Uncle Jack Charles to be honoured with state funeral in Melbourne

actor and indigenous aboriginal elder uncle jack charles
Image: Nichollas Harrison/Wikimedia Commons

Beloved Indigenous actor and Elder Uncle Jack Charles will be honoured at a state funeral in Melbourne next month.

The actor, musician, gay man, activist and member of the Stolen Generation died in Melbourne after a stroke on September 13, aged 79.

Uncle Jack’s family has accepted an offer from the Victorian government for a state funeral, Premier Daniel Andrews announced.

The service will be held at the 2,466 seat Hamer Hall on October 18. The funeral will be livestreamed online.

“There is no actor, no activist, no survivor and no Victorian quite like Uncle Jack Charles,” Andrews said.

“He leaves behind a legacy – one of profound honesty, survival and reconciliation – and one that every single Victorian can be proud of.”

Andrews said Uncle Jack “had a talent like no other and paved the way for Aboriginal actors to follow.”

“As an actor, musician, potter, performer and activist, Uncle Jack took on many roles,” he said.

“As a mentor and guiding light for young Aboriginal men, he touched the lives of many.”

Uncle Jack Charles remembered for ‘warmth, humour and larger-than-life personality’

Uncle Jack Charles was a proud Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Taungurung man.

Earlier this year, he made history as the first Aboriginal elder to testify at Victoria’s truth-telling Yoorrook Justice Commission.

“His life was once marred by great injustice. But he did not let that dim his bright and generous spirit,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“As an infant, he was forcibly removed from his mother by state authorities.

“Uncle Jack’s harrowing experience as a member of the Stolen Generations had a devastating impact on his sense of self, as he grappled with a cycle of addiction, homelessness and imprisonment for much of his early life.

“His separation from his family led him down a lifelong journey of discovery – of his family history, culture, and his Aboriginal identity.

“A larger-than-life personality, his warmth and humour saw him through, as he drew others into his remarkable life.”

The funeral will be livestreamed online, including into Victoria’s prisons, remand centres and youth justice centres, in recognition of Uncle Jack’s work against recidivism within the state’s justice system, Andrews said.

Further details, including access to tickets, will be available in the coming weeks.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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