Archie Roach: ‘Took the Children Away’
Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter talk about their experiences as members of the Stolen Generations. A Gunditjmara and Bundjalung man, Archie was forcibly separated from his family, who were living at the Framlingham Mission in Victoria, when he was two years old. Ruby was stolen from her family in South Australia when she was eight years old.
The clip also features their performance of 'Took the Children Away' from Murundak - Songs of Freedom, a documentary featuring some of Australia's best known Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander musicians, released in 2011. The word 'Murundak' means 'alive' in Woiwurrung language spoken by the Kulin people around the Yarra in Victoria.
Anyone who enjoys the art of songwriting would appreciate this segment giving the background to one of the most important songs ever recorded in Australia. The cross-cutting between the live performance of 'Took the Children Away' and the backstory provided by Archie and Ruby is done seamlessly. It enriches both the song and interview.
Uncle Banjo Clarke asked Archie to write the song and provided him with his recollections of when the children were taken, which Archie incorporated in the lyrics.
Archie says in his autobiography Tell Me Why (2019) '...it's my healing song. Through songs, I have been able to deal with the pain and trauma in a more positive way. Every time I sing it, I let a little bit of the hurt and the trauma go.'
Notes by Beth Taylor and Adam Blackshaw