18 August 2023

Long-time Wollongong councillor and former Mayor Alex Darling dies

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Former Wollongong Lord Mayor Alex Darling in his mayoral robes.

Former Wollongong Lord Mayor Alex Darling. Photo: Wollongong City Council.

Former Wollongong Lord Mayor, long-time councillor and businessman Alex Darling has passed away.

Mr Darling served for three terms as a councillor between 1987 and 2002, was Deputy Lord Mayor from 2001 to 2002 and Lord Mayor from 2002 to 2008.

Born in Wollongong, Mr Darling began working in a jeweller’s shop before and after school at the age of 12.

He was the city’s first apprentice jeweller, leaving school after obtaining the equivalent of Year 9, and started his own jewellery business at 21.

He was also a promising rugby league player and was only 17 when he made his first grade debut with Corrimal.

He was serving as Mayor when Wollongong Council was sacked in 2008 following the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry into a sex and bribes scandal linked to large development projects, though he was not involved. Administrators were appointed to run the council for the following three years.

Wollongong City Council General Manager Greg Doyle said Mr Darling was always a passionate advocate for the community.

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“He loved Wollongong and was proud to lead the council as Lord Mayor for six years, and to be a councillor for so many more, as he worked to deliver the best for the community,” Mr Doyle said.

“It was during his tenure that the strategic framework for the city centre, or the Revitalising Wollongong City Centre Plan, was developed.

“It was also when early planning and visioning work was done on the Blue Mile precinct – an area which continues to develop and grow as a premier spot for people to socialise, exercise and relax.”

Mr Darling received the title of Emeritus Mayor and was awarded an Outstanding Service Award at the October 2007 Local Government Association Annual Conference.

“There was no question that Alex was dedicated to our community, and this was reflected in him receiving a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2007 which recognised his service to local government and the community,’’ Mr Doyle said.

“Today, we all will take a moment to reflect upon this man who worked to improve our city for the better through his range of business and commerce, industry and public infrastructure, arts and service projects.’’

Mr Darling’s funeral will be held at Hansen & Cole Funerals at Kembla Grange on Saturday, 26 August at 10:30 am.

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