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Historical Society Museum

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30-year Bears Anniversary

Sam Lord  January 25, 2017 5:35 PM

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Brad Hardie of the Brisbane Bears in the team huddle during a 1987 VFL match. (GSP Images)

For a Club that boasts a combined history of more than 140 years and 11 premierships, the Brisbane Bears’ decade of existence is often understated.

The Bears didn’t enjoy the same longevity or success as Fitzroy – the founding VFL/AFL club with whom they merged in 1996 – but still played a critical role in establishing the modern-day Brisbane Lions, and the code in Queensland.

In 2017, the Lions will celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the Bears’ first ever VFL game with a reunion function to be held on Saturday 1 April – prior to the team’s first home game of the season against Essendon at the Gabba.

The event will bring together and recognise those past players and officials who helped pioneer VFL/AFL football in Queensland.

They will recount their stories and memories from the inaugural season from the Brisbane Bears – a frontier football team that was initially owned by a joint syndicate headed by businessman/actor, Paul Cronin, and bank-rolled by Christopher Skase’s company, Quintex.

Ex-Hawthorn champion Peter Knights was appointed the Bears’ inaugural coach of a team of players that outsiders branded ‘misfits’ and ‘rejects’.

And so it was, on Friday 27 March 1987, that a new era in Australian Football was born when the Brisbane Bears stepped onto the MCG for their first official VFL match against North Melbourne – and against overwhelming odds, the newcomers triumphed over the Kangaroos by 33 points.

It was an unforgettable post-match scene as 20 players and a largely inexperienced coaching staff, administration and support staff clutched pieces of paper carrying the words to the new club song.

It was a fairytale beginning for a side which would beat Geelong at Kardinia Park the following week before the thunderous reality of League football hit home in the following years.

Members and supporters are invited to be part of this special pre-game event to be held at the Pineapple Hotel at a cost of $70 per person.

For further details, check out the EVENT FLYER or download a BOOKING FORM