Australia Former NSW premier John Fahey farewelled at state funeral at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral

14:21  25 september  2020
14:21  25 september  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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 John Fahey © AAP John Fahey

Former Liberal premier John Fahey has been remembered as a man who could have "a smoke, coffee and chat with friends or rivals, the mighty or more ordinary".

Sydney's Archbishop Anthony Fisher told mourners at a state service at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral, that faith and family had carried Mr Fahey through public life and cancer.

"And inspired his seal for justice and integrity, his pro life and pro-underdog stance and his confidence about Australia's future," Archbishop Fisher said.

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Mr Fahey died earlier this month aged 75 after battling leukaemia.

Former NSW premier Nick Greiner delivered words of remembrance saying Mr Fahey had an unusual background for a Liberal leader as an Irish Catholic New Zealander from a Labor-voting family.

"Perhaps that is why we are celebrating a life of such clear values, such compassion and such a broad appeal across all segments of society," Mr Greiner said.

"Quite truly, a man for others."

The mass was limited to family and invited guests only due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Mourners included prime ministers past and present, including Scott Morrison, Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and veteran broadcaster Alan Jones also attended the service.

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A message was read from daughter Melanie Fahey Cicala.

"Dad you are our fearless leader, lightbulb changer, huntsman spider killer, the wind in our sails, our commander-in-chief and compass in all things," she said.

"We truly have no clue how to move forward without you."

John Fahey served as Premier from 1992 to 1995 during which he was a key player in helping bring the 2000 Olympics to Sydney, infamously jumping joyously when the bid win was announced.

He was also one of several men who tackled an attacker who fired two blank shots at Prince Charles during a 1994 Australia Day event.

The Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley read a condolence letter on Prince Charles' behalf.

"I was as fortunate to have him on my side that day as the people of New South Wales were as fortunate to have him on theirs," the letter said.

Prince Charles' letter said Mr Fahey would have wanted to be a part of the 20th Sydney Olympic anniversary celebrations.

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"Perhaps to repeat a leap of joy as he relived the famous moment of that announcement," it said.

Mr Fahey's personal cross and rosary beads were placed on his coffin at the service.

He is survived by his wife Colleen, children Matthew, Melanie and Criston Cicala and twins Will and Bec, and grandchildren Amber and Campbell whose mother Tiffany died in a car crash in 2006.

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