Archie Roach: The people left behind
This is a short excerpt from Singing His Story: Archie Roach in Concert, filmed at the Playhouse Theatre at the University of Western Sydney on 14 December 2007.
The camera never wavers as Archie recounts the story of his older sister Myrtle finding him again when he was 15 years old, only to inform him that their mother had passed away a week earlier.
It's a stunning revelation captured in the most matter-of-fact way. It would have been interesting to see how the audience reacted to him telling this story but perhaps choosing not to show them makes it even more poignant.
Archie is a member of the Stolen Generations. He was taken from the Framlingham Mission on Gunditjmara country in south-western Victoria when he was two years old and sent to live with a number of foster families.
It wasn't until this contact from Myrtle that he was reunited with his brothers and sisters again. Both of his parents and his little sister Gladdie had sadly passed away in the interim.
Archie speaks about the importance of the experiences of both the children who were taken and those who were left behind. His song 'Took the Children Away' was inspired by the stories of an Elder, Uncle Banjo Clarke, who remembered the children being taken and how quiet it was once they were gone.