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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Archie Roach, 1992 (printed 2010)

Bill McAuley

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 49.0 cm x 36.0 cm, image: 41.0 cm x 28.0 cm, frame: depth 4.3 cm)

Archie Roach (b. 1956), singer/songwriter, lived at Framlingham Mission before being removed from his parents at the age of four. At eleven he asked the couple he believed to be his parents why he was black and they were white; they told him his parents had died. His foster sister introduced him to the guitar and keyboards, and he began to play country music songs. At the age of fifteen, he was contacted by his natural sister, who told him their mother had just died. Bitterly, he spent the next fourteen years on the streets, battling alcoholism. He met his lifelong partner, the late Ruby Hunter, when she was sixteen. Having had children with her, and having beaten his alcohol dependency, he wrote his first song, 'Took the Children Away', which he performed on Melbourne radio and television in 1988. Spotted by one of Paul Kelly's bandmembers, he was invited to open a Paul Kelly concert in early 1989. Kelly produced Roach's first album, Charcoal Lane (1990), which was on the US Rolling Stone's Top 50 albums for 1992, achieved gold sales in Australia, and earned Roach two ARIAs and a human rights award. Three more albums followed before the live compilation 1988, released in late 2009. Both solo and with his beloved Hunter, Roach has recorded and performed with many top Australian and international acts.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2010
© Bill McAuley

Accession number: 2010.90

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Bill McAuley (age 41 in 1992)

Archie Roach AM (age 36 in 1992)

Subject professions

Performing arts

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.