In Memory Of Ruby Charlotte Margaret Hunter
A beloved singer/songwriter, and beautiful and loving partner of Archibald William Roach
You will not be forgotten
31 October 1955 – 17 February 2010
Now, everyone, please gather around as I present to you a story, a story as beautiful and heart-warming as a mother’s kiss! So let us begin-
Archibald William “Archie” Roach was first brought into the world on the 8th of January, 1956, in Mooroopna, where he grew up with his family, with the wild population of other Indigenous Australians, had to get re-housed on the Rumbalara mission, but, he and his family decided to move to Framlingham, where his mother was born.
While still a very young boy, Archie and his sisters, along with the other Indigenous Australian children of the stolen generation, were forced to be removed from their family by Australian government agencies, and placed in an orphanage. After receiving two placements in foster care, Archie was eventually fostered by the Coxes, a family of Scottish immigrants
Now, as a young man, Roach had gotten a letter from an older sister, telling him the past events of their childhood. Angry and hurt, he left his foster home carrying only a guitar. Penniless, he travelled to Sydney and Adelaide, and spent some time living on the streets, trying to make sense of his childhood and find his natural family.
He also went through periods of alcoholism and despair, but also began to make some 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 Ruby and Archie formed a band, the Altogethers, with a few other Indigenous Australians, and moved to Melbourne. There he was overheard by a bandmate of songwriter Paul Kelly, who persuaded Paul to give Archie an opening slot for some of his concerts.
In 1990, with the help and encouragement of Paul, Archie recorded his debut solo album, Charcoal Lane. This album included the song “Took the Children Away”, a song telling people of the bad treatment of indigenous children of Archie’s generation, and a song which ‘struck a chord’ not only among the Aboriginal community, but also nationally.
Archie’s song ‘Took The Children Away’ won 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.
As for today? Well, Archie is currently living in in a homestead near South Australia, with his children.
Where did Archie get his inspiration from?
As well as fostering little Archie, the Coxes had children of their own. Their oldest daughter was named Mary. Now, Mary played the keyboard and guitar and she performed in a local church, after a while, Archie asked his foster-sister to teach him the basics of both instruments.
I’d like to tell you a little bit about Mooroopna!
Mooroopna is located not that far away from Shepparton and Melbourne, with a fair population of around about 7,800 people. The name Mooroopna comes from an Aboriginal word referring to a bend in the Goulburn River, near Shepparton in central Victoria.
Indigenous Australians- To refer to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders
Re-housed- To provide someone with new housing
Immigrants- A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.
Penniless- Of a person having no money
Alcoholism- Someone who’s addicted to drinking Alcohol (Alcoholic)
Soulmate- A person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner.
Aborigines- Indigenous Australians
Debut- A first appearance
ARIA awards- The Australian Recording Industry Association Music Awards (ARIA music awards) Known for giving awards to the most famous, musicians, songs and even just the lyrics
Homestead- A farmhouse or a out-building