Prince Charles has led the tributes for former NSW premier and Howard government minister John Fahey, who has been remembered as "a man for others" at a state funeral.
NSW Governor Margaret Beazley read a letter from the future king during Friday's service at Sydney's St Mary's Cathedral, in which he said he would always remain grateful for Fahey's courageous actions to save him from an armed protester on Australia Day in 1994.
"Coming to my assistance as he so valiantly did on that Darling Harbour stage... John demonstrated not only characteristic selflessness and valour, but also the hallmark of athleticism of a former rugby league player," he said in the letter.
"I was as fortunate to have him on my side that day, as the people of NSW always were to have him on theirs."
Fahey was NSW premier from 1992 to 1995 and played a key role in the bid for Sydney to host the 2000 Olympic Games, before going on to become federal finance minister.
He died aged 75 on September 12 after a battle with leukemia.
About 100 mourners - including Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and former prime ministers John Howard, Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull - sat socially distanced as Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Anthony Fisher led the two-hour requiem mass.
The service was streamed online from 11am as COVID-19 restrictions limited the guest list to invited family and friends.
Fahey's daughter Melanie, who lives in the US and was unable to attend his funeral in person, paid tribute to her father in a video message.
"Dad, you are our fearless leader, light bulb changer, huntsman spider killer, the wind in our sails, our commander in chief, and compass in all things, especially our faith in God," she said.
"You were never happier than when all of your chickens are in the nest. What a shame all your chickens are not in the nest to go through this day together."
John Howard said Fahey was a man of great decency and high intelligence who lived his faith, while Foreign Minister Marise Payne teared up as she told the congregation of her memories of working under Fahey.
"Being a member of JF's team meant that you developed a strong passive smoking habit and a big dry cleaning bill to go with it, (and) either an affection for or a lifelong aversion to the scent of black drip filtered coffee," she said.
"(But) since that (first) day in 1998, I've been the grateful beneficiary of John's love and support, his leadership (and) his mentorship."
Former NSW premier Nick Greiner, who appointed Fahey a minister and preceded him as premier, said his friend was someone who was never too busy to listen - so much so that he was affectionately dubbed 'Have-a-chat' by his parliamentary colleagues.
"John I suspect would prefer to be remembered, not for the highlights of the Olympics or Prince Charles, but simply for his service to people. (He was) quite truly a man for others," he said.
"We say farewell, confident that he is with his God and having a chat."
A hometown memorial event will be hosted at Chevalier College in Bowral, likely next year once COVID-restrictions allow for large public gatherings.
Fahey will be buried privately after the mass on Friday away from the media spotlight.
He is survived by his wife Colleen, his children Matthew and Melanie, and his grandchildren Amber and Campbell, whom he helped raise after the death of his daughter Tiffany.