Giant of music leads Indigenous honours

Archie Roach's song, Took the Children Away, became an anthem for fellow Stolen Generations survivors.

The emotional lyrics, recounting the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, resonated with Australians whose lives were changed by the decades-long practice.

"You took the children away ... Breaking their mother's heart ... Tearing us all apart," the song lyrics include.

Roach, who died in July aged 66 following a long illness, has been recognised in the Australia Day Honours for his services to music, Indigenous rights and reconciliation, and support for emerging First Nations artists.

A giant of the music scene - who recorded 11 albums and won five ARIA Awards - Roach's posthumous appointment to the Companion (AC) of the Order of Australia, is the highest category of the awards announced on Wednesday.

Roach, a Gundjitmara and Bundjalung Elder, was a member of the Stolen Generations.

He was one of several Indigenous people recognised with high honours, including Belinda Duarte, Angela Ryder and Yorta Yorta woman Leanne Miller.

Ms Duarte has been appointed a Member (AM) of the Order of Australia for her services to the Indigenous community and sports administration.

She is a former co-chair of Reconciliation Victoria, director of the Richmond Football Club's Korin Gamadji Institute and National Aboriginal Sporting Chance Academy.

A Wotjobaluk and Dja Dja Wurrung woman, Ms Duarte said she was humbled by the appointment.

"But the reality is that January 26 is not a day to celebrate from my perspective and from many First Nations community members' perspectives," she said.

"Being appointed is a great honour and ultimately it brings visibility to a whole range of matters that needs to be addressed in our country and raises awareness of what the current state of play is for our people."

A former elite athlete and sports administrator, Ms Duarte is the CEO of Culture is Life, an organisation dedicated to Indigenous-led solutions for the prevention of Indigenous youth suicide.

"Any positive impact we have is because of a collective," she said.

"We want to see our young people thrive."

In February, on the anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, Culture is Life is launching an education campaign, Heal Our History.

The campaign will feature a song that young Indigenous people wrote to honour Roach and renowned Aboriginal actor Jack Charles, who also died in 2022.

"Uncle Archie had the ability to supersede his pain and trauma," Ms Duarte said.

"He stood with conviction in love and healing. That was the language he sang and wrote in.

"He was just inspirational."

Noongar woman Angela Ryder was appointed an AM for her service to the Aboriginal communities of Western Australia.

She has volunteered for community organisations including the Langford Aboriginal Association, the Miya Kaadadjiny Community Centre and the WA Aboriginal Leadership Institute.

Ms Ryder thanked all the people she worked and volunteered with and all those who supported her family in 2022.

"I became a widow in May last year and I know my husband would have been very proud," she told AAP.

"I'm so pleased to be recognised and acknowledged through this AM. It means that quiet achievers can be recognised.

"Volunteering is satisfying and a lot of us do thousands of hours.

"We do it because we want to give back to our community so it's a privilege to get this acknowledgement and I want to thank whoever nominated me, it's just amazing."

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