 82 patch-overs 70–71 of Mandamas 65–66 of Satan’s Cavalry 39 results of 170 violence resulting from 139–41 Penhall. 214–16. Nathan 166 Pissed Off Bastards From Berdoo (US) 22–23.

71 Savages (Aust. 251 Universal Life Church 5 Resurrected (Aust. 177. 205–10. family life religion 103–14 Christian motorcycle clubs 32. 213–14 speed (drug) 11–13. 53. 55 revenue. Allan 232. Nathan 238 Reid. 180–84 Spirit of Tasmania 157 sponsoring new members 44 STAR group 205–10. 85 in Milperra shootout 146–49 preacher beaten up by 110 Rowles. 65. 40–41. esprit.) 143 returned servicemen 24–25. Frank and Linda 121 San Diego Union-Tribune 251 San Francisco Chronicle 22 San Quentin Train 5 Sarkis. Karen 202 skinheads. interclub violence in 139. 246–47 Rockers 23–24 Roden.red wing patch myth 132–34 Rees.) 39. 144. 82 Rebels 244–46 world and national runs 76 Sadiliek. 132. see also women sexual activity group sex 131 patches indicating 132–34 prostitution 213 rape cases 2–4.) 92 Scandinavia. 250 social events and recreation 88–102 Some Biker Bitches Poetry 131–35 South Africa Arthur Veno teaches in 6 police attitudes to outlaw clubs 192 violence in 145 South Australia Bandidos in 63 clubhouses in 94–95 Gypsy Jokers clash with police 190–91 interclub violence in 142–43 police forces in 192. 179–80 Serious and Organised Crimes Act (SA) 221–24 sexism 49–50. Graeme ‘Slim’ 152–53 Smith. 249 Scipione. sources of 96–97. John 201–2 Sims. 220 Police Motorcycle Club 54 Rann government campaign 7. Andrew 201–2 rules and regulations 45. 250–51 ‘Robbo’ (club recruit) 35–39 Robe 215 Roberts. 237 Satanism 104. Kevin 236 Rule. Thomas 205–9 righteous bikers 43 ‘risky-shift’ effect 160 road accidents 10. Andrew 238 secretary position 76. 194–95 Rudd. 244 staying together on 74 Rieniets. 82. Justice 160 Ross. 165 Royal Canadian Mounted Police 141. Rick 112 Robert’s Rules 74 Rock Machine (Canada) 140. Phillip 163. 173–74 rides rules relating to 230–31. 120–37. 79–80. 143 Shed Six (Aust. 204–26 United Motorcycle Council 248 Wallaroo incident 153–54 Special Tasks and Rescue group (SA) 205–10. see brotherhood. 190. 79 segregation units 176 self-discipline 78 September 11 terrorism.) 71 runs and meets as social events 97 Coffin Cheaters 246 funeral runs 112–13 obligation to attend 47. vigilante action against 91–92 Slater. 112 Rum Runners (Aust. 213–14 276 ThE BrOThErhOOds . attitudes changed by 252–53 sergeant-at-arms position 76. 44–45.) 54 ‘sheep’ 130 ‘Sherry’ (US woman biker) 129–30 showing class 50 Silent Grey Fellow 17 Silvester. William ‘Jock’ ageing 250 Comancheros under 77. 112–14 Satan’s Cavalry (Aust. 214–16. 73–87. John 105–9. Sydney ‘Snot’ 152–53 relationships. 104–11. Glenda 107 Smith.

