Acknowledging the passing of Uncle Jack Charles

We are deeply saddened to hear of the recent passing of Uncle Jack Charles 

 According to other media outlets, Uncle Jack’s family has granted permission to release his image. The photos here are from a 2014 Ilbijerri Theatre Company production of Corranderrk, with photography credit to Nicola Dracoulis.


The Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee together with Council and community wishes to acknowledge of the sad passing of the Boon Wurrung, Dja Dja Wurrung, Woiwurrung and Yorta Yorta Elder, Uncle Jack Charles. 


Uncle Jack Charles was a much loved actor, musician, artist and activist who touched the hearts, minds and souls of so many.


Born in 1943, Uncle Jack was a Stolen Generations survivor. In April this year, Uncle Jack was the first witness to tell his story in Victoria’s Indigenous truth-telling commission.

In 2014, Uncle Jack became the first Indigenous recipient of a Green Room award for lifetime achievement. In 2019 he was recognised by the Australia Council with a Red Ochre award also for lifetime achievement. His memoir – Jack Charles: Born-Again Blakfella – was published in 2020, co-written with Namila Benson.


Most recently, Uncle was named Male Elder of the year during this year’s NAIDOC week.


Closer to home, Uncle Jack would often be seen scooting around on his zippy bike around the hood, gracing the mic at a local arts festival, yarning with school children and just getting on with life. And what a remarkable life.


There is so much more that could be said - but words are not enough. Uncle Jack’s tremendous legacy, generous spirit, humour and creativity will never be forgotten and is a gift to us all. 


On behalf of the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee, Darebin City Council and the Darebin Community, we pass on our condolences to Uncle Jack Charles family, friends and Community. 


The Aboriginal Flags at Council’s Municipal Offices High Street Preston, the Shire Hall, Gower Street Preston, Depot, Bundoora Park and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre will remain lowered as mark of respect until Wednesday 28 September. 


Vale Uncle Jack Charles.