Members of the Bendigo community have described former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer as a "very good person" and a "remarkable Australian" following his death earlier this week at the age of 73.
Mr Fischer died on Wednesday night from acute myeloid leukaemia, one of four cancers he had battled since 2009.
The former National Party leader had been receiving treatment at the Albury-Wodonga Regional Cancer Centre.
Mr Fischer was a patron of Bendigo's Aspire Cultural and Charitable Foundation and an ambassador of the Aspire Precinct, a faith-based learning, education and community hub planned for the area beside Sacred Heart Cathedral.
Aspire chairman Gordon McKern said it was a sad day not only for the organisation but the whole of Australia following the loss of Mr Fischer, who he described as "a very good person".
Mr McKern said Mr Fischer was a strong supporter of the Aspire Precinct and had a particular interest in the interfaith aspect of the project, to see people getting along together.
He brought credibility and connections to the project, Mr McKern said.
Mr Fischer also played a role in the erection of the statue of Saint Mary MacKillop that stands beside Sacred Heart, facing High Street.
Mr McKern said Mr Fischer helped raise funds for the statue, which was put in place in 2014.
He also held a book launch in Bendigo, Mr McKern said, the profits of which went to Aspire.
City of Greater Bendigo mayor Margaret O'Rourke said Mr Fischer would be well-remembered, having worked very hard for many causes.
"I think he's been a remarkable Australian for what he's done in his public life," Cr O'Rourke said.
Victorian senator and deputy leader of the Nationals, Bridget McKenzie, described Mr Fischer as a "true statesman, patriot and champion of rural Australia" and a person who was highly respected on all sides of politics.
"Regional Australia's growth and development is testament to his deep, deep passion for our nation," Senator McKenzie said.
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She said he was a mentor to her, "whether it was a text message of encouragement, a kick up the backside when he thought it was needed, or as a sounding board to discuss political matters".
Mr Fischer is survived by his wife Judy Brewer and their sons Harrison and Dominic.
His last public appearance was last month, when a reserve in his hometown of Boree Creek was renamed the Tim Fischer Community Park.
He led the National Party from 1990 to 1999, and served as deputy prime minister under John Howard in the Coalition government between 1996 and 1999.
He was the member for the seat of Farrer from 1984 to 2001.
Before entering federal politics Mr Fischer served in the NSW parliament as member for the seats of Sturt and Murray, having first been elected in 1971 as a 24-year-old.
Post-politics Mr Fischer chaired various organisations, wrote numerous books and hosted a show on ABC Radio.
He also served as Australia's resident ambassador to the Vatican from 2009 to 2012.
- With Anthony Bunn