Menu toggle

National Museum of Australia

Where our stories come alive

Collection Explorer

4

Photograph of Winnie O'Sullivan sitting on a backless stool, c1917

2006.0041.0009

Photograph of Winnie O'Sullivan sitting on a backless stool, c1917

Object information

Physical description

Sepia photograph portrait mounted on card that depicts Winnie O'Sullivan sitting on a backless stool, taken c.1917. "Wynne O'Sullivan" is written in pencil 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

Back to top