The Victorian government has confirmed that revered Aboriginal Elder, actor and activist Uncle Jack Charles will be farewelled with a state funeral next month.
Charles died at the age of 79 earlier this month while surrounded by family and loved ones at Royal Melbourne Hospital. The Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Yorta Yorta man was admitted to the hospital on September 13 after suffering a stroke.
Yesterday (September 26), Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews announced that Charles’ family had accepted the government’s offer to honour him with a state funeral, which will be held at Melbourne’s Hamer Hall on October 18. “There is no actor, no activist, no survivor and no Victorian quite like Uncle Jack Charles,” Andrews said in a statement.
“He leaves behind a legacy – one of profound honesty, survival and reconciliation – and one that every single Victorian can be proud of.” In line with both the family’s wishes and Charles’ own activism within Victoria’s justice system, the funeral will be available to view in prisons, remand centres and youth justice centres across the state.
Ticketing and livestream details for Charles’ funeral will be made available in the coming weeks, with updates accessible here. Following his death, Charles’ publicist shared a statement via ABC, referencing his lasting legacy as a result of a decades-long career spanning film, theatre, music and activism.
“He will live on in our hearts and memories,” the statement read, “May he be greeted by his Ancestors on his return home.” Sharing further details of the NAIDOC Male Elder of the Year winner, the statement revealed that Charles had been farewelled on Country at the time of his passing, with a smoking ceremony held at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
Tributes for Charles – who was known for onscreen roles in The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Blackfellas, Wolf Creek, Cleverman, Preppers and more, and campaigning for causes such as Raise The Age, among others – flooded in the days since his passing. Yorta Yorta rapper Briggs, actor Meyne Wyatt and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese were among those who took to social media to honour Charles.