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News August 2, 2022

Music Industry Pays Tribute to Archie Roach Legacy

Music Industry Pays Tribute to Archie Roach Legacy

Following the passing of Archie Roach on the weekend, music fans continue to flock to Charcoal Lane in Melbourne’s Fitzroy to lay wreaths.

Roach’s music colleagues and disciples are also still defining what it was about his music and persona that made him so beloved, effective and mourned.

Paul Kelly summed up: “Archie Roach. Big tree down. Weeping in the forest.”

Shane Howard of Goanna: “He was an unrelenting and generous champion for his people and there is a line of his that keeps returning to me: ‘…For lives that never stood a chance’.”

Politicians saying their farewells included prime minister Anthony Albanese, Victorian premier Daniel Andrews, national arts minister Tony Burke, minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney and Greens senator Lidia Thorpe.

Music industry entities also posted their admiration and affection.


Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) mourn the passing of ARIA Hall Of Fame inductee Archie Roach.

ARIA and PPCA CEO, Annabelle Herd, said: “We are all deeply saddened to hear this news. Archie Roach’s powerful, unifying storytelling has had an immeasurable impact not only on the Australian music community, but music lovers everywhere. 

“His resounding talent and tireless dedication have left a legacy that will continue to inspire for many generations to come. Our thoughts are with his family, and all the countless lives he impacted for the better, as we celebrate his extraordinary life.”

ARIA Awards:

Best New Talent  (1991)

Best Indigenous Release – “Charcoal Lane” (1991)

Best Indigenous Release – “Hold On Tight” (1997)

Best Indigenous Release – “Looking For Butter Boy” (1998)

Best Adult Contemporary Album – “Looking for Butter Boy” (1998)

Best Male Artist – “Tell Me Why” (2020)

Best Adult Contemporary – “Tell Me Why” (2020)

Best Blues & Roots Album – “The Songs Of Charcoal Lane” (2021)

Hall of Fame inductee (2021)

National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Music Office

“At the NATSIMO we celebrate and recognise Archie as one of our country’s greatest songwriters, his extensive catalogue and countless achievements prove that he is more than worthy of that title. 

“We love you, Uncle Archie. Until we meet again in the Dreamtime,” said director Leah Flanagan.


“As an organisation that exists to recognise and support the songwriter and the song, we celebrate the life of a man who fought adversity throughout his life to become one of our country’s greatest songwriters and storytellers. 

“Uncle Archie shared his story and the stories of many, simply and clearly – stories that were difficult to tell and hard to hear. 

“Uncle Archie was already a national treasure, and his voice has never been more poignant and powerful – Dean Ormston, CEO.

Archie Roach joined APRA in 1988, two years before the release of his landmark debut album Charcoal Lane. 

He was honoured with the prestigious Ted Albert Award for Outstanding Services to Australian Music at the 2017 APRA Music Awards.

When presenting the Ted Albert Award, journalist Stan Grant shared what Uncle Archie told him about writing “Took The Children Away”.

“When I first wrote that, it was my story. Then I saw it as an Aboriginal story. And, now it’s an Australian story,” Archie said.

At the 2015 APRA Screen Music Awards, Uncle Archie and co-writer Shane Howard won Best Original Song Composed for the Screen for “A Secret River” from “The Secret River”.

Mushroom Group

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our dear friend Archie Roach, one of the most significant artists in the 50-year history of the Mushroom Group.

Archie was a  Gunditjmara (Kirrae Whurrong/Djab Wurrung), Bundjalung senior elder, and he taught us so much about our nation. 

Most Australians didn’t know about the Stolen Generations until Archie told his own story in “Took The Children Away” – a song that came 18 years before an Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, apologised to the Stolen Generations.

Paul Kelly and the late-great Steve Connolly, the guitarist in Paul’s band, The Messengers, brought Archie to the Mushroom Group and he signed to Mushroom Publishing and Mushroom Records.

Archie’s work was championed by Michael Gudinski and Warren Costello and every member of the Mushroom family past and present. That voice! A voice that soothes the soul of the nation.

Importantly, Archie wasn’t afraid to call things out when he saw something that was wrong. To highlight injustice and change things for the better. 

But Archie was an artist who was all about hope and healing, understanding and compassion. His music brought people together.

Archie had a deep love for the land. As he said, “We’re no more important or less important than a flower, than a breath of wind, than a blade of grass, and it feels good to know this.

“It makes me happy to know this. It makes me smile.”

The Mushroom Group would like to acknowledge Archie’s personal manager of the past two decades, Jill Shelton, and thank her for her love and devotion to Archie and his career. 

We also fondly remember Archie’s musical and life partner, Ruby Hunter, who we lost way too soon, in 2010.   

Archie’s songs were a gift to the nation. And it was a privilege to help Archie release his music and have his songs heard.

We mourn Archie’s passing, but celebrate his remarkable life.

Archie was a softly spoken man. But his voice will be heard forever. As he sang on the “Let Love Rule” album, “I’ll always be here.”

Archie Roach was a storyteller. A songman. An educator. A healer. A father. A family man. And a friend.

And everyone at the Mushroom Group is a better person for having known and worked with him.


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