THERE were times during the sold-out ‘Replay, Koorie (1988): The early protest songs of Archie Roach’ gig that there was barely a dry eye in the house, at St Kilda’s Esplanade Hotel.
Archie sang some of his earliest songs, including his first ever – Open Up Your Eyes, between each song taking a waltz down memory lane with family and friends joining him onstage to yarn about the songs, his life, career and affection for St Kilda.
It was in St Kilda, in the park next to Luna Park, where he and other ‘parkies’, including his brothers and other family members often hung out.
“We got sick of being pulled over by police in Fitzroy, in Gertrude St. Every day same thing, getting pulled up, asked where we were going, what our names were, who we were, so we moved over here to St Kilda,” he explained.
“The police here are a bit more interested in catching and talking to real criminals than harassing us all the time. We were pretty much left alone.”
It was in St Kilda that he attended Galiamble rehab and turned his life around and lived with his late partner Ruby Hunter and their young children Amos and Eban, in a flat behind the Village Belle Hotel for a time.
“When we stopped drinking, we still enjoyed it here. We found a certain freedom here.”
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