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 state funeral will be held at the prestigious Hamer Hall theater on October 18
- The service will be streamed into prisons and remand centers to recognize Uncle Jack’s work with the justice system
- The funeral will be live streamed, with tickets being made available in coming weeks
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.
Before his passing, Uncle Jack’s family sent him off to Country during a smoking ceremony at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said Uncle Jack’s family had accepted the offer of a state funeral.
“There is no actor, no activist, no survivor and no Victorian quite like Uncle Jack Charles,” Mr Andrews said.
“He leaves behind a legacy – one of profound honesty, survival and reconciliation – and one that every single Victorian can be proud of.
“In recognition of his vital work within our justice system, his service will be streamed into prisons, remand centers and youth justice centers across the state.”
The government said there would be limited tickets and a live stream would be made available in coming weeks.