Vale John O'Brien

On Friday, the Gatton Hawks lost one of its favourite sons.

Club Patron and life member John O’Brien passed away following a long battle with illness.

He leaves behind his wife and five children.

O’Brien’s infectious personality saw him loved by many. His passion for rugby league and the Gatton Hawks was second to none. 

He will be remembered for his infectious personality which saw him loved by many.

John loved all sports, but rugby league was his main passion.

He captained the Gatton Hawks for many years, including leading the club to their 1963 premiership win.

He had a real connection with the club and he never let his passion for it dwindle.

One of his significant achievements was helping to build the Hawks’ home ground that is now known as the Cahill Park Sports Complex.

The complex is an excellent facility now, many thanks to O’Brien being ‘one of the boys’ who made sure the club had the money to buy the land.

He was an excellent businessman and a significant part of Gatton’s rugby league journey that will never be forgotten.

John attended almost every game the club was involved in and celebrated the clubs’ premiership wins just as much, if not more, than the players themselves.

Winning the Ipswich Rugby League titles in 1978, 1983, 1984 and 1985 as well as the Toowoomba Rugby League titles in 1989 and 2013 were the special moments for O’Brien as a proud life member.

A long-time sponsor of the Gatton Hawks, the clubs’ jersey is synonymous with the O’Brien family Toyota brand.

Anyone involved with the Hawks will have a John O’Brien story.

The Gatton Rugby League would like to extend their heartfelt condolences to his wife, four children, their children and the entire O’Brien family at this time.

The Gatton community will continue to mourn his loss in the time ahead.

As a mark of gratitude and respect, there will be a guard of honour at his farewell service to be held at the Gatton Anglican Church (68 Railway Street, Gatton), from 10am this Friday, March 23.

John O’Brien’s passion was always unquestionably strong for the Gatton Hawks, the greater Toowoomba region and to rugby league itself.

His family that he leaves behind are an ornament to our game.

*Wyatt Cook-Revell is the QRL correspondent for Toowoomba Junior Rugby League