The Victorian Government has formally apologised to late singer Archie Roach for his “forced removal” from his family and Country.
Roach, a Gunditjmara (Kirrae Whurrong/Djab Wurrung) and Bundjalung Senior Elder and legendary musician, died earlier this year aged 66. The apology was delivered by Premier Daniel Andrews at a state memorial service for Roach.
Roach was one of the most iconic singer-songwriters in Australian history. He was a survivor of the Stolen Generations and wrote many songs about his experience including the 1990 song ‘Took The Children Away’.
Roach’s son Amos Roach performed that song at last night’s memorial at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.
Premier Andrews apologised “for the extreme, inhumane acts committed against you, the torture, the unspeakable hurt and the intergenerational trauma that you and your family continue to carry and experience due to your removal. I am sorry. We are sorry.”
He described the apology as “overdue”. Andrews later described the apology as “the first apology of its kind… [but] it will not be the last.”