In 1989 Emu Park hosted a mammoth Ahern Reunion. Three generations of Aherns descended from Fred and Hilda through their 12 children gathered in Emu Park to catch up and share stories.
As part of the reunion, the Aherns fielded a football team to play the locals. That team made history as the first rugby league team to boast an entire team of players all bearing the same last name.
The match was refereed by former State of Origin Referee Mr Barry ‘Grasshopper’ Gomersall and was witnessed by over 1000 spectators. Despite the large support-base present and a valiant effort from the boys, the Aherns went down 38-8 on the dusty Emu Park oval. But as the family motto, impressively emblazoned on the green football jerseys, reads, ‘Per Adua Surgo’ – ‘I rise through difficulties’, the Aherns didn’t let the loss dissuade them from an epic celebration after the match.
The reunion was so well-enjoyed that Gordon Ahern, Hilda and Fred’s third son, issued a challenge for the family to meet again in 20 years. A challenge the next generation were only too happy to take up…