Remembering Jack Charles: Indigenous Elder and a Good Bloke


Hello Everyone!

Book Fair Australia 2023

The Tragedy of HAMLET

Rob Greaves
Rob Greaves
I have been with the Toorak Times since April 2012. I worked as Senior Editor of the Toorak Times for 10 years before retiring in 2012. I continue now as an occasional feature writer. I've been in the Australian music scene as a musician since 1964, and have worked in radio and TV and newspapers (when they were paper ), serious experience in audio editing, and a lot of video editing experience. I retired from paid radio work in 2022 and took up a position in the Education Centre at Puffing Billy
Jack Charles
Image: Poster advertising the play – Coranderk – by Jack Charles

Please be aware – that the recordings below contain the voice of the now deceased Indigenous elder – Jack Charles.

I was fortunate to be invited to meet Jack in his flat in Holmes Street Northcote in May of 2015.

An unassuming block of units, I felt some trepidation as I walked the stairs to find him, after all, this was Jack Charles –  a Djadjawurrung man,revered Indigenous Elder, writer, actor, singer, activist and the grandfather of indigenous theatre.

Yet for all of these accolades, there was much more to Jack, if you were lucky enough to have him allow you to peel away the layers, the many faces and facades, of who he was.

We sat in his living room surrounded by his possessions, some reflecting his indigenous heritage, his artwork, his theatre work and some,  just reflecting an aging man – but a man with an amazing story.

Jack was genuinely warm and welcoming. Here I was, an older white Australian, sitting with a man who had seen some of the worst side of living in a “white world” while adapting and changing, finding his way in two worlds. 

He had no issue with me recording the hour and a half we spent together as he recalled his story from his early years through to what was then, his present life.

Jack openly declared that he lived far from the perfect life, being part of the stolen generation and having an upbringing that made the walk into a life of crime and drugs, far too easy.

Yet through it all he found his way, he found his centre, he found his indigenous self and in the stories you are about to hear, it lived a life filled with both pain and yet, great reward.

Much has been written about “Uncle” Jack, and much more will be – however here, you can hear his story as he told it to me.

Like many, I will remember you fondly Jack, there was so much too you and yet I know, there was still so much more.

Please enjoy this talk, and remember a great Australian.

Jack Charles – Part 1


Jack Charles – Part 2


Jack Charles – Part 3

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