Archie Roach, legendary Indigenous musician, dies aged 66

Musician Archie Roach has died aged 66. The prolific musician drew upon his own experiences as a member of the stolen generation and his career saw him work alongside some of the biggest names in the music industry.

His passing was announced by his family via a statement from Mushroom Records.

“Archie passed, surrounded by his family and loved ones, at Warrnambool Base Hospital after a long illness. We thank all the staff who have cared for Archie over the past month.

“Archie wanted all of his many fans to know how much he loves you 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.”

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

Roach first came to prominence with his song Took the Children Away which highlighted the plight of Australia’s stolen generation.  His debut album Charcoal Lane was released in 2010.

He went on to release ten more albums. In 2020 his final work The Songs of Charcoal Lane saw him revisit the songs from his first album. In 2015 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the record some of Australia’s top recording artists released their versions of Roach’s songs including Paul Kelly, Courtney Barnett, Dan Sultan, Dr G. Yunupingu, Briggs and Urthboy.

During his career Archie Roach toured the globe opening for artists including Joan Armatrading, Billy Bragg, Suzanne Vega, Bob Dylan and Patti Smith.

His career saw him receive many accolades including being inducted in the ARIA Hall of Fame, being named Victoria’s Australian of the Year in 2020, and been recognised in 2015 Queen’s Birthday Honours as a Member of the Order of Australia.

Roach’s creative and life partner the singer Ruby Hunter passed away in 2010.

OIP Staff, Image: Phil Nitchie

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