The bikie burger ban

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

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’.

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