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Archie Roach (born 1956, Mooroopnamarker, Victoriamarker) is an Australian musician. A singer, songwriter and guitarist, he survived a turbulent upbringing to develop into a powerful voice for indigenous Australians, a storyteller in the tradition of his ancestors, and a nationally popular and respected artist.

For info about his tours visit


In his own words, "I was born in Mooroopna, way there by the river bend... ". Mooroopnamarker is named after an Aboriginal word referring to a bend in the Goulburn Rivermarker, near Sheppartonmarker in central Victoria.

In 1956, Archie Roach's family, along with the rest of the area's indigenous population, were re-housed on Rumbularah mission. Roach and his family subsequently moved to Framlinghammarker, where his mother was born.

While still a very young child, Roach and his sisters, along with many other young people of the 'stolen generation,' were forcibly removed from their family by Australian government agencies, and placed in an orphanage. After enduring two unpleasant placements in foster care Roach was eventually fostered by the Coxes, a family of Scottishmarker immigrants in Melbournemarker. The Coxes' eldest daughter, Mary, played keyboards and guitar in a local pentecostal church, and taught Roach the basics of both instruments. He was further inspired by his foster father's record collection, which included old Scottish ballads and songs by Billie Holiday, the Ink Spots, the Drifters and Nat King Cole.

As a young man, Roach received a letter from an older sister, describing to him the events of their childhood. Angry and hurt, he left his foster home carrying only a guitar. Penniless, he travelled to Sydneymarker and Adelaidemarker, and spent time living on the streets, trying to make sense of his upbringing and find his natural family. He went through periods of alcoholism and despair, but also began to produce music. During this time Roach met his lifelong partner, and musical soulmate, Ruby Hunter. They started a family. Later in their marriage, their home became an open house for teenage Aborigines living on the streets.

In the late 1980s Hunter and Roach formed a band, the Altogethers, with several other indigenous Australians, and moved to Melbourne. There he was overheard by a bandmate of songwriter Paul Kelly, who persuaded Kelly to give Roach an opening slot for some of his concerts.

In 1990, with the encouragement of Kelly, Roach recorded his debut solo album, Charcoal Lane. This album included the song Took the Children Away, a moving indictment of the treatment of indigenous children of Roach's generation, and a song which stuck a chord not only among the wider Aboriginal community, but also nationally. The song was awarded two ARIA Awards, as well as an international Human Rights Achievement Award, the first time this had been awarded to a songwriter because of a song. The album it came from featured in Rolling Stone magazine's Top 100 Albums for 1992.

Roach has recorded three further albums, and toured around the globe, headlining and opening shows for Joan Armatrading, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega and Patti Smith. He has worked on soundtracks for several films, including Rolf de Heer's The Tracker.

Roach and Hunter currently live on a homestead near Berrimarker, South Australiamarker with their children. Their home has become something of a refuge for troubled Aboriginal youngsters, now dealing with some of the problems the couple themselves faced.



Native Born
Charcoal Lane
Munjana (based on the life of Russell Moore, a fostered Aborigine reprieved from death row for the 1988 murder of Barbara Ann Barber in Florida and now serving a 25-year sentence).
I've Lied
Down City Streets
Took The Children Away
Sister Brother
Beautiful Child
No No No
Summer Of My Life

Weeping In The Forest
From Paradise
Mr T
Love In The Morning
Tell Me Why
Walking Into Doors
Wild Blue Gums
So Young
Jamu Dreaming
There Is a Garden

Beggar Man
A Child Was Born Here
My Grandmother
Dancing (With My Spirit)
F Troop
Mother's Heartbeat
Djabugai Lady
Hold On Tight
River Song
Reach For You
Give Unto Caesar
Lois St John
Watching Over Me

Alien Invasion
Life Is Worth Living
Just a Little Time
Will I See You Tonight
Mission Ration Blues
Outside Your Window
Many Waters Rise
Cold Wind Blows
Free To Be a Man
Morning Star
Move It On
Small Child

  • Journey (2007)

External links


  1. Roach, A. (2002) lyrics to Move It On on Sensual Being

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