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August 14, 2022

Rest in peace dear man – vale Archie Roach

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Archie Roach – Photo Tree Faerie.

The world has lost an incredible artist and man as the announcement this evening of the passing of Archie Roach travels across the land.

In a statement made by his sons Amos and Eban, Roach passed away surrounded by his family and loved ones, at Warrnambool Base Hospital after a long illness.

A Gunditjmara (Kirrae Whurrong/Djab Wurrung), Bundjalung Senior Elder, songman and storyteller, the statement said that Roach wanted all of his many fans to know how much he loves them for supporting him along the way.

‘We are so proud of everything our dad achieved in his remarkable life. He was a healer and unifying force. His music brought people together.’

A private ceremony will be held at a later stage.

Archie’s sons have given permission for Archie’s name, image and music to be used, so that his legacy will continue to inspire.

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  1. In the pain that won’t go away, the pain that is part of Australian history, and the grief and the tears of sad songs of what White Man has done to the Australian indiginous race, our dear friend and compatiate Archie Roach, has downed tools and refused to crusade any longer and will no longer sing “Took the Children Away”.
    After a very long illness Archie has died, aged 66. He received an Aria Award in 2020 for his song that he wrote and recorded in 1990. Many Australians now know that sad haunting melody and the words over some three decades. The song was released in September 1990 as the debut single on his album Charcoal Lane. And now Archie himself has been taken away from us.
    His two sons Amos and Eban, made a statement that their father passed away surrounded by his family and loved ones, at Warrnambool Base Hospital after a long illness.
    Rest in Peace, old warrior, our Archie, who knew how to write a great song and knew what pain was when a loved one is taken from us.

  2. This is the saddest news ever. If ever Australia needed a trailblazer in song with love and compassion, Archie gave it to us, with his remarkable voice and the ability to touch peoples souls. We were reminded of the grief that Colonisation leaves in its wake and the eternal quest of the Stolen Generations to seek healing.
    Indeed, I had a personal healing from Archie. He relayed how the First Nation kids who lived in the Hinterlands loved it when Billy Leach’s boxing Tents would come to town. The whole mood was one of Carnival with the cry “Come Right up, come right up”. My father, an Irish Catholic was a Boxer and always on the move with Billy’s Boxing Tents. He was passionate about First Nation Rights and the social lack thereof. and, in true Irish fashion identified with human struggle. He believed he had a duty to teach the kids the skills of Boxing (an early Irish defence mechanism). The mob loved it as the kids would get into the Ring with the Boxer’s. Research into Boxing reveals many First Nation Champions and a sense of liberation from the deadening oppression. Archie’s face lit up when he relayed this story (later put into song) and so did my soul lighten …I felt closer to my deceased dad and understood the lost parts of human identity. I will always love and thank you Archie for this great gift and your remarkable songs. Vale dearest man. I love you deeply.

  3. Archie made regular appearances in decades past, at the Fatherhood Family Festival where he brought a gentle dignity to his audience.
    He featured on the fatherhood CD with his song ‘Beautiful Child’ brought me to tears but he brought hope of reconciliation through his being.
    I remember our conversation as I was driving him to the airport and his non-judgemental, quiet and wise observations.
    His ability to soften entrenched attitudes with his soulful songs hewn from real life experience touched us all.

  4. It is sad that, in spite of Archie’s most famous song enlightening our nation to the pain caused by stealing Aboriginal children from their families for no good reason, this continues unabated

  5. Archie Roach, a true elder statesman.
    We first heard Archie perform at the Building Bridges Concert, 24 January 1988, Bondi Pavillion, in a lineup that included such luminaries as Kev Carmody, Yothu Yindu, Midnight Oil, Crowded House, plus many more, too numerous to mention.
    He was virtually unknown at that time, but we remember it very clearly, he left the small crowd almost in tears. We knew we had witnessed something very, very special that afternoon.
    We have heard Archie perform many times since then, sometimes with Ruby, including a beautiful gathering at Durrumbul Hall Oct 2014, ‘Buninj Boothrum’ – Echinda Dreaming, along with Kerri Ann Cox, Lewis Walker, Kobya and Laura Taggart.
    The last time we heard Archie perform, was at Womadelaide, 2021, where we made a special journey overland to hear Midnight Oil & the First Nations Collaborators: Makarrata live ; in a 4 day festival, which also included the Teskey Brothers, Sarah Blasko, Vika & Linda Bull and Lior, Westlake & the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra. Archie was brought on stage in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank, which did not inhibit his wonderful soulful voice.
    He was scheduled to perform at NORPA, but unfortunately due to COVID & the floods, he never made it.
    In a troubled world, Archie was a genuine voice for love, peace and compassion, and will be sadly missed by many.
    For those interested, we highly recommend the 3 disc Concert Collection 2012-2018.


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