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Photographs supplied by Sandra Brown

The monument erected over the grave commemorates Les Darcy who died in 1917. 

The gravesite was restored and completed in 2012 with funds provided by the Federal Government and the Australian National Boxing Hall of Fame, which raised more than $60,000 to repair the grave.

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.

His body was brought back to Australia and, after immense funeral processions in San Francisco and Sydney, was buried in the Catholic section of East Maitland cemetery.  It is claimed that 700,000 were in his funeral procession.

The memorial to the late Les Darcy has been completed, but in consequence of the influenza epidemic the unveiling has been postponed to a future date. The monument, which has been erected in the East Maitland Cemetery, cost £300. It is in the form of a Celtic cross, and is in brown marble.
Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW), 16 February 1919.


Address:Raymond Terrace Road, East Maitland Cemetery, Roman Catholic Section, East Maitland, 2323
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.756276
Long: 151.608347
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Grave
Monument Theme:People


Approx. Monument Dedication Date:1919
Front Inscription

    Of Your Charity
Pray For The Soul Of 
Late Champion Middleweight Boxer of the World
Born At Woodville NSW October 28, 1896
Died At Memphis USA May 24, 1917
Eternal Rest Grant Unto Him O Lord 
And Let Perpetual Light Shine Upon Him
May He Rest In Peace Amen

Being Made Perfect, In A Short Space, 
He Fulfilled A Long Time. Wisdom IV.13.

This Monument Has Been Erected To The Memory Of James Leslie Darcy, By His Numerous Admirers And Friends Throughout The Australian Commonwealth, As A Tribute To His Unsurpassed Brilliancy As A Boxer; And In Testimony Of His High And Loveable Character And Of The Uprightness And Integrity Of His Life 

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