Kew, Melbourne, Australia (March 27, 2018) BTN — Chris “Ball
Bearing’’Coelho, a founding member of the Hells Angels in Australia — has
Chris Coelho, who was an integral part of the Hells Angels
legendary rock n’ roll festivals in Broadford, was killed in a car accident
near Kew on Friday.
His wife, Dee, said it was a shock and that her husband had
also been battling health issues for some time.
But Dee said he would be remembered for the mark he left,
especially on the Australian music scene.
“It’s shocking what’s happened,’’
Chris “Ball Bearing’’ Coelho with his wife Dee in 2013.
“He lived a great life. It feels like it’s been cut short by
“Chris was a wonderful and genuine man. He took part in life
and lived it to the fullest.
The couple in 2013.
“He was spontaneous. He liked to have parties and have fun
and was also very protective of people.
“I’m amazed every single day with some of the events he was
a part of. He had created very special moments for people.’’
The life of an outlaw did have its moments.
In the early years as an outlaw bikie, Coelho wore a chrome
helmet and was nicknamed “Ball Bearing’’. It stuck. The avid Harley Davidson rider and guitar player had
travelled the world and met the famous and infamous. Among them was riding across America with the Hells Angels’
most notable member “Sonny’’ Barger.
And Coelho would regale stories of a singalong with his
musical heroes Johnny Cash, June Carter and Willie Nelson in a hotel room. But
he also had other moments.
Chris “Ball Bearing’’ Coelho left the Hells Angels to get
Coelho lived through an internal Hells Angels split turned
violent over the production of speed.
He would survive the conflict, but not before he was shot in
Aged 68 Coelho retired from the Hells Angels in 2012 after
42 years membership of the world’s most infamous outlaw motorcycle club. He had been an office bearer, including a chapter president.
But as a new breed of bikie entered the club, Coelho knew
his time as an Angel was over.
He handed in his “colours’’ soon after his public arrest
following a raid by police on the Angels’ Melbourne clubhouse in Fairfield. In a show of force, police had ripped off the front gates to
the Heidelberg Rd chapter which was adorned with the Hells Angels “Death Head’’
Coelho was charged for being in possession of a small amount
of cannabis and an ornamental gun.
As he was escorted from the clubhouse, Coelho would have one
last surprise for police investigators, who at the time were attempting to
thwart a war with the Bandidos.
They all knew of “Ball Bearing’’ and as they escorted him
towards the front door to cuff him, he requested to take a jacket from the
Chris “Ball Bearing’’ Coelho was arrested during a police
Among the hoodies and jackets, he picked out his Hells
Angels cut (vest) as a media throng waited outside.
It was his last public act of defiance as a Hells Angel.
Coelho has been part of the fabric of Australian music in
stories told by bands such as Midnight Oil, who had played at the Broadford
festival organised by the bikie club in the 1980s. Oils drummer Rob Hirst would tell of an arrow, shot into an
office in Manly, and an attached note demanding they play the gig.
The note was signed “Ball Bearing”.
When they arrived in Broadford as requested, they would play
until “Mr Bearing’’ raised his finger.
In 2013, Coelho told the Herald Sun his time as a Hells
Angel had to end but remained friends with many of them. Part of his reasoning to “retire’’ was his impending
marriage to Dee, 20 years his junior. He was also adamant he wanted no part in any emerging
conflict with the Bandidos at the time.
His timing was impeccable. Within weeks the Bandidos’ Toby
Mitchell had been ambushed and shot by Hells Angels. After their wedding in 2013, they rode through the middle of
Australia. Coelho draped his Harley’s handlebars with Australian flags. Dee
rode a smaller Harley alongside him.
Written by Anthony Dowsley