Joan Kirner farewelled by dignitaries and politicians in a community send-off

One woman shouted out ‘Good on you Joan’ and everyone – premiers, cabinet ministers, friends, strangers – began to clap

Joan Kirner would have enjoyed every moment of it. People streamed down the streets of her bayside suburb of Williamstown towards the town hall, lining up an hour before the doors opened. The dignitaries and politicians were there, as befitting a state funeral, but this was a community send-off. Community was a word the first female premier in Victoria used again and again, even when it was unfashionable in the neoliberal 1980s and 1990s.

Among the suits were bright pink hair, Essendon football club scarves and Aboriginal flags. Those that couldn’t fit in went to the local secondary school gym to watch the funeral streamed in, and the local RSL opened its doors afterwards to all-comers.

Related: Joan Kirner, former Labor premier of Victoria, dies aged 76

Related: Joan Kirner obituary

She was just as ready to stand up for something she thought was right at the end of her life as she was 50 years ago

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