Revered Victorian Aboriginal elder, Uncle Jack Charles, has passed away

Known as the “father of black theatre,” actor, musician and beloved Elder, Uncle Jack Charles has passed away peacefully this morning, after suffering a stroke. 

Uncle Jack, 79, was a co-founder of Australia’s first Indigenous-led theatre group in Melbourne, who used his creative platforms to share personal truths about the impact of colonisation.

In a career that spanned over several decades, Uncle Jack took to the boards to both heal, and share the painful and personal truths he experienced as a youth, and highlight the impact of past government policies on his community. Known as cheeky and tenacious, he will forever be remembered for his contribution to theatre. 

uncle Jack
Credit: Senator Briggs via Twitter

A statement released by his publicist via the ABC reads: “The Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung, and Yorta Yorta man, also had links to several other clans across south-eastern Australia, passed away peacefully this morning at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after suffering a stroke.”

It continues, “Before he passed away, his family were able to send him off on Country during a smoking ceremony at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. We are so proud of everything he has achieved in his remarkable life — Elder, actor, musician, potter, activist, mentor, a household name and voice loved by all — as is demonstrated by his numerous awards including this year’s NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year. He will live on in our hearts and memories and through his numerous screen and stage roles. May he be greeted by his Ancestors on his return home.”