Uncle Jack Charles to be farewelled at Victorian state funeral at Hamer Hall

Actor, activist and revered Aboriginal elder Uncle Jack Charles will be given a state funeral, the Victorian government has confirmed.

NOTE: This story uses Uncle Jack Charles’s name and image with the permission of his family.

The Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Taungurung man died at the age of 79 earlier this month.

The state funeral will take place at the prestigious Hamer Hall on October 18 and will be streamed into the state’s prisons, where Uncle Jack volunteered to support inmates.

A member of the Stolen Generations, Uncle Jack was taken from his family by the state when he was just four months old.

His early years were marked by abusive institutions and disconnect from his Aboriginal identity.

The trauma of his upbringing left a long-lasting mark and Uncle Jack battled drug addiction, homelessness and imprisonment at various stages of his life.

But he forged a path back to his family and culture and became an advocate for truth-telling, using his life experiences to educate Australians.

After his death, Ian Hamm, the chair of the Healing Foundation Stolen Generations Reference Group, said Uncle Jack “dedicated his life to healing our nations”.

‘No Victorian quite like Uncle Jack Charles’

Now known as the “father of black theatre”, Uncle Jack co-founded Nindethana, Australia’s first Aboriginal-run theater group in 1971.

His acting career spanned decades, with his star soaring when he was the subject of the award-winning 2008 documentary Bastardy.


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