Nation to celebrate Bob Hawke in Sydney

State memorial service for Bob Hawke to take place at Sydney Opera House

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A service for beloved former PM Bob Hawke will be held on the Sydney Opera House steps on Friday.

A service for beloved former PM Bob Hawke will be held on the Sydney Opera House steps on Friday.

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Australians will come together on the steps of the Sydney Opera House to honour political giant and "larrikin" former prime minister Bob Hawke.

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AUSTRALIANS will come together on the steps of the Sydney Opera House to honour political giant and "larrikin" former prime minister Bob Hawke.

The state memorial service for Mr Hawke, who died peacefully at his Sydney home on May 16, will be broadcast from 11.30am on Friday.

A flood of emotional memories from across Australia were shared in tributes to the 89-year-old following his death.

Then-Labor leader Bill Shorten described Mr Hawke as a personal, party and national hero.

"He was my inspiration, then he became my friend," Mr Shorten said outside the Sydney Opera House where Mr Hawke launched campaigns in the 1980s.

People from across the political divide also paid tribute.

"It was his ability to connect with everyday Australians with a word, with that larrikin wit, with that connection and an understanding of everyday Australian life that we will most remember Bob Hawke," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.

Mr Hawke made the Guinness Book of Records for downing a yard glass while a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and in his later years indulged fans at the cricket by knocking back drinks.

But he gave up the drink in politics and proudly boasted he "didn't touch a drop" while in parliament.

The former ACTU leader rose through union and Labor ranks and won the party four elections, with his late first wife Hazel by his side.

But in 1991 his treasurer Paul Keating replaced him as leader, his marriage hit the rocks, and eventually he and Hazel divorced. He married his biographer Blanche d'Alpuget in 1995.

Mr Hawke was farewelled at a private family funeral but the public remembrance will see more tributes from his loved ones and major political figures.

Former South Australian premier and Labor national president Mike Rann celebrated Mr Hawke and his lifetime of achievements in a letter last week.

"If there is a heaven I'd like to think that they've now got a larrikin up there, still carousing, chatting up the angels, or puffing on a giant cigar, a beer in hand while reading the form guide ... still campaigning, still winning and still getting things done," Mr Rann wrote.

Australian Associated Press

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