John Harrigan

Sydney-based promoter, manager, venue operator, 1960s



John Harrigan was one of the leading promoter/managers of the 60s in Sydney.

As a manager Harrigan's clients included two of the top groups of the beat boom, Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs and Ray Brown & The Whispers, as well as lesser known but influential acts like The Missing Links.

Harrigan also ran his own Harrigan Agency, which was probably the top booking agency in Sydney in the mid-60-s. Its clients included Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, Max Merritt & The Meteors, Ray Brown & The Whispers, Chris Hall & The Torquays, The Missing Links and The Sunsets (who became Tamam Shud).

As a promoter and venue owner-manager, Harrigan was also a key figure. He opened and managed Sydney's first major beat venue, Surf City in Kings Cross, as well as its sister venue The Beach House in Elizabeth St, The Star Club and the Sunset Disco.

In in the mid-60s Harrigan joined forces with Kings Cross entrepreneur Dennis Wong, (who owned Chequers nightclub) and they jointly operated two important new venues in Sydney -- the Hawaiian Eye in the city and the legendary Whiskey Au Go Go in William St, Darlinghurst, which was Australia's most successful licenced venue of the era.

Billy Thorpe described Harrigan thus:

"John Harrigan was a hustler and swift as a fart. But above all else he was a believer in the scene and and in me."


References / Links

Billy Thorpe - Most People I Know (Think That I'm Crazy), Pan McMillan 1998)