Watch Archie Roach perform ‘Took The Children Away’ at the 2020 ARIA Awards

Roach was also inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame and won Best Male Artist

Archie Roach performed his seminal 1990 song ‘Took The Children Away’ at this year’s ARIA Awards ceremony tonight (November 25), before being inducted into the awards’ Hall of Fame.

Roach was joined by a tearful Paul Kelly – who co-produced the original track – on backing vocals among others in a new arrangement.

Watch the moving performance below:


In his induction speech, the Indigenous icon thanked those who had backed his career over the last 30 years, including a cheeky nod to Kelly.

“Thank you ARIA for this day. You never really think much about awards when you perform and write songs about country,” Roach said.

“Paul Kelly, I gotta mention Paul. He was a big part. He was there from the beginning. When I mean the beginning, I don’t mean from when man first walked on two legs. But I mean from the beginning of my recording career. [The ARIA Award] still as lethal looking as they ever were, I’d hate to trip and fall on one.”

Briggs introduced Roach before he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

“Archie Roach took his story, vulnerability, his heart and made it art. Once again, a Blackfella was going above and beyond to reach out and educate the rest of Australia,” he said.


“Having the strength to share his story, Uncle Arch gave us all strength too. Strength to be artists. Artists that are yet to begin their careers. He created a path, and we have a benchmark to strive for.”

Later in the night, Roach appeared surprised to also win Best Male Artist, beating out Ruel, The Kid LAROI, and more. In an acceptance speech, he said “I’m sure any of the other nominees could have won – they didn’t make a mistake, did they? Thank you”.

Roach released a reimagining of his classic debut album ‘Charcoal Lane’ earlier this month, entitled ‘The Songs of Charcoal Lane’, to mark its 30th anniversary.

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