Rhoda Roberts interviews Archie Roach about the story behind his song 'F Troop' in this excerpt from Episode 151 of the radio show Deadly Sounds.
The essence of Archie Roach is his storytelling, and it's always delightful to hear where his songs have come from both from a songwriting perspective and from the story of his own life.
It takes a talented songwriter to see the musical potential of the memory of a TV show from his childhood like F Troop (1965–67). This recording captures Archie's telling of the story with warm sentiment and good humour.
Archie was part of the Stolen Generations and was taken from his family when he was two years old, making the themes of family and brotherhood talked about in this clip all the more poignant.
He was reunited with his siblings Lawrence (the brother whose passing inspired this song), Alma, Myrtle, Johnny (known as Horse) and Diana as an adult. Sadly his youngest sister Gladdie had died in a car accident.
The song reflects on a time in Archie's life when he was homeless and drank around pubs, parks and laneways in Melbourne's Fitzroy. He refers to the F Troop as a Fitzroy 'drinking school' in his autobiography Tell Me Why (2019).
Together, he and his fellow 'parkies' were sharing culture, creating identity and reuniting with family members separated by the Australian government's policy of the forced removal of children from their families that created the Stolen Generations.
Archie talks about meeting his sister Alma in this clip from Kutcha's Carpool Koorioke (2019) and being contacted by his sister Myrtle in this emotional clip from Singing His Story: Archie Roach in Concert (2007).
Deadly Sounds was a popular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander radio program made from 1993 to 2014 and broadcast on more than 200 Australian radio stations.
The cover image is a portrait of Archie taken by Sally Tsoutas at the University of Western Sydney in December 2007.
Notes by Beth Taylor and Adam Blackshaw