UNCLE JACK CHARLES
actor, musician, potter and gifted performer
Uncle Jack Charles is a national treasure, an award-winning actor, Aboriginal elder and activist. But in the 79 years of his life, he has also been homeless, a heroin addict, a thief and a regular in Victoria’s prisons.
A member of the Stolen Generation, Jack spent his life in between acting gigs, caught in the addiction/crime/doing time cycle.
He forged a name for himself over five decades, in films such as The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Bedevil, Blackfellas, Tom White, Pan and Wolf Creek, and in the ABC television drama series Cleverman and in the ABC comedy Preppers.
In 2014, Charles became the first Indigenous recipient of a Green Room award for lifetime achievement; In 2015, he was named Victorian Senior Australian of the Year; In 2019 he was recognised by the Australia Council with a Red Ochre award also for lifetime achievement and in 2022 he was named male elder of the year during Naidoc week.
Upon leaving prision for the last time in 2006 Charles continued up until his death to advocate for the rights of young Indigenous men in custody.
His was an extraordinary tale of a colourful life and a brilliant career.