The bikie burger ban
In the early 1960s Sydney’s Parramatta Road was dotted with motorcycle shops, and cruising the ‘strip’ was part of the scene.
One of Australia’s very first American-style drive-in burger joints was the Big Boy at Taverners Hill, where the big neon sign boasted beefburgers for just 1 shilling and ninepence, and “more than five million sold.” It didn’t say how many were actually eaten, or for that matter, digested. The Big Boy was part of the empire of the colourful personality Lee Gordon, whose portfolio included strip clubs and restaurants. The Big Boy hit the headlines when the operators banned motorcycles from the premises, allegedly because their presence intimidated other customers. Naturally the motorcyclists resented this slur upon their good character and made their feelings known, much to the excitement of the Sydney media. Mr Gordon had bigger fish to fry. He brought to Australia such headlining acts as Frank Sinatra, Chubby Checker and Connie Francis, and launched the career of drag queen Carlotta through his club The Jewel Box in Darlinghurst Road. However in July 1963 he was arrested on drug charges and fled Australia, but was found dead on November 7 the same year in a small London hotel. Cardiac arrest was given as the official cause of death, but there were other theories. See what happens when you deny motorcyclists their basic right to eat?
The Big Boy at the height of its infamy. The sign on the footpath out the front says ‘Motorcyclists not allowed’.