Declan Affley

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Declan Affley
Birth nameDeclan James Affley
Born(1939-09-08)8 September 1939
Cardiff, Wales
Died27 June 1985(1985-06-27) (aged 45)
Sydney, Australia
GenresFolk music
Occupation(s)Folk singer, actor
InstrumentsGuitar, banjo, tin whistle, fiddle, uilleann pipes
Years active1960–1985
Associated actsThe Wild Colonial Boys
Lazy Harry's

Declan James Affley (8 September 1939 – 27 June 1985) was an Australian folk singer and musician.


Affley was born in Cardiff, Wales, to working-class Catholic parents of Irish descent. As a child, he learned to play the clarinet and picked up some Irish songs from his father.[1]

At age 16, he joined the British Merchant Navy and travelled to Japan and Australia, where he jumped ship in 1959 to find work on coastal ships based in Sydney. At a harbourside pub, the Royal George, he discovered the Sydney Push and joined its folksinging scene, which had links with other establishments in Melbourne.

Affley became a regular performer at the Troubadour Coffee Lounge in Sydney and later at Frank Traynor's Folk Club, Melbourne, leading to appearances at many other venues and folk festivals. He played small parts in several films including Peter Weir's The Last Wave, and Richard Lowenstein's Strikebound, of which he was musical director. His group the Wild Colonial Boys appeared in the Tony Richardson film Ned Kelly in 1970.[1]

He married Colleen Zeita Burke in Melbourne on 11 December 1967. A son and a daughter were born from the marriage.[2]

Affley was well known as a singer of traditional songs such as "Carrickfergus" as well as performing the work of contemporary songwriters including John Dengate, Don Henderson and Harry Robertson. He died suddenly at the age of 45 from a dissecting aneurysm of the aorta.[2]

Memorial award[edit]

Affley is remembered by the Declan Affley memorial award for excellence in a young performer, awarded annually at the National Folk Festival in Canberra.[2]

Sound recording[edit]


  1. ^ a b Burke, Colleen Z. Declan Affley - A rake & rambling man at JAM, Folk Federation of NSW. (Sourced to an unspecified edition of Trad and Now.
  2. ^ a b c Dengate J. Affley, Declan James (1939–1985) at Australian Dictionary of Biography, 2007