© Clan Munro (Association) Australia v03012021kjb


Clan Munro (Association) Australia : The Official Registered Website of the Clan in Australia

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© Clan Munro (Association) Australia v04012021kjb

Hugh married Susan Dunn in 1898 and among their seven children were two boys destined to become famous jockeys, James Leslie Munro1906-1974 and David Hugh (Darby) Munro 1913-1966. Around 1916 the family moved to Randwick in Sydney where James was indentured to his father. At age 15 James had his first ride in the Melbourne Cup. In 1923 he was second on Rivoli but won on Windbag in 1925 and Statesman in 1928. He also won the Sydney Cup on Prince Charles in 1922. In the 1920s he won many races in Sydney and Melbourne on outstanding horses including Phar Lap, Amounis and Valicare.

Increasing weight forced retirement in 1938. He became a trainer and died at Randwick in 1974 survived by his wife Florence and a daughter. Darby attended the Marist Brothers College in Randwick. At age ten he so impressed the punter Eric Connelly with the way he handled horses for his father Hugh, that he took him to Melbourne to help train his string of fifty horses. He became indentured to his father and won his first race at 14. In 1930 he won the Australian Jockey Club Challenge Stakes and Doncaster Handicap on Venetian Lady. In 1933 he won the AJC Derby and Victoria Racing Club Derby on Hall Mark. He won his first Melbourne Cup in 1934 on Peter Pan. He won the Cup again in 1944 on Sirius and in 1946 on Russia. He also rode three Sydney Cup and one Brisbane Cup winners.

Punters had a love-hate relationship with him and nicknamed him ‘The Demon Darb’ but by 1939 he was recognised as the best jockey in Australia. Throughout the 1930s and 1940s he had many wins in Melbourne and Sydney, riding nine winners at the 1940 AJC Easter Carnival. After being disqualified for two years in 1948 he rode in California and France. Darby had a constant battle with his weight and retired in 1955 with a trainer’s licence.

Darby was five foot two and had a swarthy complexion, which led many to incorrectly believe he was of Aboriginal extraction. He married three times and had two daughters by his second wife. In 1964 his left leg was amputated due to diabetes. He died in Sydney Hospital in 1966 from cerebral haemorrhage and is buried in Randwick Cemetery.

Many descendants of John Munro and Eliza Sutherland are living in Australia. Their son Joseph’s family is scattered mainly throughout Queensland and New South Wales whilst Hugh’s descendants are still living around Geelong, Melbourne and in the High Country of Victoria.

Editor's note: Darby's swarthy appearance is very easily explained. When the English fleet defeated the Spanish Armada, the ships fled north, round the top of Scotland, back down the west coast and past Ireland to try and make their way back to Spain. Many of ships were wrecked on the wild Scottish & Irish coasts and the Spaniards who survived, integrated with the local people and their dark genes live on. There are many dark skinned Scots and Irish.

© Lizzi Bell

Ancestor Darby Munro