Took the Children Away by Archie Roach with illustrations by Ruby Hunter

Took the Children Away by Archie Roach with illustrations by Ruby Hunter

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Archie Roach AM’s deeply personal song, ‘Took the Children Away’, from his 1990 debut album, Charcoal Lane, was the first song ever to receive a prestigious Australian Human Rights Award. Its impact was immediate, shining a stark light on Australia’s shameful past practices of removing children from their families. The song also speaks of love and reconnection and has travelled across seas into the hearts of First Nations communities everywhere.

One dark day, when Archie was just two years old, big black government cars came to his home at Framlingham Aboriginal Mission in southwest Victoria. They forcibly took Archie away from his mother, father + family – everything he had ever known. They took away thousands of other Aboriginal children, right around Australia. Powerful people had decided that these children would be better off living + learning all the white man’s ways. Frightened + alone, they grew up in institutions + foster homes. They became known as the Stolen Generations.

Ruby Hunter was one of those children, too, only eight when she was taken from the loving arms of her grandmother living on the Coorong in South Australia.

Archie + Ruby met and fell in love as homeless teenagers + Archie started writing songs to help ease his pain. Archie’s songs, loved by fans worldwide, tell a powerful story of survival and renewal, + the healing power of music.

In this special 30th anniversary edition, Archie’s iconic lyrics sit alongside evocative illustrations by his beloved soulmate + musical collaborator, Ruby Hunter. Also included are Archie’s recollections of his family + rare historical photographs.

Aboriginal + Torres Strait Islander readers are warned that this book contains images of people who are deceased or who may now be deceased.