Aboriginal elder, author and artist dies

The following story uses Uncle Jack Charles’ name and image with permission of the family.

Aboriginal elder, author, artist and activist Uncle Jack Charles has died aged 79.

The Boon Wurrang, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Yorta Yorta Senior elder, passed away peacefully “surrounded by his family and loved ones”, his family said.

The 79-year-old died at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after a stroke.

Uncle Jack Charles has died aged 79.
Uncle Jack Charles has died aged 79. (Don Arnold)

”Before he passed, his family were able to send him off on Country during a smoking ceremony at the Royal Melbourne Hospital”, a statement from his publicist said.

“We are so proud of everything he 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.”

Uncle Jack was a survivor of the Stolen Generation and was jailed many times in his early life.

In the 1970s he started his acting career and was involved in establishing Indigenous theatre in Australia.

He was passionate about mentoring young indigenous men and women caught up in the prison system.

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