Jim Molan funeral: Erin Molan pays tribute to father at service at ANZAC Memorial Chapel
Erin Molan has given an emotional farewell to her ‘hero’ father Jim at a moving funeral service for the senator, attended by high-profile politicians and military dignitaries.
Mourners arrived at the Military College chapel in Canberra on Wednesday morning.
The Liberal senator and former Army major general was diagnosed with prostate cancer in early 2021. He died peacefully with his family by his side on Monday January 16 at the age of 72.
Addressing the packed service, Sky News presenter Erin hailed her father’s devotion to his family, remembering him as ‘a dad we idolised, we were inspired by, and who was our hero’.
In a brief moment of levity, she recalled the moment the former major general was diagnosed with cancer.
Erin Molan has given an emotional farewell to her ‘hero’ father Jim Molan at a moving funeral service for the senator
Erin Molan walks behind her father’s casket on Wednesday. Senator Molan died at the age of 72
Distraught loved ones including Senator Molan’s wife are seen at his funeral service in Canberra
‘We all rushed to the hospital,’ she told the crowd.
‘I was on the couch, heaving and stoic and the rest (of Senator Molan’s children) were all being stoic.
Jim Molan died at the age of 72 after losing a battle with prostate cancer
‘After a while, my brother Mick came over, put his arm around me and said: ”Erin, I just want you to know, none of us think you’re trying to make this about you”.
The broadcaster said she ‘didn’t always agree’ with her father but there ‘was no-one’s opinion I respected more’.
His daughter, Felicity, told attendees about her father’s 55-year ‘love story’ with wife Anne, while eldest Sarah spoke about his role as a grandfather – ‘Jimmy’ to his five grandchildren.
Governor-general David Hurley, former prime ministers Tony Abbott and Scott Morrison, opposition leader Peter Dutton and other Liberal frontbenchers were in attendance.
Senator Molan’s coffin was carried in with military honors as bagpipes played Amazing Grace, and was followed by his family, who were seen wiping away tears as they approached the chapel.
Erin led the group and carried her father’s service medals as defense personnel and parliamentarians joined family and friends at the chapel.
Jim’s daughter Erin Molan walked behind her dad’s coffin carrying his military medals. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
A requiem mass will be held in celebration of the life of Senator Jim Molan. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
Erin Molan is seen holding her father’s medals at his funeral service in Canberra on Wednesday
Erin said her father Jim Molan was her ‘hero’
Once inside, the Senator’s coffin was guarded by a catafalque party – a guard that stands watch over the casket.
Liberal leader Mr Dutton choked up as he reflected on Senator Molan’s life.
‘He was a man thrust into some of the most difficult and challenging circumstances. He was in the middle of war and bloodshed,’ he said.
‘He saw first-hand what we would call the darker side of humanity.
‘Those experiences could have made him angry and cynical, or at the very least, aloof. But for all Jim encountered he was kind and considerate.’
He said the senator remained an optimist throughout his life and had ‘kindness’ in his heart.
Erin Molan is seen carrying her father’s medals at his funeral service on Wednesday
‘He was not just an Australian, he was one of our greatest. May he rest in peace,’ he said.
Speaking ahead of the funeral, deputy opposition leader Sussan Ley said she would miss her ‘dear friend’.
‘I have some wonderful recollections of Jim and his love for regional New South Wales,’ she said.
‘He just jumped in a car and he drove wherever he needed to, and there are long miles across the patch.
‘So he was a soldier. He was a senator. He was a serviceman to his country in so many ways, most recently in the federal parliament.
‘I will miss him as a dear friend and a dear colleague and I’m honored to be here.’
Erin led her family as they walked behind her father’s casket. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Gary Ramage
In a notice announcing his funeral, Senator Molan’s family encouraged a donation to charity in his memory, rather than flowers.
Following his death, his loved ones said the loss was ‘immeasurable’.
‘He was many things – a soldier, a pilot, an author, a volunteer firefighter, and a senator,’ the statement read.
‘Most of all, he was an adored husband, father, grandfather and brother.
‘Our loss is immeasurable, but we are comforted in our memories of a full life courageously lived, devoted to family and in service of the country he loved.’
The chapel was packed for the funeral service on Wednesday. Picture: Supplied via NCA NewsWire
Senator Molan is survived by his wife Anne, four children and five grandchildren.
Prior to entering politics, the Senator’s military career spanned 40 years and has been credited as one of the architects of Operation Sovereign Borders – a hard line military-led policy to deter asylum seekers arriving by boat.
The former Liberal representative for NSW reached the rank of major general in the army during his career that included deployments to Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Germany, the United States and Iraq.
He entered parliament in 2017 after Fiona Nash was disqualified over her dual citizenship.
In 2019, he was relegated to the unwinnable fourth position on the Liberal Senate ticket but was later appointed to the casual vacancy caused by the departure of Arthur Sinodinos.
He was re-elected to the Senate in the 2022 federal election.