Vale: Stephen Darley

May 4, 2022

Stephen Darley passed away on 15th April, 2022 aged 66. He is of great loss to his family, friends and comrades and the organisations which he served with such commitment.

Stephen is described as a man of towering intellect, encyclopedic memory, a gifted speaker, a dear friend of generous spirit and a staunch comrade.

Stephen Darley migrated to Australia with his family from north of Ireland in 1976, initially to New Zealand and then permanently to Australia in 1978. He was proud of and true to his working- class Irish heritage. He didn’t abandon his working -class roots. He fought against economic exploitation, inequality and imperialist wars. He passionately believed that an informed and mobilised grass roots people’s mass movement is decisive in changing the world for a better place for people and the environment. He lectured at the University of Adelaide after gaining his Bachelor of Arts and subsequently his Masters in Environmental Studies. He was an executive member of the People for Nuclear Disarmament in the 1980’s as well as a member of the Australian Independence Movement in the early 1980’s. Later in the 1980’s the Rainbow Alliance was formed and Stephen was a SA representative at its national conferences. The platform of the Rainbow Alliance was environment, peace, land rights, non-violence. It was the leading peace group in SA during the first gulf war. A split in the organisation led to its demise, with those wanting to retain it as a grass-roots movement which Stephen supported and those wanting to go into parliamentary politics forming the Greens Party.

He was an active member of “No War”, which spearheaded opposition to the Iraq War in Adelaide in 2003, and one of key organisers of the 13 February No War on Iraq rally in Adelaide. In 2008 Stephen with others established the South Australian branch of Spirit of Eureka. In 2014 he joined the Independent and Peaceful Australia Network and helped to convene the South Australian branch of IPAN. He subsequently joined the coordinating committee of IPAN as a SA representative, making immense contributions to that committee and its work until his passing. For many years he has maintained a regular radio program on a Community Radio Station, Radio Adelaide stimulating public discussion on issues of peace, Australian independence, and social justice. He was also an activist with LIFE (a living income for everyone).

The work Stephen put into the 2021 IPAN Peoples Inquiry into the costs and consequences of Australian participation in US led wars reflected the value he placed on listening to everyday Australians. His most recent contribution to IPAN’s developing polices was his co-authorship of an Alternative Defence Policy for an independent Australia

In 2021-22 he was one of the founding members of the national Australian Anti-AUKUS Coalition and played a key role on the Interim Working Group.

Stephen’s dedication to peace and justice, his work in IPAN and many years in the anti-war movement, his wisdom and knowledge, will be missed by many.

Tributes to Stephen include:

From friends in IPAN:

“His towering intellect and generosity of spirit was such an inspiration”

“Stephen’s contribution to IPAN was immeasurable – and irreplaceable. “

“Personally, I will miss Stephen’s intellect, voice, action and wisdom. His input to IPAN was mammoth. As you said, a very much loved and respected member of IPAN.”

““He was one of the absolute rocks on which we built the IPAN (Independent and Peaceful Australia Network), a member of the coordinating committee as well as other working groups. We are all devastated that he has passed away, much too young.”

“ I have known and worked with Steve more more than 30 years. First met him as a very young and enthusiastic delegate from Adelaide at the first national conference of the Rainbow Alliance in 1989 in Brisbane. He and my friend Jim Sharp and I became close friends and confidantes from that time on. Then when the upsurge in peace movement activity around Australia in the aftermath of Sept 11 and the “war on terror”, we conversed almost weekly, using the new medium of email! His passion for socialism and Marxism, for environmental justice, for the ongoing struggle of the working class, and for peace and nuclear disarmament was an inspiration to many – as was his particular ability to read and research widely and deeply on the underlying aspects of the social issues we faced. We on the IPAN committee will all miss him greatly.”

“I will miss his warm friendship, insights, sense of humour and unflinching commitment and confidence that the ordinary people will prevail in the struggles for peace and an independent and just Australia.”

And from the IPAN Facebook page:

“A dear friend, comrade and dedicated member activist of Independent and Peaceful Australia Network. Your legacy of striving for justice, a peaceful and independent Australian foreign policy and staunch opposition to wars of aggression will live for ever. You’ve been an inspiration to many.

Rest in peace.”


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