135–36 Studar. see Middle Eastern club members Ulysses Club 54. 195 difficulties for 46 in Australia 201–2 United Kingdom. 193 Universal Life Church 5 Valley and Districts Motorcycle Club 32 Van den Eynde. 216 Vella. 247 Underbelly 2: 201–2 undercover police clubs infiltrated by 87. 197–201 Tait. see also Victorian police force Bandidos in 63 first Hell’s Angels chapter 24 interclub violence in 143 Melbourne shooting 154–57 Victorian Christian Motorcycle Association 108–11 Victorian police force Arthur Veno approaches for protection 220 Arthur Veno consults for 8–9. 139 Viking Tavern. police forces 196 tattoos bike-related 38–39 Christian motorcycle clubs 104–5 for full members 48 for women 129 in 1960s 24 violent removal of 48–49 Taylor. Jack 194 Tasmania. David 207 three-piece patches 247 tit contests 134–35 Today show 214 touring motorcycles 31 treasurer position 76. Anthony 174. Arthur 1–16 at risk after Williams disappearance 219–20 go-between work 14–15 involved in SA campaign 204–5. see also violence in Geelong 233 in Melbourne 189 in prisons 176–77 in Western Australia 161–68 reasons for 159 spur recruitment drives 55 Turkish members. 192–93 Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Club 54 Vietnam War 4–5. see New South Wales Tait. Alex as Rebels president 77–78 at parliamentary protest 245–46 at unity meeting 240 fight with Hell’s Angels president 141–42 NSW campaign against 239 wealth of 174 Veno.staunch bikies 43 Stone 112 Strike Force Raptor 237 strippers 98. 24–25 vigilantism 91–92. Elizabeth 8. 78–79 Victoria. Jennifer 206–7. see also turf wars terrorism. attitudes changed by 252–53 ‘Terry’ (associate member) 43 Texas Mafia (US) 175 The Advertiser 216 The Australian 225–26 The Beatles 23 The Lodge. 79 Triple J radio 216–17 Triumph Club of Victoria 31 Triumph motorcycles 27 Trudeau. Robert Darren 209–10 suspension chopping 101 swap meets 97 swastika symbol 114 Sydney. 209 ten per centers see 10 per centers territory of a club 34. Julie 212–13. 14 infiltrates Bandidos 201–2 surveillance of amphetamine manufacture 183–84 tips off Coffin Cheaters 196–97 turf wars regulated by 191–88. Gordon 197–98 Tait. Mods and Rockers in 23–24 United Motorcycle Councils 240. Yves (Apache) 140 turf wars. Milperra 148 IndEx 277 . bikie infiltration of 236 The Wild One 23 Thiele. 212–17 motorcycles owned by 26–27 violence and threats against 158–59 Veno. 248 United States drugs policy 193 organised crime in 170–71 police forces 191. Andrew 208–9 Thomas. 115–17 verbal aggression 144–45 vice-president position 76.

Kevin ‘Mick’ 162–63. 136–37 clubs for 54. Darren 165 Whyte. Rosemary 167 Woodward. 137–37 contests for 134–35 patches for 128–30 push for equality by 253 rights of 124 rules relating to 82 sexual activity with 130–31 treatment of 49–50. 145 in family life 89 Melbourne shooting 154–57 Milperra shootout 145–50 Ora Banda incident 151–53 planned fights 45. Timothy 188 Zambia. 66 rules concerning fights 81–82. 234. conflict with club life 85. motorcycles in 18–19 Wray. 120–37 violence against 128 Women in the Wind (Aust.) 137 Wood Royal Commission 230 Woodhouse. Arthur Veno teaches in 6 Zervas. 123– 24. women wives. Peter 228–29. violence Washer. Stephen ‘Horrible’ as Gypsy Joker president 78. 214 media interviews 216–18 Withnell. 143 Sydney Airport attacks 227–29 tattoo-related 48–49 Wallaroo incident 153–54 voice-stress tests 46 voluntary organisations. 212–13 disappearance of 218–20 in SA campaign 209–11. see family life. 87. 251–52 Wolf. Bernadette 206 Wright.violence 138–60. rape cases as riders 61. Bill 189 278 ThE BrOThErhOOds . Sergei 181 wars. 236 Zimmerman. Keata 121 Zurbe. Eric Mark 153–54 world runs 76 World Wars I and II. Anthony 228–29. 234 suspended from job 99. see turf wars. 238 wakes 113 Wallaroo incident 153–54 Walton. 254–55 Zervas. Derek appeals for club unity 239–40 involved in violence 227–29. Raymond 166 Western Australia asset forfeiture legislation 224 bikies in 55 Gypsy Jokers 66 interclub violence in 161–68 legislation against outlaw clubs 167–68 Ora Banda incident 151–52 police forces 165–67. see also turf wars against women 128 at Broadford concert 10 Beachport incident 205–11 bombings 150–51 due to jealousy 127–28 due to patch-overs 139–41 gun use 81.) 202 William Street shooting 154–57 Williams. The 23 Wild Pigs (Aust. Eddie attacks on 164–65 occupation 99 warned by police 165 wives. 167–68 Woodhouse. 234–35. Terry 117 Wurr. Scott 242 Wild One. 192 wet t-shirt contests 134–35 white wing patch myth 132–34 Whittiker. see also family life. declining membership of 251 Wainohu. 124. Daniel on family life 123 on initiation ceremonies 49–50 on victimisation 42 on women members 122 rides with Rebels 13–14 women.