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Aboriginal Australian musician, Ruby Hunter (1955-2010), was in foster care and children’s homes as a child.

A member of the Stolen Generations and a proud Ngarrindjeri woman, Ruby was born in the Coorong region of South Australia. She was taken from her family at the age of eight and for the next eight years, she was in and out of foster care and children’s homes.

Released from state control when she was sixteen, Ruby was a homeless teenager when she met Archie Roach in Salvation Army lodgings in Pirie Street, Adelaide.

The tiny, extroverted Ngarrindjeri teenager was also searching for her identity after being stolen at the age of eight from her grandparents’ home in south-eastern South Australia’s Coorong region (Dow).

The couple teamed up and Ruby encouraged Archie to begin transmuting his pain into songs.

After Ruby and Archie moved to Victoria, Ruby worked at the Margaret Tucker Hostel which provided accommodation for Aboriginal women and girls. She then, with Archie, cared for as many as fourteen children at a time in a family group in Thornbury.

In 1994 Ruby Hunter became the first Aboriginal Australian woman to record with a major label. She went on to win numerous awards and performed on stages across the world.

Ruby Hunter performed with Archie Roach in Melbourne’s Federation Square for the 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generation given by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.


Dow, Steve. “Archie Roach on meeting, loving and losing Ruby Hunter: ‘She had this glint in her eye’.” The Guardian, 16 February 2022. 

“Ruby Hunter.” Aboriginal Victoria, 2019.

“Ruby Hunter. A powerful voice for the vulnerable.” VIC.GOV.AU. 

Image available here.