The Beat Megaclub director Ross Hannay on gun and drug charges


ross hannay beat megaclub
Image: Ross Hannay Facebook

Ross Hannay, director and manager of The Beat Megaclub and nephew of club ‘founder’ John Hannay, faces numerous criminal charges. A number of charges relate to drugs while one concerns allegedly possessing a gun.

Hannay faces nine charges in total. They include possession of dangerous drugs and unlawful possession of a weapon.

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Ross Hannay became manager of The Beat Megaclub in the years before the death of his uncle, club ‘founder’ John Hannay.

The Beat Megaclub history

Fortitude Valley identity Tony Bellino originally opened The Beat as a venue known as the Cockatoo Bar. He later sold a financial interest to his brother Geri and associate Vic Conte. Tony Bellino later claimed at the Fitzgerald Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities that he only infrequently attended the club after this time.

“They had some funny people in there,” he told the inquiry. “Not my type of people.”

Despite that comment appearing to reference the club’s LGBTIQ clientele, Tony Bellino opened the club with a gay manager. From the beginning, the Cockatoo Club targetted the LGBTIQ market with regular drag shows. Bellino also owned other venues that catered for and attracted a significant LGBTIQ customer base.

By the mid to late 1980s, The Beat was well established. Despite operating on a restaurant licence which allowed it to sell alcohol until midnight, it regularly traded until 8 am on weekends.

John Hannay and The Beat Megaclub

Tony and Geri Bellino along with Vic Conte, figured prominently in the Fitzgerald inquiry. They divested themselves of various Valley business interests at the time. John Hannay acquired The Beat from them.

Associated with various Fortitude Valley venues in the 1960s and early 1970s, John Hannay moved north following the Whiskey Au Go Go fire in 1973. That club burnt down with the loss of 15 lives. Despite the conviction of two petty criminals for setting the fire, many people remained convinced the full story was never told.

John Hannay managed Whiskey Au Go Go until not long before the fire. Although still the club’s bookkeeper at the time of the conflagration, another fire at a cafe he owned destroyed its financial records. Club owners alleged Hannay misappropriated up to $70,000 from the club. At the Supreme Court trial of the two men convicted of burning the club, Hannay gave evidence with a doctor at his side. He told the court he suffered brain damage after falling from a horse and claimed to suffer memory loss.

In 2017, the Queensland Government announced a coronial inquest into the fire. Investigators for the inquest did not get to interview John Hannay before his death in 2019.

Ross Hannay is required to appear in court on 15 March.


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