Archie Roach, of Kew, has been appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the performing arts as a singer, songwriter and guitarist, and as a spokesman for social justice.
When Roach, 60, released his debut album, Charcoal Lane, 25 years ago, his song, Took The Children Away, shone a spotlight on the forcible removal of indigenous children from their families.
The song won two ARIA Awards and an international Human Rights Achievement Award.
Roach said he was shocked to receive the honour. “It’s fair to say it came as a surprise.
“The Queen’s Birthday Honours List is something I have looked at over the years but never expected to feature on. I have been very fortunate in my life and I do have to pinch myself sometimes.
“My experiences over the years are something I never expected when I first picked up a guitar at the age of 10.”
Over the years, Roach has collaborated with some of Australia’s finest musicians, including Paul Kelly, Troy Cassar-Daley and Christine Anu. He has toured with international artists, including Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Joan Armatrading.
Off stage, he is a spokesman for social justice, working in indigenous communities around the country and mentoring many young and emerging indigenous artists.