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Melbourne Will Soon Be Home to a Statue Celebrating Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter

Honouring two immense Indigenous talents, the new public artwork will be installed in Fitzroy in 2023.
By Sarah Ward
October 28, 2022
By Sarah Ward
October 28, 2022

In life and onstage, singer-songwriters Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter shared plenty. On-screen over the past year, they shared frames in exceptional documentary Wash My Soul in the Rivers Flow, too. And, come 2023, the pair will share a sculpture celebrating and commemorating their work and legacies, which is set to become a permanent fixture in Fitzroy.

The Melbourne suburb will welcome a piece that hasn't yet been commissioned and designed, but will be overseen by the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and Yarra City Council, as well as Roach and Hunter's family members. That process will start now, in preparation for unveiling next year, with the Victorian Government putting $287,000 towards the statue.

Jacinta Keefe

"I remember good times with my dear baby brother Archie in Fitzroy and with Ruby right beside him," said Roach's sister Myrtle Evans in a statement announcing the news.

"We shared many good times here together as a family. Being back here reminds me of those times. I miss those times now. May the spirit of dear Archie and Ruby always be here."

Both Roach and Hunter, who passed away earlier in 2022 and in 2010 respectively, enjoyed careers worthy of the heartiest of tributes. It's aimed for the statue to become a landmark for fans to visit, including from within Melbourne, across Victoria, interstate and beyond.

The pair's individual achievements are immense, with Ruby's 1994 record Thoughts Within the first solo album released by a First Nations female artist — and Roach's 'Took the Children Away' a powerful anthem for the stolen generations since 1990. Ruby was inducted into the National Indigenous Music Awards Hall of Fame in 2020, and Archie was named Victorian of the Year the same year.

The statue will also recognise Roach and Hunter's work with Melbourne's First Peoples communities, including via the Archie Roach Foundation since 2014.

"Uncle Archie's and Aunty Ruby's passion for their people inspired these gifted songwriters. They produced lyrics that not only touched the hearts of millions but educated a nation on the Stolen Generations," said Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Colin Hunter.

Fitzroy's new sculpture celebrating Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter will be installed and unveiled sometime in 2023. We'll update you when further details are announced — and keep an eye on the City of Yarra website in the interim.

Top image: Wash My Soul in the Rivers Flow, Sandy Scheltem.

Published on October 28, 2022 by Sarah Ward
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