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Ruby Hunter
A Tribute to Ruby Hunter
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Ruby Hunter

Ruby Hunter

“How do you listen to the birds or see the blessed dawn? What do you say when there are no words, when the reason for words is gone? Never say goodbye, till we meet again.”
Your loving husband, Archie Roach.

Ruby Hunter's musical journey with her lifelong partner, soul mate and musical collaborator, Archie Roach, saw her travel both Australia and overseas.

Born at a billabong near the banks of the Murray River in South Australia, Ruby was rubbed in the ashes and held up to the moon in her grandfather’s hands. When only eight years old Ruby was forcibly removed from her family and grew up in foster homes and on the streets of Adelaide where she met Archie as homeless teenagers using alcohol to ease their suffering. They were part of Australia’s stolen generations.

Ruby Hunter started her music career as a backing vocalist but was soon acknowledged as a leading performer in her own right. A second album, Feeling Good, in 2000 followed her first solo album. This saw Ruby named Female Performer of the Year at the 6th Deadly Sounds National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music Awards.

In 2000 Ruby appeared with Archie in Land of the Little Kings a feature length documentary about the experiences of indigenous Australians who were removed from their families as part of ‘the stolen generations’.

In 2001 Ruby made her acting debut as the tracker’s wife in the Australian film, One Night the Moon.

In 2004 Ruby and Archie collaborated with Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra to produce Ruby’s Story. It’s an intensely rich musical experience charting Ruby’s search for identity, the discovery of hope through love, and Ruby and Archie’s return to the river land in South Australia, to build a new life and a new home to mend the wounds of the past.

Ruby’s Story was premiered in June 2004 at the Playhouse, Sydney Opera House during the Message Sticks Festival. From there the show was presented at the Adelaide Festival Centre during the Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

In 2005 Ruby’s Story toured to Mexico as part of the Festival de Mexico and then in July 2005 it toured throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory as part of the Brisbane Music Festival. In 2006 it returned to the Sydney Opera House for seven shows.

In 2007 Ruby’s Story traveled to New Zealand for the Auckland International Festival, performed three shows at the Dreaming Festival and was invited to Malaysia for a performance at the Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre.

Ruby’s Story won the 2004 Deadly Award for ‘Excellence in Film and Theatrical Score’  - Composers: Archie Roach, Ruby Hunter and Paul Grabowsky.

Ruby has toured extensively in Australia and overseas, played alongside Joan Armatrading, Tracy Chapman and Bob Dylan and performed at the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Ruby’s songs reflect her personal history, women’s issues, social issues and indigenous issues. She is often cited by other musicians as a source of inspiration and is firmly established as a unique and powerful voice in Australian music.

Ruby died on Wednesday 17 February 2010 at her home in south-west Victoria.

Loved daughter of Geoffrey Hunter and Irene (nee Richards); cherished wife of Archie Roach, mother of Amos, Eban, Arthur, Krissy, Terrence and Nathan, mother in law to Lowanna and Annette and treasured Nan of Wesley, John, Jakarra, Shai, Dakota, William, Janaya, Silvia, Laticia, Wesley, Waru and Gurrenah.

Much loved youngest sister of Wally, Iris, Jeffrey and Robert (dec.). Much loved in-law of Rosslyn, Johnnie (dec.), Lawrence (dec.), Alma (dec.), Myrtle, Diane and their families.  

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