From Housing Commission Flats to Movie Stars and PRISON: The Rise and Fall of Sydney’s Notorious Bra Boys Gang – as Two of the Founding Brothers Face Court

They began in the early 1990s as a beachside band of brothers who came together to surf big waves and protect their home break.

But the Bra Boys from Maroubra, in Sydney’s south-east, soon had a reputation beyond fierce tribalism including street violence and other anti-social behaviour.

Among their number have been members charged with murder, armed robbery and smuggling cocaine.

Along the way the Bra Boys have been the subject of a movie, formed a clothing label and inspired the fictional River Boys in the TV drama series Home And Away.

Bra Boys founder Koby Abberton pictured with his psychologist wife Olya Nechiporenko

Big waver surfer Koby Abberton with his model-turned-actor former girlfriend Tahyna Tozzi

Brothers Koby (left), Sunny (centre) and Jai (in sunglasses) Abberton outside court in 2006

Koby (left) and Sunny Abberton (right) with Russell Crowe at the premiere of the Bra Boys film

For years the gang seemed to go quiet but this week they have been back in the headlines.

 Just this month two of the Bra Boys’ founding members, brothers Jai and Koby Abberton, have made news at Waverley Local Court, again.

More than a decade ago Waverley magistrate Lee Gilmour commented on the alarming frequency with which Jai had been before the court.

She said he and his family had ‘been through the ringer the last couple of years’ and needed to ‘get back to the status quo.’

‘He’s always been polite, well-behaved and not problematic in court,’ Ms Gilmour said in August 2006 when Jai was before her charged with affray.

The Abberton brothers – Sunny, Jai, Koby and Dakota – are synonymous with the Bra Boys but it has sometimes been others who have sullied the gang’s name.

Jai Abberton (in red T-shirt) has been charged over a home invasion in December last year

A promotional poster for the Bra Boys: Blood Is Thicker Than Water movie released in 2007

Jai Abberton gestures at the media as he leaves Waverley Local Court in August 2006

Back in 2009 a syndicate with alleged links to the Bra Boys – not the Abbertons – was caught smuggling cocaine through Sydney Airport.

Last year, a man bearing the Bra Boys signature tattoo – My Brother’s Keeper – was one of two people charged with the murder of a homeless person near Maroubra.

Ray and Jackson Travers, aged 20 and 18 respectively, were arrested in July over the June 21 alleged stabbing murder of Peter Hofmann, 68.

The older brother has ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ tattooed across his stomach. The Travers brothers are still before the local court.

At the time core Bra Boys members suggested a younger, drug-fueled generation had misappropriated the gang’s name and slogan.

In August, the teenage son of a former Bra Boy won the right to at least $100,000 after his family finally agreed to end a bitter court battle over his father’s purported $30 million empire.

Muslim convert Cade Dallas, who grew up at Maroubra, died in 2012 after a two-week party binge in Bali, where he had moved to develop clothing brand Somewhere.

Film directors Macario De Souza (left) and Sunny Abberton (right) with Koby Abberton (centre)

Bra Boys founder member and former pro surfer Koby Abberton with wife Olya Nechiporenko 

Koby Abberton met his wife Olya Nechiporenko in Bali, where they now live (both pictured)

Shortly before his death Dallas allegedly penned a will in which he asked for his fortune to be split evenly between his children.

The will led to a bitter court battle between Dallas’s Balinese ex-wife and his mother in part over how the will should be interpreted under Islam.

None of those matters involved the Abbertons, who were the subject of a 2007 documentary called Bra Boys: Blood Is Thicker Than Water, narrated by Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe.

The boys were born to a heroin-addicted mother and cared for by their grandmother Mavis, known as Ma. Sunny, Jai and Koby all grew up to surf professionally.

Koby described the Bra Boys ethos to in 2016: ‘Our creed stands for unconditional love, respect and support of those close to you regardless of race, gender and age.’

Jai, who has been tried and acquitted of murder, has in recent years also embraced Islam.

Ray Travers (right) with his My Brother's Keeper Bra Boys tattoo has been charged with murder

Big wave surfer Koby Abberton and his Ukrainian model wife Olya Nechiporenko have a son

Koby, who moved to Bali where he became close to drug smugglers Andew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran before their 2015 executions, is married to Olya Nechiporenko, a Ukrainian model, psychologist and accountant.

He was previously in a relationship with model-turned-actor Tahyna Tozzi and once gave surfing lessons to heiress Paris Hilton.

