Archie Roach rests against an old car seat in a studio with his guitar resting nearby.

Archie Roach: Hall of Fame

Archie Roach - Amazing facts

10 amazing facts about Archie Roach
 Beth Taylor

In November 2020, Archie Roach (1956–2022) – a Gunditjmara (Kirrae Whurrong/Djab Wurrung), Bundjalung Senior Elder – was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame. We honoured his career in 2019 with two curated collections, Archie Roach and Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter. Each collection is filled with rare footage, live recordings, photographs, documents and home movies.

WARNING: this article contain names, images or voices of deceased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


Archie Roach looks at the camera.
Archie Roach. Photo credit: Adrian Cook.

Archie started performing in 1988, releasing 9 studio albums, 2 live albums and the soundtrack for The Tracker (2002).

He was named as 2020 Victorian Australian of the Year, adding to his many accolades, including 5 ARIA Awards and a Human Rights Medal in 1990 for 'Took The Children Away'.

Did you know?

  1. After a stroke in 2010 Archie had to learn how to play guitar again.
  2. Boxer Lionel Rose was Archie's cousin. Archie's Dad 'Snowball' was also a boxer.
  3. Archie donated a kidney to his brother Lawrence.
  4. In an incredible coincidence, Ruby Hunter saw Archie in the studio audience on The Happy Hammond Show when they were both kids and said to her foster Mum 'I'm going to marry that boy!' AND SHE DID!
  5. Apart from being a musician and author, Archie worked at a range of jobs including: drug and alcohol counselling, floral arranging, salt shovelling, blacksmithing, working in an abattoir and even a short time as a tent boxer.
  6. He had a deep passion for social justice and wrote songs about Indigenous deaths in custody and the racially motivated murder of Louis 'St John' Johnson.
  7. Archie brought people together. He collaborated with a long list of greats including Paul Simon, Bangarra Dance Theatre, Paul Kelly, David Bridie, Jimmy Barnes, Paul Grabowsky, Australian Art Orchestra, and of course his partner Ruby Hunter.
  8. His family nickname was Butterboy because when he was little he covered himself in butter, he loved it so much.
  9. He's toured with artists including Bob Dylan, Yothu Yindi, Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega, Patti Smith and Joan Armatrading.
  10. His foster father Alex loved music and his broad musical taste – from Scottish traditional songs and country music to gospel artist Mahalia Jackson and jazz artists like The Ink Spots and Nat King Cole – gave Archie an early love of music.

Learn more about Archie's life and work in Archie Roach and Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter.