Les DarcyPrint Page Print this page

24-November-2019 (Sandra Brown)
24-November-2019 (Sandra Brown)

Photographs supplied by Diane Watson / Sandra Brown

The sculpture commemorates boxer Les Darcy (1895-1917).

One of 10 children of an Irish Catholic share farming family, Les Darcy quickly developed a love of boxing which was a major sport in those days. He left school at 12 to become a carter and then became a blacksmith’s apprentice. (He became very fit and strongly built as the blacksmith’s striker). He began to fight in tournaments at 15 and showed natural talent. He soon became a drawcard and in two years to September, 16, 1916 he won 22 consecutive bouts.

He had an enormous following from Maitland and the coalfields and each new fight was awaited with eager anticipation. He was not recognised as undisputed world middleweight champion but he beat a series of American imports who included most of the best of the era. In that period he tried to enlist but he was under 21 and his mother refused her consent.

In October, 1916, shortly before his 21st birthday Darcy heeded some bad advice. He sailed surreptitiously for the United States in a bid to clinch an official world title. After that nothing went right. Newspapers branded him a coward and deserter, United States State Governors banned him from boxing, promoters abandoned him, fans sent him white feathers. In Memphis, Tennessee he fell ill with blood poisoning and died on May 24, in state in a chapel in Sydney and it is claimed that 700,000 were in his funeral procession.


Address:New England Highway & Grant Street, East Maitland, 2323
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.747435
Long: 151.582476
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Sculpture
Monument Theme:People
Artist:Tanya Bartlett (Newcastle, NSW)


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 5th August, 2000
Front Inscription

James Leslie 

1895 - 1917

World And Australian Boxing Champion

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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