Took the Children Away

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"Took the Children Away"
LP cover
Single by Archie Roach
from the album Charcoal Lane
B-side"No No No"
ReleasedSeptember 1990 (1990-09)
RecordedApril 1990
StudioCurtain Street Studios, Melbourne
LabelAurora, Mushroom Records
Songwriter(s)Archie Roach
Producer(s)Paul Kelly, Steve Connolly
Archie Roach singles chronology
"Took the Children Away"
"Down City Streets"

"Took the Children Away" is a song written and recorded by Australian singer Archie Roach. The song was released in September 1990 as his debut single. The song was included on Roach's debut studio album Charcoal Lane.

At the ARIA Music Awards of 1991, the song was nominated for ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist – Single.[1]

In 1991, "Took the Children Away" won Roach the Human Rights Achievement Award, the first time that the award had been bestowed on a songwriter.[2]

In 2013, the song was added to the Sounds of Australia registry in the National Film and Sound Archive.[3]

Background and release[edit]

Roach was a part of the Stolen Generations, generations subject to a policy that ran from about 1905 until the 1970s where Indigenous Australian children were forcibly removed from their family by Australian government agencies, and placed in orphanages. Roach wrote "Took the Children Away" about this experience in 1988. He performed the track on a community radio station in Melbourne and on an Indigenous current affairs program. Australian musician Paul Kelly invited Roach to open his concert early in 1989, where he performed "Took the Children Away". His performance was met with stunned silence, followed by shattering applause.[4] The song became significant as it was released at a time when there was increasing public focus on the Stolen Generations.[2]

Track listing[edit]

1."Took the Children Away"5:24
2."No No No"3:49

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format Edition(s) Label Catalogue
Australia September 1990 Standard Aurora, Mushroom Records K10157


  1. ^ "Winners by Year 1991". Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b "TOOK THE CHILDREN AWAY BY ARCHIE ROACH". National Sound and Film Archive of Australia. 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Archie Roach still a powerful voice for Indigenous justice". The Guardian. January 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Archie Roach, 1992 (printed 2010)". portrait. 2010. Retrieved 28 September 2018.