Peter Starkie, one of the founding members of Australian band Skyhooks, has tragically passed away at the age of 72, in what has brother Bob described as “one of those stupid ladder accidents”. Starkie was involved in an accident on Sunday, which led to his death.
“Very sad to deliver the news that my brother Peter has tragically died,” he wrote on Facebook on Tuesday. “Peter George Starkie was born in Sydney in 1948, he was only 72 when he took the dive and had plenty of life ahead of him.”
“Apart from being a fabulous guitarist he was a brother who I looked up to,” Bob went on. “Quite honestly this is just a f**king tragedy especially for Dianna and the girls. (and in lockdown!) So one and all, as my mother would say – ‘count your Blessings’.”
A statement was also posted on the official Skyhooks Facebook page which read: “It’s with sadness that we have to post that one of the original Skyhooks- Peter Starkie has passed away (age 72). A tragic accident on Sunday led to his death. Our thoughts and condolences go out to Bob and family during this sad time.”
Peter was one of the band’s co-founders in 1973, along with Steve Hill, Peter Ingliss, Greg Macainsh and Freddie Strauks. However he left the band later that year and was replaced by his brother Bob Starkie. Other notable members of the band include Hey Hey It’s Saturday star Red Symons who joined the band in the 1970s.
The group enjoyed success with hit records ‘Toorak Cowboy’, ‘Horror Movie’ and ‘Ego is Not A Dirty Word’. However Starkie had already left the band before their first two albums made it big.
Starkie is survived by his partner Dianna, with Bob describing the couple as being “happily inseparable for the last twenty odd years”, as well as three daughters.
Fans paid tribute to the musician on social media following the news, with one writing: “Sending love to Bob, his family and everyone who’s a part of our beloved ‘Skyhooks’. ‘Shirl’ will be waiting there to greet him.” Another commented: “This is how an obituary should be written … My condolences.”
While another wrote: “Thank you so much for sharing, Bob. Peter was a part of so many musical memories for so many people. I’m so glad he bought you a guitar. Life would [be] odd without your riffs.”
Starkie was born in Sydney in 1948 and spent his early years on the Woomera Rocket range, where his father was stationed with the RAAF. The family then moved to Melbourne and Canberra, before making the move to London in 1961, where they spent two years before moving back to Melbourne. It was at Melbourne University that Starkie met Red Symons.
“Living in England was a game changer for Peter,” younger brother Bob said. “They were exciting times with the emergence of the Beatles and Rolling Stones. Peter started guitar lessons and when we returned to Melbourne, he was ahead of the game.”