The host with the most

Australian stage, film and TV actor Luke Carroll, the MC for Redfern Jarjum College's Gala night “Our Mob” on 15 June, talks about his background.

 JOURNEYING WITH YOUTH 

By Janark Gray, Communication Officer, Society of Jesus in Australia

Redfern Jarjum College was established in 2013 as a Catholic primary school in the Jesuit tradition, responsible to the Australian Provincial. The goal was to respond to the needs of Aboriginal boys and girls, many of whom had previously attended mainstream schools without finding success in that environment.

I had the opportunity to speak with Australian stage, film and television actor, Luke Carroll, who will be the MC for the upcoming Redfern Jarjum College fundraising Gala night “Our Mob” on 15 June. I asked Luke about his indigenous Australian background, his career and what it means to give back to his community.

How important is it for you to be an indigenous role model for the younger generation?
It is extremely important. I have been acting since I was nine years of age. That’s 36 years. And growing up, I never saw my people being represented on TV. There was only one or two actors that I recognised and saw on TV. I came into the industry when there was not much representation of us as a people. At a time where it was very rare to see a person of colour on our screens and stages. I don’t really reflect on what I have done over the years but if I was to, I’m proud of myself. I did not have an ambition to be an actor, I sort of fell into it. But I made the most of every opportunity I had at a young age and stuck with it. I’ve learnt the craft of it and learnt to love it. So, I think it’s extremely important that our representation is there as a people and I’m pretty proud that I have been doing it as a child actor, now into my adulthood and consistently working throughout my whole career. I think it’s important that our kids, our adults, our communities, can see us represented on our stages and screens because that’s what the real Australia is when you walk down the streets. We’re one of the most multicultural countries in the world and that should be shared, loved and appreciated, but also shown and celebrated on our screens and stages.

I saw the video clip of the NITV interview where you are talking about your mum and how she was big on education and schooling. Was school an important part of your life before you chose the path in your career?
Most definitely. My mum was working in education for 30+ years before she passed, she was an Aboriginal education aid. She went on to higher roles overseeing all Aboriginal education aids in primary and secondary schools in regions of Sydney. Her influence on my education was very important. It was always a big part of my life, so much so that during my secondary education, she pulled me away from my acting and made me concentrate on schooling. It’s not only education in terms of the western way but she was also educating me about the culture and the ways of the world, in a way only a parent can.

Photo courtesy of Luke Carroll.

You’re a Wiradjuri man, how was it growing up in that area of Sydney as an indigenous man?
My mum was a single parent, she worked two jobs to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. We didn’t struggle. There were a lot more families struggling and worse off than us. Mum worked hard and I was lucky enough to find acting at a young age, so I was earning money as well. But I lived in a low-socioeconomic area, Woolloomooloo, public housing and the problems associated with that. Where I grew up, I didn’t know better, it was a beautiful thriving community. Diverse in culture and I couldn’t think of anywhere else to grow up. A bit of petty crime happening around in the area. I could have walked down two paths, and one was to go and do that stuff and probably end up in jail. All because of mum’s guidance, I didn’t go down that path and fell into acting and ran with that.

Who is the biggest movie or television star you have worked with?
I had a cameo in a movie named Strangerland. Nicole Kidman and Hugo Weaving were in that. I shared a scene with them. That would probably be the biggest on an international scale.

Who would you love to work with?
The director Martin Scorsese. I love his films! My favourite film is the movie Casino. I love the genre of movies he directs and his style of directing. I would love to work with him.

What is some advice you would want to give to indigenous kids today?
Education is the key for us moving forward as a people. I think kids need to know that school is important. Learning the western way and the system is important. It should go hand in hand with educating yourself and maintaining your culture. Without culture we lose ourselves as a people. It’s just as important to know who you are and where you’re from. Never to forget that. Be proud of that. Walk loud and proud every day and don’t shy away from the fact that you are part of the oldest living, continuing culture in the world. Keep educating yourself, keep chasing your dreams. It doesn’t matter how small the community you come from is, in this big beautiful country of ours, if you work hard enough, if you dream big enough, you can achieve great things. You really can, no matter where you are from.

Are you a fan of stand-up comedy? Can guests expect a few gags from the MC of the ‘Our Mob’ Gala night?
Yeah! It’s just my personality. You know, I’m quick-witted, outgoing and I love a laugh. It’s part and parcel of the gig mate! The MC’s brief is most importantly to keep the event on time. There is scripting but you got to make it your own and live in the moment and if something funny happens, run with that. It’s going to be a great fun night and I’ll get the vibe happening for sure!

Luke tells me he is good friends with Indigenous Australian comedian, Kevin Kropinyeri. Luke has also appeared on several episodes of the popular sketch comedy, Black Comedy.

Photo courtesy of Redfern Jarjum College.

Redfern Jarjum College presents “Our Mob” fundraising Gala night on 15 June 2024 at ICC Sydney: International Convention & Exhibition Centre. An evening to celebrate our success and secure our future. Tickets are now sold out.

Silent auction to raise funds

You will have an opportunity to make a difference to the lives of our students and families as Redfern Jarjum College host a silent, and live auction. Details are below:

  • STEP 1:
    Open the Silent Auction Bidding Form and fill in your details at the top of the form.
  • STEP 2: 
    Place your desired one-time maximum bid amount in the space next to the item/s you like.
    Please note you may be successful on more than one of your bids. 
    – The items designated as ‘only one available’ will be sold to the highest bidder 
    – The items designated as ‘multiples available’ will be offered in order from the highest bidder down (until the limited quantities are sold).
  • STEP 3: 
    Please then save and send your completed Ballot Bidding form to jacqueline.tougher@helpinghand.com.au

The online ballot bidding closes at 12.00pm Saturday 15th June 2024.
Winners will be alerted via text and will receive a call from a Helping Hand Group representative to organise payment.

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