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National Museum of Australia

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Photograph of Winnie O'Sullivan standing with her hands clasped

2006.0041.0006

Photograph of Winnie O'Sullivan standing with her hands clasped

Object information

Physical description

Black and white photograph that depicts Winnie O'Sullivan standing with her hands clasped, with a building behind her. "...back of flat / Los Angeles..." is written on the back.

Statement of significance

The Kevin Hannan collection consists of material relating to the grieving of Winnie O'Sullivan over the death of her fiance, Australian champion boxer Les Darcy, in 1917. The collection is supported by 2 postcards and 6 photographs depicting Darcy's ill-fated boxing career in America, and friends and family of Winnie O'Sullivan central to the Darcy story throughout various periods of her life.

After rising to stardom as a champion boxer during the First World War period, Les Darcy became a political scapegoat of the first conscription referendum in 1916. A young, fit and healthy example of Australian masculinity, Darcy symbolized all males whom the greater public had deemed eligible for service and were shirking their duty of serving their country on the battlefield. Darcy subsequently left Australia to establish a boxing career in America, but died from septicaemia caused by a tooth infection in May 1917 at the age of 21. Although the material speaks something of Darcy's plight, it also reflects the ways in which Australians dealt with death, loss and mourning during the early twentieth century, but more importantly, during the devastating years of the First Word War.

Object information

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