Flynn’s Tours founder, Johnny Gannan is passionate about sharing the Australasian and Oceanic region with it’s scenic splendour and it’s First Peoples culture and their hospitality towards global travellers. He has toured extensively throughout Papua New Guinea, East Timor – Timor Leste, Indonesia, South East Asia, India, China, Japan, New Zealand, the Australian continent and even Antarctica over the last four decades.
Since 2007, his tours enhance travellers' life experience through the discovery, adventure and cultural immersion of high quality tours. His mission is to design and conduct safe, educational and exciting tours which cater for a range of ages, interests and budgets; respect local communities; promote sustainable tourism, and make possible special memories.
Johnny was born in Melbourne where he was awarded his Queen Scout Award as a teenager. He commenced publishing Community Newspapers, aged nineteen and developed two publishing groups in different markets enabling their purchase by global publishers, News Limited and Fairfax Media. He has owned and run numerous major events and holds tertiary qualifications in event management, vocational training and marketing. Johnny has also enjoyed farming a variety of animals and crops.
Johnny Gannan derives immense satisfaction and joy drawing on his extensive travel experience and cultural immersion to create special memories for his tour participants.
Johnny’s family history has been enriched by adventurous travel. His Great, great, grandfather, the Irishman, Patrick Gannan arrived in Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), the cruelest penal colony in British Empire, in 1838 at the age of 16 on a convict ship. As a free man he crossed Bass Strait and settled in Victoria in the early 1840’s during the first decade of the colony’s European settlement. Johnny’s Grandfather, Jim Gannan, served in the Australian AIF during World War One and traveled to Europe where he survived a wounding by a German machine gun at the “Battle of Poziere” , during the “Battle of the Somme” in France in July 1916. Australian official historian Charles Bean say’s the Pozieres ridge “is more densely sown with Australian sacrifice than any other place on earth”. Johnny’s Father, Tony Gannan served in the Australian AIF during the Second World War serving in Palestine and Syria in the Middle East and closer to home in Papua New Guinea for an extended period in battles that included the “Battle of Wau” in the rugged ranges above the coastline of Salamaua in January 1943. Corporal Gannan distinguished himself in the “Siege of Milak” near Maprik in the East Sepik region in March of 1945. (ref: pg 415 “Hell’s Battlefield” by Phillip Bradley, Allen & Unwin 2012). Tony passed away, aged 93 years old in January 2014.
Pictured above left : Tony Gannan sitting in a foxhole after the "siege of Milak" in the Torricelli Mountains in the North-East of Papua New Guinea in 1945. Married during the war years, Tony and his much loved wife Mary lived for over seventy years in Ferntree Gully, Victoria. Both lived active family lives into their nineties.
Pictured left : Jim Gannan whilst serving in the AIF following his wounding
at the "Battle of Poziere" on the Western Front in France. His injury did not preclude him from an active working life following the First World War, raising a family of 6 children with his much loved wife Maggie and playing a handy game of billiards and lawn bowls.
Whilst earlier generations of the Gannan’s journey’s are mired in the cruelness of a harsh penal system and the mud and blood of two world wars, of the next generation, Johnny has crafted his combined passions for travel and service to provide unique and adventurous tours to global travellers.
Johnny Gannan who independently owns Flynn’s Tours enjoys his work providing a lightheartedly informative and educational perspective to his clients travelling experience. He is known for seeking out the quirky, the curious and that chance encounter as well as collaborating with the most experienced and congenial local guides.
He has a sound knowledge of the region where Flynn’s Tours operate and strong personal relationships with the associated service providers including airlines, hotel and guesthouse owners along with boat and vehicle operators as well as local characters and village chiefs.
WHAT'S IN A NAME?
Johnny chose the name Flynn’s Tours to acknowledge the adventurous spirit of the world renowned Australian born actor, Errol Flynn who travelled the globe acting out the lives of history’s more swashbuckling characters. Errol spent his early years before his movie career, in real life adventures, played out in a region stretching from the south coast of Tasmania to the New Guinea Islands on the Equator.
This region happens to be where Flynn’s Tours operates as well as where Johnny’s family history has played out since the early nineteenth century. Errol Flynn commenced life in 1909 in Hobart, on the island of Tasmania located off the south-east coast of Australia. He was born to parents Theodore Flynn, a respected biologist, and his mother, Marelle. As a young man in 1927, he went to Papua New Guinea seeking and failing to find his fortune. For a time he held a position as a Cadet Patrol officer at Kokopo in East New Britain.
Many adventurous jobs followed, as a gold prospector in the Wau – Salamaua area, a slave recruiter and a manager of coconut and tobacco plantations. He went hunting after the elusive Bird of Paradise for it’s feathers along the length of the Sepik River and lazed on his yacht “Sirocco” off the beaches and reefs of New Ireland.
Escaping life on the edge, he appeared in the lead role of Fletcher Christian in the film “In the Wake of the Bounty” (1933). He furthered his career at England’s Northampton Repertory Company before becoming a Hollywood movie star after appearing as a swashbuckling “Captain Blood” (1935).A succession of popular films followed including “The Charge of the Light Brigade” (1936), “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938) and “Seahawk” (1940), establishing his zeal for the action-adventure genre. He was accused of been a fascist sympathizer who spied for the Nazis. These refuted allegations would seem at odds with Flynn’s political beliefs that were left-wing. Errol, was an ardent supporter of the Spanish Republic, where he served as a war correspondent and was a supporter of the Cuban revolution. He admired Fidel Castro and considered him a personal friend.
Flynn had a reputation for womanising, hard drinking, and for a while in the 1940’s narcotic abuse. Married 3 times Flynn fathered 4 children. Controversy was never far away and in 1943, Flynn was aquitted after been accused and charged with statutory rape. After quitting Hollywood, Flynn lived in Jamaica in the early 50’s, where he was largely responsible for developing tourism. He popularised river trips on bamboo rafts. Flynn died whilst on a trip to Canada in 1959, most probably from a pulmonary embolism. A life of hard living had taken it’s toll on Eroll’s body, but, oh what a life it was!