Beloved Indigenous Elder, actor, activist and musician Uncle Jack Charles will be remembered with a state funeral in Victoria next month.
In September, the Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Taungurung man died after a stroke at age 79. His family has since accepted the offering of a state funeral.
Since his passing, Uncle Jack Charles has been remembered for his enduring work in film, his role in co-founding the first Aboriginal theatre company Nindethana Theatre, and his activism in the justice system.
In his life, Uncle Jack experienced addiction and incarceration. His family has requested that inclusivity is a priority at the funeral, and it’ll be live-streamed into prisons, remand centres and youth justice centres across Victoria in recognition of his work.
The funeral will be held on October 18 at Hamer Hall in Southbank. It is a ticketed event and will also be live-streamed on the Victorian Government’s website.
In a statement, Victorian Premier Dan Andrews referenced the “great injustice” experienced by Uncle Jack, who was forcibly taken from his mother as part of the Stolen Generations.
“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.”
As well as his work as an artist, which included a slew of film, TV and theatre productions, Uncle Jack was the first Aboriginal Elder to testify at the Victorian truth-telling Yoorrook Justice Commission.
He was also named Victorian Senior Australian of the Year in 2016.
In a statement announcing his death, Uncle Jack’s family confirmed they were able to send him off on Country with a smoking ceremony at Royal Melbourne Hospital. The family also gave permission to use his name and image.
More details about the state funeral will available in the coming weeks.