The heartbroken husband of Jill Meagher bid an emotional farewell to his wife at her funeral today.
Tom Meagher said his wife was never happier than when she was making other people laugh, and had a knack for making strangers dance to awful music.
‘‘Goodbye my beautiful, funny girl. I’ll love you forever,’’ he told mourners at Fawkner Memorial Park this morning.
Ms Meagher's parents also said goodbye as they spoke to the mourners at the funeral for the 29-year-old Irish woman, whose death has touched and shaken a nation.
Twenty-nine white doves were released at the end of a service in tribute to a woman who was remembered as vibrant and fun-loving, and who touched the lives of many.
Ms Meagher’s parents, Edith and George McKeon, and her husband released the doves - one for each year of her life. Mr McKeon waved as the birds circled overhead before flying off.
He then held his son-in-law in an extended embrace.
Earlier, Mr McKeon struggled to fight back tears as he told mourners that each night his thoughts were crowded with memories of his daughter, and he found himself missing her more.
"It’s hard to be apart,’’ he said.
"Please know that you are an important part of my life. Though we can’t be together right now we are together in our thoughts and memories. Goodbye, Gillian, goodbye."
Ms McKeon paid tribute to her ‘‘goofy’’ daughter, who, she said, endeared herself to everyone she met.‘‘She was a messy creature and was as clumsy as hell, but she had style,’’ Ms McKeon said.
She said her daughter had many friends and loved the craic.
‘‘I don’t know if you Australians know what that is,’’ she said.
‘‘She was so precious to us ... and the light she brought to us almost 30 years ago will shine on us forever. Thank you everybody, for being part of her life and keep dancing and throw frisbees.’’
Mrs McKeon also pointed to the bright high heels that some women in the chapel wore as a tribute to their friend, who loved shoes.
‘‘These crazy shoes that you’re all wearing, can you walk in them?’’ she asked, to laughter.
Ms Meagher’s brother, Michael McKeon, said he believed his sister would always be with him.
‘‘I feel lost without her but I don’t really think that she’s gone,’’ he said.
A friend, Aoife, said Ms Meagher was the funniest person she had ever met, and was the only person she knew who had literally slipped on a banana peel.
"And she was proud of it," she said.
She also said Ms Meagher was creative, wrote novels and had plans to create a comedy series.
"She’s completely unique in that respect," she said, before she and those gathered in the church launched into a comedy interpretive dance in Ms Meagher's honour.
A photo montage of Ms Meagher's life was shown to a soundtrack of her favourite song, Make Your Own Kind of Music by Mamma Cass Elliot, and Girl From The North Country by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash. David Harkins' poem, Remember Me, was recited at the end of the service.
ABC radio hosts Red Symons, Jon Faine and Rafael Epstein were among those at the service. A group of detectives from the homicide squad were also there.
Before the service, mourners were given white ribbons as symbols of the fight to prevent violence against women. The ribbons were distributed, along with wristbands to promote the White Ribbon Foundation, which fights violence against women.
Mourners were also given a commemorative bookmark featuring the photograph that was posted all over Brunswick after Ms Meagher disappeared.
The funeral was to be followed by a cremation. Ms Meagher’s parents will then take her ashes to their home city of Perth.
There will also be a public mass and a march to celebrate Ms Meagher’s life in her home town of Drogheda, Ireland, about 50 kilometres north of Dublin.
The Meagher family yesterday thanked the public for their support and condolences.
"We cannot begin to convey the overwhelming feelings of grief, sadness and sorrow at the loss of our beloved Jill, who was taken from us on the 22nd of September. We love and miss her deeply," the family said in a statement.
"We would like to sincerely thank the public for their support, condolences and concern.
Fears that a a large number of the public would turn out for the funeral prompted the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust to close Fawkner Memorial Park to the public last night. The cemetery reopened to the public at noon.
— with AAP