Sunny, the oldest of the brothers and the man behind the Bra Boys film, has laboured as a fly-in fly-out worker in mines in Western Australia.

Together the Abbertons established a clothing label called MyBrothersKeeper.

The Bra Boys came to prominence outside Maroubra in late 2002 when more than 100 members attending a birthday party at the Coogee-Randwick Club brawled with off-duty police leaving a Christmas party at the same place.

It was Jai who first brought the Abbertons widespread unwanted attention when he shot dead standover man Tony Hines, whose naked body was found at the base of cliffs at Maroubra in 2003.

Original Bra Boy Koby Abberton signs a surfboard with heiress Paris Hilton at Bondi in 2007

Koby (left), Sunny (centre) and Jai Abberton (right) were the founding members of the Bra Boys

Accused armed robber Jai Abberton leaves Waverley Local Court after a 2006 appearance

Two years later he was found not guilty of murder on the grounds of self-defence, successfully claiming Hines was going to rape a woman and kill him.

Koby was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice in relation to the same matter and given a nine month suspended sentence.

In 2008 he spent three days in custody for assaulting an off-duty police officer in Honolulu, Hawaii.

In September 2009 Jai was jailed for 15 months with a minimum nine months following a melee in March at Byron Bay police station, where he was tasered three times.

He tried to have charges including two counts of assaulting police and one of causing grievous bodily harm overturned on the basis of mental illness.

Tweed Heads Local Court heard Jai had been in a drug rehabilitation facility and broken multiple bones after jumping out of a tree.

Koby Abberton was the most successful surfer among the four Maroubra-raised brothers

On Thursday Jai was in custody at Waverley Local Court after being arrested the previous day in relation to an alleged home invasion involving a meat cleaver.

The 44-year-old was refused bail on charges of armed robbery with an offensive weapon causing wounding or grievous bodily harm and entering a dwelling with the intent to steal, causing grievous bodily harm.

Police say Jai and two unidentified men forced their way into a South Coogee unit about 10pm on December 12 last year and robbed a 43-year-old man.

One of the other men was wearing a balaclava and the resident was allegedly assaulted with a pole.

Police allege Abberton told the alleged victim: ‘I should get a knife out at you and get you to sign this unit over.’

Professional surfer Koby Abberton in action at the Billabong Pro in Teahupoo, Tahiti, in 2007

Former Bra Boy member Cade Dallas left a $30 million estate after his death in Bali in 2012

Sunny Abberton (left) with brother Koby (in white shirt) with Oscar winner Russell Crowe

One of Jai’s alleged accomplices grabbed a meat cleaver from the kitchen and cut the back of the man’s left leg, the court heard.

He is accused of stealing the man’s wallet, 10 grams of cannabis and a sheet of Valium.

The court heard Jai was on a disability support pension due to mental health issues.

Younger brother Koby was supposed to be before the same court on February 5 over charges stemming from a bizarre roadside incident with police but did not show up.

Koby, the most successful of the brothers on the surfing world stage, had locked himself in a car then stripped off his clothes on a busy Sydney street when police tried to search him for drugs.

The 39-year-old was convicted and fined $1,000 in his absence for hindering police, offensive conduct and not carrying a driver’s licence.

Former professional surfer Koby Abberton after he was arrested for assault in Hawaii
Sunny (left) and Koby Abberton (right) were born to a heroin-addicted mother in Maroubra

Koby was driving a silver Hyundai SUV when police pulled him over at the intersection of Bronte Road and Birrell Street, Bondi Junction, about 6.20pm on October 12, 2016.

Police said while speaking to Koby they detected a strong odour of cannabis.

‘Due to this and known intelligence about the accused police suspected he may have in his possession or in the vehicle a prohibited drug,’ a statement of facts said.

Koby, who told police he had lost his driver’s licence in Bali, refused to be searched and locked himself inside the vehicle.

Eventually he got out and stripped down to his underwear while swearing at police.

doctor’s certificate stating her client had undergone back surgery and was unfit to travel from his home in Bali.

Two days later, the youngest Abberton, Dakota, pleaded guilty in the same court to driving with an illicit drug in his blood and was put on a 12-month good behaviour bond without conviction.

In February 2013, Dakota avoided jail after pleading guilty to reckless wounding in company and assault occasioning bodily harm.

Koby, who gives surfing lessons to children, told two years ago the Bra Boys were a brotherhood and that marriage and fatherhood had changed his life.

‘If you look at any group the Bra Boys included, you are always gong to find bad people among them,’ he said.