Push for Archie Roach to be Honoured with a Laneway in Adelaide
Talk of a laneway in Adelaide dedicated to Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter have started – the same week his “My Songs: 1989 – 2021” posthumously returned to the ARIA Albums Chart.
The idea was floated by close friend Paul Kelly at last week’s unveiling of Paul Kelly Lane before 60 guests.
He unexpectedly did an a cappella version of the Gunditjmara and Bundjalung elder’s “Charcoal Lane” – the title track of his 1990 debut solo album which Kelly co-produced – and said the next Adelaide lane commemoration should be for them.
“There was a great sadness across the land at his death,” Kelly said.
He suggested it be near 89 Pirie Street, once a cheap Salvation Army hostel People’s Palace.
That’s where a teenage Roach and Hunter met by chance in 1973.
“[It] was a turning point in their lives and in Australian music history. They helped each other get sober and they started writing songs,” Kelly stated.
Adelaide Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor said she would bring it up at the next meeting of the City of Music Laneways project committee.
A City of Adelaide spokesperson told TMN: “It’s still far too early for a timeline,” especially with the next council elections due in November.
“An Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter laneway will be considered in 2023.”
He said the laneway initiative was “one of Council’s most successful”, with stakeholders and local traders confirming a noticeable rise of foot traffic as a result.
Kelly was the fourth of five artists recognised in the first round.
The others were Sia Furler, Cold Chisel and No Fixed Address.
Kelly’s lane, formerly Pilgrim Lane, connects Flinders Street to Pirie Street and runs behind the Adelaide Town Hall.
Sian Darling, Paul Kelly, Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor and artist Heidi Kenyon in Paul Kelly Lane (Credit: Cath Leo)
He contended: “I’m glad the lane is so close to the Adelaide Town Hall with which I’ve had an association for over 50 years from playing trumpet at school speech nights, attending concerts and, later on, doing my own shows.”
The lane features illuminated artwork by contemporary artist Heidi Kenyon with the Iguana Creative Team led by Jeff Fulford, based on lyrics about love taken from Kelly songs.
The next will be The Angels, theirs off Gawler Place, near the North Terrace cultural precinct.
Formed in Adelaide, The Angels moved to Sydney to became a major act.
But most of the current lineup – guitarist John Brewster, singer Dave Gleeson and bassist Sam Brewster – live in Adelaide, with guitarist Rick Brewster making his home in Tasmania.
The guitarists’ grandfather Hooper Brewster Jones, a prominent orchestra leader is recognised on North Terrace with a plaque on the footpath.
He passed away backstage at the Town Hall in July 1949, after a concert with the Adelaide String Orchestra, conducted by his son Arthur.
There’s no doubt there’ll be a second round of renamed laneways.
“The City of Adelaide is committed to celebrating Adelaide’s status as a world UNESCO City of Music and our laneways projects promote our rich musical heritage,” stressed lord mayor Verschoor.
Famous South Australian names who went on to find global success and could be considered are Sister Janet Mead, Kasey Chambers, Redgum, entrepreneur Robert Stigwood, Glenn Shorrock, Julie Anthony, Guy Sebastian, Eric Bogle, Doug Ashdown, Hilltop Hoods, and guitarists Kevin Peek, Orianthi and Beeb Birtles.