60 years young, that’s how Alex best describes himself and whose going to argue with him? No I wouldn’t not because I’m scared either! Alex is a perfect example of how hard living does pay! At 60 years of age Alex comes across fitter than a bloke half his age and in his 60 years has led a life worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Born in a large strict catholic family in Malta money was tight and Alex never had toys but he did have a white Arabian stallion and he would think about that horse constantly when he would go to school and couldn’t wait to get home to ride it and when the Vella’s migrated to Australia they couldn’t afford a horse and Alex had to settle for a pushbike. Once he was old enough to get a job the hard working Alex not only had one job but held three jobs and in 1971 was able to buy his first Harley Davidson and that bike still holds pride and place in his collection today. The bikes a 1012/1942 U model and from there (to use his words) the rest just hatched around it and the collection has grown to one of the finest and largest collection of Harley Davidsons in not only Australia, the world.
The Vella family are also well known for their boxing prowess and Alex was once ranked No 5 and fought the Australian and Commonwealth light heavy weight champion of the day Garry Hubble on three occasions, twice in 1977 and once in 1978. Alex’s fight record was 8(3KO)-5-0. Garry later went on to fight the world champion Lesley Stewart. Unfortunately a car accident cut Alex’s promising boxing career short ‘’I enjoyed my boxing, always enjoyed running and being fit, but a few accidents slowed me down and now I have a jack Daniels to keep me going’’. Two of Alex’s brothers also accomplished Boxers, one held the Australian title and the other the Queensland titles and son Adam (Trained by Alex and good friend and legendary Aussie trainer Tommy Mercurio) retired with a record 19 (6 KO)-2-0 and held three different titles (Pan Pacific, Australian and N.S.W) in three different weight divisions ‘’we have done pretty good as a family, fought for our rights and fought for a feed’’ Alex.
Alex joined the Rebels in 1972 and has been President for the past 40 years. The Rebels clubs now Australia’s largest 1% Outlaw Motorcycle club and has 25 Chapters worldwide ‘’my life is the club. From the time I open my eyes to the shut my eyes and even when I’m asleep I’m thinking about it. I love the club and I love my Harleys’’. Alex loves the lifestyle and riding the open roads but understandably gets pissed with all the attention and in describes it in a defiant poem ‘’Coppers hassle us left, right and centre. But we aren’t going to stop, we are here to stay and the tax will have to pay (a reference to the wasted tax payer dollars) we try our best and they are attacking us in every way. They are trying to harm our families, trying to close people with tattoo studios and stop people who drive trucks and trying to kill our way of making a living. We are stopped from going, so we got our clubhouses, we bought them, they are ours, now they sit outside and make sure we drive out, put the breathalysers on us, either way we play the game, they put us to shame. But we aren’t going to stop we are here to stay.’’
700 members, supporters and guests turned up on the night many with gifts that ended up filling an entire Pantech truck and whilst the night wasn’t compulsory for members there was a large contingent from local, interstate and international chapters represented. The police presence whilst not great was still there and they were noted on one occasion during the night for pulling over a car load of young ladies on the way to the party and telling them to just keep going, after hearing this Alex says ‘’we are used to it, they are not (visitors) and get a bit terrified about it. We aren’t going to watch them the flag keeps on flying and that’s what it’s all about!’’ It was not long after this Alex was asked to the stage to give a speech. But the night wasn’t all about Alex ‘’we decided to make three parties into one and make it all more happier mood’’ he says calling two of Chapter members to the stage and presenting Tony his 10 year, long service patch “Tony does a lot for this club’’ says Alex and Sydney Chapter Sergeant of arms Simon with his 20th year patch. Both received large framed patches and mementos and Simon also received a Blockhead EVO Rigid bobber for his 20th year, 15 of which Sergeant of Arms. Simon was blown away by the generosity of the boys and the word was the bike had only been finished hours before the presentation. Alex also asked the gathered for a minutes silence to respect the memory of an old boxing opponent and good friend Fred Gibson, Alex spoke to Fred only a couple of months before he died and was asked by Fred’s family to say something as his funeral and had this to say about his old mate Fred ‘’Fred Gibson, a gentlemen of a man. A good boxer, good footballer and he use to break in horses. I fought his cousin Eric 3times and that’s how I knew him and we became good friends’’. Alex has written a poem to fair well his good mate Fred and thought he would finish up with one he made up whilst we were speaking for his birthday ‘’I’m just 60 years old. Still young and never done what I’ve been told. I left school not knowing how to read or write, but comes to poetry I’m pretty bright and when the law comes running for us, I don’t run and hide, we are here to stay we are here to fight!’’