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Jack Darcy (1901–1987)

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This entry is from People Australia

Jack Darcy, born Henri Charles Marcenat or Mercenat (1902-1987) miner, trade unionist and Communist activist 

Birth: 22 March 1902 at Philippeville (now Skikda), Algeria, son of French parents Albert Charles Marcenat and his wife. Marriage: 24 March 1926 in the office of the Registrar General, Adelaide, to Myrtle Millicent Scown. They had two daughters and one son. Death: 11 January 1987 at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales. Religion: nominal Catholic. 

  • Served in the French Mercantile Marine during World War I.
  • Arrived in Australia in 1919. Lived in South Australia. Went to Broken Hill about 1925 where he worked in the South Mine. Marcenat was naturalised on 5 December 1927. That year he changed his name by deed poll to Jack Darcy.
  • President of the Barrier District Assembly of the Australian Labor Party and representative on that body from Workers’ Industrial Union of Australia. In 1933 he was also reported to be president of the Broken Hill Anti-War Council and vice president of the Workers’ Educational Association.
  • In June 1939 Darcy narrowly escaped death when searching for victims of a gigantic rock fall at the South Mine in which four men (Percy Roy McGregor, 46, John Martin, 31, Alfred Rodda, 21, and John Falchi, 22) perished.
  • Was a labourer when he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 3 July 1940. After postings in Australia, he arrived in the Middle East in July 1941 and served in the 2/23rd Battalion from September 1941 to January 1943. Was a ‘Rat of Tobruk’, having spent one month helping to defend the fortress, but missed the battle of El Alamein because of a detached retina, which kept him in South Australia for the remainder of the war, finishing as a private in the 29th Works Company. He was discharged on 12 November 1945.
  • Later was an active Communist speaker and supporter. Stood as Communist candidate for municipal council in 1950.
  • Cause of death: metastatic carcinoma of lung.

photo and profile, Barrier Daily Truth (Broken Hill), 7 September 1933, [p 5]

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Citation details

'Darcy, Jack (1901–1987)', People Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 20 July 2024.

© Copyright Labour Australia, 2012

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • Marcenat, Henri Charles
  • Mercenat, Henri Charles

22 March, 1901
Skikda, Algeria


11 January, 1987 (aged 85)
Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death

cancer (lung)

Cultural Heritage

Includes subject's nationality; their parents' nationality; the countries in which they spent a significant part of their childhood, and their self-identity.

Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.

Military Service
Key Organisations
Political Activism