Ahearne, a native of Ireland, was admitted to L.R.C.S. (Ireland) in 1871, and L.R.C.P. (London) in 1878. He emigrated to Queensland, and went to Cooktown in 1876, where he was appointed government medical officer; in 1877, he was in Thornborough.
He was appointed Government Medical Officer at Townsville in November 1879. He joined the Volunteer Defence Force in 1881, as surgeon to the Artillery. He was appointed Surgeon-Major and Principal Medical Officer for the Northern District in Nov. 1886, and Health Officer at Townsville on 26 Nov. 1886.
In that year he visited England as the representative of the North Queensland Separation League; and much of the progress which has since attended the operations of the League is to be ascribed to the impetus given to it by Dr. Ahearne's exertions. Dr. Ahearne married Elizabeth Frances Cunningham, the daughter of Edward Cunningham, a Queensland squatter.
Ahearne Street in Townsville is named in his memory.
- Mennell, Philip (1892). " Ahearne, Surgeon-Major Joseph". The Dictionary of Australasian Biography. London: Hutchinson & Co. Wikisource
- "The official quarterly list of officers of the Queensland Land Forces, corrected to 31st July, 1900.". Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- Mathew, John (1995). "Highways and byways: the origin of Townsville street names". Townsville: Townsville Library Service. p. 2. Retrieved 5 September 2010.[dead link]
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